Lesson Date: 01/06/2019
Lesson: 1
Week: 1

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Responsible for Our Own Learning

Published by Randal S. Chase

New Testament Lesson 01 (“Come, Follow Me” Sunday School Manual)


A New Approach to Gospel Learning

Beginning this year, “The Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has approved a significant step in achieving a new balance between gospel instruction in the home and in the Church. Purposes and blessings associated with this and other recent changes include the following:

• Deepening conversion to Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthening
faith in Them.

• Strengthening individuals and families through home-centered, Church-supported
curriculum that contributes to joyful gospel living.

• Honoring the Sabbath day, with a focus on the ordinance of the sacrament.

• Helping all of Heavenly Father’s children on both sides of the veil through missionary
work and receiving ordinances and covenants and the blessings of the temple.”

Studying in the Home and at Church

The Guiding Principles stated by our leaders include the following:

Home Centered        The home is the best place to live, learn, and teach the gospel (see 3 Nephi 17:3; D&C 68:25).
Church Supported  Classes at church support us in living, learning, and teaching the gospel (see Moroni 6:4–5).

Home Centered        Our gospel learning and teaching should be part of our daily lives (see Deuteronomy 6:6–7; Acts 17:11).
Church Supported   Teachers inspire learners to experience the power of God’s word for themselves (see Alma 32:27–30).

Home Centered        Studying the scriptures will bring power into our lives (see 2 Nephi 32:3; Alma 17:2–3; Helaman 3:29–30).
Church Supported  Teachers help learners discover gospel truths in the scriptures and invite them to share their insights (see D&C 88:122).

The primary goals of these weekly newsletters from latterdaygospelsource.com are to supplement and support your home-centered study of the New Testament. These newsletters do NOT replace the Church-provided materials titled “Come, Follow Me” and should not be used to teach any lesson. You are to follow the official Church manuals, both for individuals and families and, if you are a Gospel Doctrine teacher, the Teacher’s Manual. Use these newsletters only to enhance and expand your own personal knowledge of these subjects.

Studying the Life of Christ

This year’s topic will assist you to draw closer to the Savior of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ. As you study His life and His early Church, you can gain a greater testimony and awareness of Him as a living, personal Redeemer. You can better understand His great and infinite atonement. And you can have a great spiritual experience if you will make this course more than an academic exercise by praying about those things that you learn.


Make Your Home More Gospel Centered. The First Presidency said, ““We counsel parents and children to give highest priority to family prayer, family home evening, gospel study and instruction, and wholesome family activities. However worthy and appropriate other demands or activities may be, they must not be permitted to displace the divinely appointed duties that only parents and families can adequately perform.” The beginning of this new year and this new way of studying the scriptures is an excellent way to follow this counsel.

Take Responsibility for Your Own Learning. It is not up to your teacher to see that you understand the scriptures. It is up to you. Our Prophet’s invitation to strengthen our own testimonies in preparation for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, will best be accomplished by your own scripture study at home and your own prayerful seeking for inspiration from those scriptures.

Elder David A. Bednar taught: “As learners, you and I are to act and be doers of the word and not simply hearers who are only acted upon. Are you and I agents who act and seek learning by faith, or are we waiting to be taught and acted upon? … A learner exercising agency by acting in accordance with correct principles opens his or her heart to the Holy Ghost and invites His teaching, testifying power, and confirming witness. Learning by faith requires spiritual, mental, and physical exertion and not just passive reception.”

Record Your Impressions. You will be invited throughout the year to record your impressions as you study these lessons. This is a key to your learning and testimony. Those impressions will be provided by the Holy Spirit as you seek and pray for them. They will become the foundation of your gospel knowledge and of your testimony. Do not skip this important step in the process. You can write them directly into your manual in the appropriate places provided.

