NT Sunday School Lesson 1: Isaiah 61:1-3; Luke 3:4-11 (Joseph Smith Translation); John 1:1-14; John 20:31

Before I offer the study questions for this lesson, let me voice my objection to the format of our lesson manuals. They treat the Gospels as if the best way to understand them is to harmonize them, as if they are each histories of the life of Jesus rather than four different testimonies—for different audiences and for different purposes—of who Jesus is, the Messiah. That’s a little bit like taking a particular version of President Monson’s testimony, and one of President Eyring’s, and one of President Uchtdorf’s and pasting them together where they speak of similar things to make one new testimony. The result would be a misrepresentation of what they said. Individually their testimonies are much more likely to get us to the truth of which they speak than they will when shuffled together that way. The same is true of the Gospels. We are interested in the chronological history of Jesus’ life only secondarily. Our primary interest is in what that life reveals about who he is and how he revealed himself and the Father to those who knew him. To learn that, we are better off to read Matthew for his testimony, Mark for his, Luke for his, and John for his.

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