NT-Lesson 1

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“That Ye Might Believe That Jesus Is the Christ” (Isaiah 61:1–3; Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 3:4–11; John 1:1–14; 20:31)

Church Cirriculum

The official church guide can be seen at the Official LDS Church site for Gospel Doctrine (New Testament 2007)

We encourage you to make sure you are familiar with the official church curriculum as the first step in your lesson preparation, as this is the material recommended by the General Authorities of the church.

Supplementary material here is not intended to substitute for lesson preparation, but hopefully it will enhance your preparations for Sunday School.

History of New Testament

A valuable resource in the study of the New Testament is the reference listed below, The New Testament with the Joseph Smith Translation by Steven J. and Julie M. Hite. It is valuable in that not only does it put the four gospels side by side in a chronological order, but it also shows Joseph Smith's additions and deletions from his translation of the New Testament.

This is not the first attempt to harmonize the gospels. Hite mentions in his introduction,

...in about 170 AD. Tatian, an Assyrian Christian, created a continuous narrative (harmony) using all four Gospels. This version of the Gospels, known as the Diatessaron, was probably compiled in Rome using the Greek language. The Assyrian Christians used this version of the Gospels as their "authorized" version until the fifth century, AD.

The books of the New Testament, were written roughly between 45 and 140 AD. A more extensive history can be found at some of the links below. Be sure to review the New Testament link as well.

Brief History of Inter-testamental Period

After the end of Malachi (around 400 BC) in the Old Testament, the Holy Land was taken over by Alexander the Great. Upon Alexander's death, the Greek kingdom was divided, with the land of Palestine being controlled by one of 2 Greek groups: the Ptolemics (of Egypt), and Seleucids (of Syria).

The Maccabees, or Hasmoneans, (family name is Hashmon), revolted in the 2nd century, and established independence around 165 BC. The family re-established the temple, and ruled for approximately 80 years. While the original leaders were good, god-fearing people, subsequent rulers were corrupt. Toward the end of the reign, the leaders were afraid of losing to the Greeks, and thus made a fateful alliance with Rome. Of course, the Romans eventually took over the kingdom around 63 BC.

Every year Jews celebrate Hanukkah in commemoration of Judah Maccabee's victory over the Seleucids and subsequent miracles.

Once again, the Jews revolted around 39 BC, and Herod the Great, with the aid and troops of Mark Antony successfully retook the city of Jerusalem. Herod was placed in charge as Tetrarch, and ruled through the birth of Jesus Christ.

Helpful Books

  • New Testament Institute Manual
  • The New Testament Made Easier: Part 1, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. David J Ridges, 2002. ISBN 1555176380.
  • The New Testament with the Joseph Smith Translation. Steven J. and Julie M. Hite. 1994. ISBN 0-9642325-1-0

Helpful Websites

Helpful Videos

  • From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians. PBS Home Video. 1998. ISBN 1-4157-0411-2