Lessons on the Ministry of Jesus Christ and His Apostles

with Emphasis on the Joseph Smith Translation and the Teachings of Latter-Day Prophets


Preface

Head of Christ by Howard Chandler Christy

“Come, Follow Me” – This invitation to the rich ruler from the Savior as recorded in Luke 18:22 is meant for everyone. In 2019 “Come, Follow Me: Living, Learning, and Teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ” will focus on the New Testament. This short book which will follow the same weekly schedule for scripture study as does Come Follow Me.

The need for additional light and knowledge – The Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter – Day Saints states: “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God” (Vs 8). Furthermore, we believe the Bible as originally written “contained the fulness of the gospel of the Lord,” but after it had gone forth from the original authors many parts which were plain and most precious; and also many of the covenants of the Lord were taken away. (See 1 Nephi 13:24,26).

Revelation to latter day prophets and apostles – “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining the Kingdom of God” (Articles of Faith 9). Revelation to latter day apostles and prophets is the primary way additional light and knowledge on the meaning of the scriptures is given and received.

Adjunct professor of religion at Brigham Young University – For 18 years I taught a weekly class at the BYU Salt Lake Center. In the fall and winter semesters I taught the Book of Mormon, and in the summer term I taught the Gospels. I used two Biblical texts which blessed the lives of many students:

  • The LDS Edition of the Bible which includes wonderful study aides such as footnotes, Topical Guide, Bible Dictionary, maps, and Excerpts from the Joseph Smith Translation. In studying the life of the Lord Jesus Christ it is very valuable to use the footnotes and the Topical Guide because these resources bring wonderful insights from latter day scriptures which include The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.

  • The New Testament with the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) compiled by Steven J. and Julie M. Hite. This is book has all textual changes made by the Prophet Joseph. It presents the four Gospels in chronological harmony and parallel columns. The importance of the JST is discussed below.

For my personal study of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles I use the LDS Edition of the Bible, the JST, and other latter day scriptures. I also use the following works from men recognized as latter day prophets, seers, and revelators. In this book I quote these men and their work liberally.

  • Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles

  • Behold the Lamb of God by J. Reuben Clark, Jr. of the First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve Apostles

  • Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Volumes I, II, III (DNTC) by Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles

  • Mortal Messiah Vol. 1 – 4 by Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles

In this book I also express many personal thoughts and ideas. All of these are subject to correction and clarification as further light and knowledge is received.

The importance of the Joseph Smith Translation – Joseph considered his work of translating the Bible a “branch of my calling” (History of the Church, 1:238). “A plainer translation” is how he described the JST. However, the JST is not a translation in the same way that the Book of Mormon is a translation. With the Book of Mormon Joseph Smith translated from an ancient record. With the JST he used a large, family-size edition of the King James Version of the Bible. He read from this Bible, marked certain passages, and dictated the revisions, corrections, and additions to a scribe, who wrote them on paper. Sometimes the entire verse was recorded, sometimes only the part to be revised. The translation was done by divine revelation to the mind of the Prophet.

Joseph understood that he was restoring lost meaning and material to the Bible. Since the Bible did not originate in English, his work was an inspired revelatory “translation” into English of that which the ancient prophets and apostles had written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and/or Greek.

Joseph first brought forth the Book of Mormon. He then received many revelations that are recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants. Finally, he brought forth the JST. The JST increases our understanding of the life and ministry of the Lord and the doctrines he taught.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in a landmark sermon on the JST entitled The Doctrinal Restoration said: “Of course the revealed changes made by Joseph Smith are true – as much so as anything in the Book of Mormon or the Doctrine and Covenants.”

We should make the JST an important part of our gospel study. Doing so will increase in our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and our testimony of the work of His great latter day prophet, Joseph Smith.

Conversion is my goal – This fundamental purpose, so well expressed in Come, Follow Me, is also the goal of this small book. I hope to provide information from latter day prophets that is new to many people, much of which was new to me. But conversion, not just information, is my goal also.

As I study the scriptures and insights from latter day apostles and prophets my knowledge is increased, but more importantly I often feel the flow of personal inspiration. This increases my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and my testimony of His Church and its leaders.

This is my hope and desire for each of you.

Larry Lunt

Lesson Index

1. Preface
2. Mary the Mother of the Son of God and Joseph His Mortal Guardian
3. Witnesses of and Opposition to the Birth of the Son of God
4. The Lord’s Pre-Earth Life and Calling
5. The Ministry of John the Baptist and the Baptism of Jesus Christ
6. The Temptations of Jesus and His Testimony that He is the Living Christ
7. Jesus Taught the Truths of Eternity
8. The Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon at the Temple
9. Caring for the Poor, Prayer, and Righteous Judgement
10. “Jesus Walked the Roads of Palestine Healing the Sick, Causing the Blind to See, and Raising the Dead"
11. “Built Upon the Foundation of Apostles and Prophets”
12. The Gathering of Israel and the Establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven in the Latter Days
13. Strong Doctrine Then in the Sermon on the Bread of Life
14. The Testimony of Jesus
15. Final Preparations on the Lord’s Last Sabbath in Mortality
16. The Parable of the Good Samaritan Teaches Two Essential Truths
17. He Taught the Truths of Eternity, the Reality of our Premortal Existence
18. The Splendor of the Parable of the Prodigal Son
19. On Marriage, Riches, and God’s Goodness
20. Jesus and the Temple
21. We Can Face the Future Cheerfully and with Confidence
22. Ordinances Jesus Introduced at the Last Supper are Amplified in the Temple
23. His Suffering in Gethsemane and Our Need to Repent
24. Jesus and the Two Thieves in the Spirit World
25. Many Infallible Proofs of Jesus’ Resurrection
26. The Importance of Apostolic Succession
27. The Greatest Gift Mortal Man Can Enjoy
28. Diversity Matters But Righteous Unity Is The Goal