Thursday, August 7, 2008

Making the Scriptures come Alive With Meaning

1. Start with Story: (Particularly Storytelling)
The Brother of Jared, Zeniff, Jonah, Shadrach, Joshua...I have hundreds of favorites.
(We're not talking puppet shows and flannel boards. More like channeling all the richness and truth from your preparation and feeding it to your class in story form.)

Becomes a vehicle for:
a. Sequence (putting things in a historical context)
b. Scenario (setting the stage)
c. Symbolism can be brought out subtly within the story)
d. Substance (helping your students feel the richness of the text, sense something deeper)
e. Spirit (Let the Holy Ghost connect the dots)

Note: Storytelling is especially helpful in class situations where the preparation of individual class members is varied. Telling the story helps put everybody on the same page before you begin your discussion.

Note 2: Frequently when teaching a scripture passage with limited story potential I will tell a personal story that is analogous with the principles we're discussing. This helps pull the class into the discussion, and helps with Synthesis later on.

2. Sketch the Skeleton (Boiling the events down to the bare bones)
Great texts to do this with are:
a. Road to Emmaus
b. Calming the storm
c. Joseph Smith’s first vision account

3. Single out Specifics (words, phrases, patterns, or a particular verse)
Some examples:
a. Press implies resistance; Succor: Run to their aid
b. The repetition of the word Remember repeated in Alma 5 and Helaman 5
c. 40 Questions in Alma 5
d. Examples of action verbs in Mary/Martha/Lazarus story
e. Mentions of anger/wrath in Zeniff/King Laman story
f. The mention of Desires repeated in D&C Section 6 (We choose)

4. Strive for Synthesis
This is where I ask for lots of class participation and focus on practical application:
a. Likening (See yourself, replace names, etc.)
b. Modern-day equivalent: Broken bow = job loss
c. How does this apply to me right now?
d. What am I going to take home and do differently?

5. See the Savior (If we seek Him, we shall find Him)
He is everywhere within the scriptures, if we look carefully, with spiritual eyes.
a. Search for Types of Christ
b. Seek his teachings
c. Look for opportunities to testify

And of course, in and around and throughout all of these steps it is essential to Sense the Spirit.

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