Sunday School Lesson 15

April 3, 2005 | 2 comments
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Lesson 15: Doctrine and Covenants 46

Verse 1: Why do you think that this revelation begins with an announcement that it is for our profit and learning? Are there revelations that are not for our profit and learning? It seems not, so what is the point of drawing that to our attention here?

Verse 2: In you own words, what does this mean? What does it suggest about handbooks, lesson manuals, and even scriptures? What does this verse teach about leaders’ responsibilities?

Verse 3: To what does “your public meetings” refer? Why is it important that no one be excluded from our public meetings?

Verse 4: Logically, if no one can be cast out of our public meetings and sacrament meeting is a public meeting, then no member of the Church could be cast out. So why is this verse, referring specifically to members, part of the revelation?

Verse 5: Who is being talked about in this verse? Just as logic dictates that no members can be cast out if no one can, it also dictates that none who are “earnestly seeking the kingdom” can be cast out. So why include specific mention of this group?

Verse 6: What is a confirmation meeting? Is it a public meeting?

Verses 7-8: Verses 2-8 do not form a chiasm, but they do form a related rhetorical form, “inclusion,” in which there is a sandwich of material, beginning and ending with parallel themes or phrases and the filling of the sandwich between them:

a Verse 2: Conduct meetings by the Spirit.
b Verses 3-6: No one should be excluded from your public meetings.
a’ Verses 7-8: Ask God in all things.

What is the point of this inclusion?

Verse 7: What does “the end of your salvation” mean? How should we read this sentence, as saying “ask of God [. . .] that you may not be seduced by evil spirits” or as saying “walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation , [and] doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced”? What does your reading teach us about avoiding seduction by evil spirits and the teachings of men? Are “walking uprightly,” “considering the end of your salvation,” and “doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving” parallel in meaning here?

Verse 8: How does seeking the best gifts and remembering what they were given for keep us from being deceived?

Verse 9: Does this verse teach us anything about the scriptures in which we are commanded to ask and to seek and promise that “it” will be given (for example, D&C 4:7)? How would one ask for a gift as a sign in order to consume that sign or gift on their lusts?

Verses 10-12: Why is it important to know that every person has been given a gift by the Spirit? Why spread the gifts among many “that all may be profited thereby”? Why is that more likely to profit all than the alternative, giving many gifts to a few?

Verses 13-14: What do you make of the difference between verse 13 and verse 14? Are there particular individuals or groups to whom each of these might refer?

Verses 15-20: Compare these verses to 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. Here is another translation that may help you make that comparison:

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit; to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes. (New American Bible)

Verse 15: What are “the differences of administration”? Administration of what? What is the last part of the verse, referring to the “conditions of the children of men” about?

Verse 16: What is the “diversity of operations”? Is that different from the differences of administration?

Verse 17: What does “word of wisdom” mean here?

Verse 18: Is there a difference between wisdom and knowledge? Is it significant that wisdom comes before knowledge in this verse?

Verses 19-20: If the faith to be healed is a gift, does that mean that those who do not have that faith ought not to be expected to have it? How would we know whether someone has the faith to heal? Should we prefer to be blessed by someone who has that faith rather than be someone who does not?

Verse 21: How is this gift different from the gift of healing?

Verse 22: Who has the gift of prophecy? Is its status as a gift incompatible with its status as a priesthood right?

Verse 23: What is “the discerning of spirits”?

Verses 24-25: When this section was given, speaking in tongues did not refer primarily, if at all, to being able to teach the gospel in another language. Why do we now understand the verse differently?

Verse 26: One can read verses 9-26 as an inclusion, with verses 9-11 and 26 being the “bread” of the sandwich, and verses 12-25 being the “filling.” Does seeing that rhetorical form give you a different understanding of these verses? If so, what is that understanding?

Verse 27: What is the point of this verse? What danger is the bishop or other leader to be on guard against?

Verses 28-30: Here is another inclusion:

a Those who ask by the Spirit will receive in the Spirit.
b Someone has all of the gifts so that he can be the head.
a’ Those who ask in the Spirit in accordance with God’s will shall receive.

What is the point of that rhetorical structure? Why reason does verse 29 give for the head having all of the gifts? Why is that the case?

Verses 21-33: Why does the Lord repeat these admonitions: do everything by the Spirit in Christ’s name, be thankful for your blessings, and practice virtue and holiness? Didn’t verse 9 already make the same point, even if in different words?

2 Responses to Sunday School Lesson 15

  1. Jim F. on April 16, 2005 at 10:46 am

    RE verses 24-25: In spite of what has been my impression, notice this from Joseph Smith: “the ultimate design of tongues is to speak to foreigners, and if persons are very anxious to display their intelligence, let them speak to such in their own tongues” History of the Church 5:31-32.

  2. Mark White on April 19, 2005 at 2:34 pm

    I teach Gospel Doctrine and was asked why we don’t do so in our meetings today, when it was more commonplace among the church in the early days. Has anyone heard a GA discuss this issue? As was noted above, we usually put tongues in the context of missionary work and foreign languages, as opposed to the intriguiging speeches I’ve heard when I’ve visited pentecostal churches.

    Has anyone with “authority” addressed this issue?

    Thanks.