Look for Doctrine. This is the first goal suggested by the new manual and it is essential to your success in understanding the scriptures. “A doctrine is an eternal unchanging truth,” says the manual. So each New Testament lesson should be understood according to the doctrines it teaches. For example, the story of Mary’s acceptance of her role as the mother of our Savior is a compelling and beautiful one. But hearing the story alone is not enough. We should ask ourselves, “What are the doctrine(s) associated with this story? There are several, but perhaps the most obvious is Obedience. May showed us how we should respond whenever we are asked to do something by the Lord or his servants. “Be it unto me according to thy word,” she said (Luke 1:38). We should study and discuss the doctrine(s) found in each lesson. Write them down, and write down your own definition of what they mean. Then, take those observations with you to Sunday School. If you are the teacher, ask your students each time, “What is the doctrine that is illustrated by this story?” and then discuss it.

Adapt Your Study to Your Personal Circumstances. Inside each lesson you will find sections aimed at Personal Scripture Study as well a Family Scripture Study. Use these materials in a manner that best reflects your needs and your home. If youth are present, you will want to adapt your study to them. The same is true if little children are present. Make certain that the principles are taught in a way that best suits your family’s circumstances. The manual suggests many helpful activities and discussions that will make this effective for your family.

Remember that there is one lesson for every week of the year. You will be discussing lessons in Sunday School only twice per month, but every Monday of every week you should be reading and studying that week’s lesson in your home. Then bring your knowledge and impressions with you when you come to the next Sunday School class. If you are a Gospel Doctrine teacher, you will be covering material from at least two lessons each time you meet (except this first time), so you will need to be selective in what you discuss. Let your students’ impressions guide your discussion to ensure that what is taught is what is of the most value to them.

I testify to you that I have my own witness of the importance and effectiveness of these new methods. I hope that I can be helpful to you along the way.

Brother Chase


1.  “A New Balance between Gospel Instruction in the Home and in the Church,” Enclosure to the First Presidency letter dated October 6, 2018.
2.  “Letter from the First Presidency,” Liahona, Dec. 1999, 1.
3.  “Seek Learning by Faith,” Ensign, Sept. 2007, 64.

By |2019-01-04T00:00:00+00:00December 31st, 2018|

About the Author:

Randal S. Chase spent his childhood years in Nephi, Utah, where his father was a dry land wheat farmer and a businessman. In 1959 their family moved to Salt Lake City and settled in the Holladay area. He served a full-time mission in the Central British (England Central) Mission from 1968 to 1970. He returned home and married Deborah Johnsen in 1971. They are the parents of six children—two daughters and four sons—and an ever-expanding number of grandchildren. He was called to serve as a bishop at the age of 27 in the Sandy Crescent South Stake area of the Salt Lake Valley. He served six years in that capacity, and has since served as a high councilor, a stake executive secretary and clerk, and in many other stake and ward callings. Regardless of whatever other callings he has received over the years, one was nearly constant: He has taught Gospel Doctrine classes in every ward he has ever lived in as an adult—a total of 35 years. Dr. Chase was a well-known media personality on Salt Lake City radio stations in the 1970s. He left on-air broadcasting in 1978 to develop and market a computer-based management, sales, and music programming system to radio and television stations in the United States, Canada, South America, and Australia. After the business was sold in 1984, he supported his family as a media and business consultant in the Salt Lake City area. Having a great desire to teach young people of college age, he determined in the late 1980s to pursue his doctorate, and received his Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Utah in 1997. He has taught communication courses at that institution as well as at Salt Lake Community College and Dixie State University for 21 years. He served as Communication Department chair and is currently a full-time professor at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah. Concurrently with his academic career, Brother Chase has served as a volunteer LDS Institute and Adult Education instructor in the CES system since 1994, both in Salt Lake City and St. George, where he currently teaches a weekly Adult Education class for three stakes in the Washington area. He has also conducted multiple Church History tours and seminars. During these years of gospel teaching, he has developed an extensive library of lesson plans and handouts which are the predecessors to these study guides. Dr. Chase previously published a thirteen-volume series of study guides on the Book of Mormon, Church History, the Old Testament, and the New Testament. The series, titled Making Precious Things Plain, along with four smaller study guides on Isaiah, Jeremiah, the story of the Nativity, and the final week of our Lord’s atoning sacrifice, are designed to assist teachers and students of the gospel, as well as those who simply want to study on their own. Several of these books are also available in the Spanish language.

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