Beginning September 12, I’ll be teaching a class called “Old Testament for Pre-missionaries” in a Phoenix Stake Center, Thursdays at 7pm. The class is open to anyone, including high-school seniors. It is neither an official Seminary nor Institute class, and thus will receive no credit for either.
As this is a one-semester class, we’ll read selectively through parts of the Old Testament in connection with the New. The texts and themes of the class have been selected to meet several needs particular to those preparing to serve missions; I’m assuming minimal familiarity. The selected texts/discussions will provide key information for understanding/teaching:
- Important background of the New Testament (which assumes knowledge of Old Testament customs, text, etc.)
- Important background for the Book of Mormon (ditto, to a lesser extent)
- The nature of revelation, prophets, and scripture (something I talk about a lot)
- Topics they may be asked about as missionaries:
- Probably not Leviticus, for example.
- But maybe what the Church teaches about evolution, dinosaurs, or the age of the earth.
- Or, “isn’t the Old Testament mean and bad? Eye for an eye and all that?” (See Deu 6:5 and Lev 19:18, which Jesus quotes in Matt 22:37-39; As for “eye for an eye” that set a maximum limit on justice, so there could be no retaliatory escalation.)
- Temple preparation: covenant patterns, temple typology, etc.
- Study skills and knowledge both of and about the Bible.
- I’ve said before that you cannot fully learn from scripture unless you are also actively learning about scripture.The first is the act of a disciple and the second that of a scholar, although in an ideal world, they blur together. We’re going to attempt both.
Although likely to change, here’s a tentative schedule.
Day 1- Introduction and testimony
Day 2– Reading and Teaching the Bible as a Latter-day Saint
- That is, I’ll be presenting, in an accessible way, things like the JST, the nature of LDS usage of the KJV and how to handle it when your investigator’s translation or your mission language Bible differs significantly from the KJV, and why.
- Since they are likely either to teach people who don’t use the KJV, or use a non-KJV Bible themselves based on country/language, I will recommend that they get a second translation to accompany our study. That way, we can talk about differences along the way, modeling how to make sense of these translation differences in an accessible, non-technical way.
Day 3– Ruth, Jesus, and Redemption
Day 4– Jonah, Jesus, and Genre
Day 5– Covenant and Law; Works, Faith, and Grace in the Old and New Testaments
Day 6– Genesis, Creation, and the Pearl of Great Price
Day 7– Genesis, creation, and the Pearl of Great Price, continued (I could go a third day on this. So much important stuff to cover)
Day 8– The purpose(s) of the Old Testament and the Patriarchs in Genesis: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
Day 9– Exodus-Deuteronomy: The Law of Moses, covenant patterns, the temple, and sacrifice
Day 10– The tribes, David, and the Divided Kingdom
Day 11– Prophets, history, and the Book of Mormon
It should be interesting, educational, and edifying.