Religion 301 Old Testament Student Manual
Genesis through 2-Samuel
As I’ve mentioned before, my current calling is to be a Stake Institute Teacher. It is a very rewarding calling. I love meeting with the YSA and I love teaching, so it seems like a perfect calling.
Previously we have studied the Pearl of Great Price, the Book of Mormon, The Gospel and the Productive Life and Scripture Study – The Power of the Word. This school year, the overwhelming choice was to study the Old Testament.
I’ve decided that I will post my notes each week. Let me first say that I am not an expert on Old Testament language, geography, or anything else. In fact, I probably haven’t studied the Old Testament since I was a missionary. However, I love the gospel and I do prepare for my lessons, so they seem to go ok.
The notes that I share are just that… notes. If the students are interested in a specific scripture, we’ll spend more time talking about it. If they aren’t interested in something, we may go through it quickly.
The Old Testament is read by many different religions. It can be viewed and interpreted in many different ways. Like all scripture, it is meant to help us grow closer to Christ. It is ok to have a view of the Old Testament that might not be the same as someone else, as long as it helps you grow closer to Christ. We also must accept that some people will have less orthodox views that us.
NOTE: The manual is rather old, so some quotes are “old school”
- 2 Timothy 3: 15-17
- 1 Nephi 17: 17-43
- John 5: 39
Whenever ancient scriptures talk about scriptures, it is the Old Testament they are referring to.
It is sacred scripture
If it was important to them, is it still important for us now?
If it is important for us now, why is it so difficult to study?
- Parts have been fulfilled
- Seems irrelevant
So what is there for us?
Think for a moment about yourself. Does your motivation to study the scriptures come from a desire to learn more about God and His dealings with His children? Are you seeking to draw power from the scriptures in order to perfect your life by coming to Christ? Paul and Nephi have said that, like all other scriptures, the Old Testament will help you accomplish these goals. Do you want to learn more of God and those who were faithful to Him? Then search the stories of the prophets and patriarchs. Would you be inspired by examples of men and women who overcame their weaknesses and went on to perfection? Read of Joseph and Abraham and Sarah and Job and dozens of others. Would you like to find principles of daily living that bring you closer to God? They are there in abundance. Would you like to better know Jehovah, the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to earth as our Redeemer? Then turn to the Old Testament, for, like the other scriptures, it is a witness of His divinity, His love, and His mercy.
Discuss “facts” about Old Testament
- 66 books in current bible
- 39 books in Old Testament
- 27 books in New Testament
- 4 categories of books
- Law – Genesis through Deuteronomy
- Also Pentateuch or Torah
- 5 books of Moses
- Believed by Jews, Christians, Muslims
- History – Joshua through Esther
- Most books contain history
- This section deal almost entirely with history
- Poetry or Writings – Job through The Song of Solomon
- Almost 1/3 of the Old Testament is poetry
- Prophecy – Isaiah through Malachi
- The prophets spoke for Jehovah
What is the purpose of the Old Testament?
- To help us see how God led/protected His people
Who was the God of the Old Testament?
Almost everything in the Old Testament bears witness of Christ
- He speaks
- His prophets speak and testify of Him
- Even if there is a question of literalness, you still learn about Christ
Genesis Chapters 1 and 2
There are 3 accounts of the creation
- Genesis 1-2
- Moses 1-3
- Abraham 4-5
The story of the creation has inspired people from the beginning of civilization
GO OVER THE DAYS OF THE CREATION AND WHAT WAS CREATED WHEN
Who created the Earth?
Abraham records that in the midst of “many of the noble and great” premortal spirits was one “like unto God,” who said to them, “We will go down . . . And We will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell” (Abraham 3:22, 24; emphasis added). This passage suggests that others besides Adam may have assisted in the Creation.
Elder Joseph Fielding Smith taught:
“It is true that Adam helped to form this earth. He labored with our Savior Jesus Christ. I have a strong view or conviction that there were others also who assisted them. Perhaps Noah and Enoch; and why not Joseph Smith,and those who were appointed to be rulers before the earth was formed? [Abraham 3:2–4.]”
Doctrines of Salvation,1:74–75
At what point was “man” and woman” created?
- Genesis 1: 27 – male and female were created
- Genesis 2: 19 – woman was created from man
- Was this before or after the 7th day?
- Genesis 2: 23-24 is the marriage of Adam and Eve
How as the Earth created?
The Garden of Eden
- Meaning of Eden is not certain, but it might mean “delight” or “fruitful, well-watered”
- Was Eden a place, and a garden was there? Was all of Eden a garden?
- President Brigham Young explained:
“When was there a beginning? There never was one; if there was, there will be an end; but there never was a beginning, and hence there will never be an end; that looks like eternity. When we talk about the beginning of eternity, it is rather simple conversation, and goes far beyond the capacity of man.”
Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 47
- When was the Earth created?
- How long did it take?
- A day is
- 24 hours
- 1000 years
- An unspecified length of time
- The church has no official stance on how long it took
- Formed, prepared, fashioned
- How should we treat what we have dominion over?
- How can you replenish if it wasn’t there?
- Proper translation is “to fill”
- Some people would say that the Earth is full. God has not said that yet
- Genesis 1: 27
- God create man, male and female he created
- A complete man is male and female person together
- “‘And I, God said unto mine Only Begotten, which was with me from the beginning: Let us make man [not a separate man, but a complete man, which is husband and wife] in our image, after our likeness; and it was so.’ (Moses 2:26.) What a beautiful partnership! Adam and Eve were married for eternity by the Lord. Such a marriage extends beyond the grave. All peoples should call for this kind of marriage….
“This is a partnership. Then when they had created them in the image of God, to them was given the eternal command, ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it’ (Gen. 1:28), and as they completed this magnificent creation, they looked it over and pronounced it ‘good, very good’—something that isn’t to be improved upon by our modern intellectuals; the male to till the ground, support the family, to give proper leadership; the woman to cooperate, to bear the children, and to rear and teach them. It was ‘good, very good.’
“And that’s the way the Lord organized it. This wasn’t an experiment. He knew what he was doing.”
Spencer W. Kimball, “Speaking Today,” Ensign, Mar. 1976, p. 71
- Must remember role of Adam
- There was a Fall and we needed a Savior
- Theories change; policies change
- Doctrine is eternal