This week’s readings: Ephesians
Don’t forget to record your impressions and read the ideas outlined in the Come, Follow Me manuals on ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
This scriptural insight comes from Verse by Verse: Volume 2 by Andrew C. Skinner and D. Kelly Ogden.
“Predestinate” is used to translate the Greek prohoridzo, which has three variations of meaning: to anticipate, to set before, or to cause in advance. There is no negation of agency in the meaning of the term. The traditional Christian definition of predestination is that God predetermines our destination (according to St. Augustine, Calvin, and others). But Paul teaches that foreordination preserves our agency and choice. God can foreordain us to our various callings and assignments in mortality, and He can know in advance our response, because of His omniscience, His perfect foreknowledge. He is not guessing, hoping, or expecting; He knows all things. Still, He does not “fix” our destination beforehand; we are agents and make the choices that will determine our destiny. In essence, we are here not to prove ourselves to God but to prove ourselves to ourselves.
These ideas and topics are compiled from Come, Follow Me and have been adapted for specific situations. Check out the manuals online for more ideas, or come up with your own as you study!
This week, you might consider studying together the topic of strengthening and unifying the Church. Perhaps you can take time to evaluate and list things that you are doing individually or together through ministering, parenting, callings, volunteer work, and any other responsibility you have. Is there one that you can focus on improving? Or is there something you were inspired to do during general conference? Maybe you can also improve your own marriage unity by helping each other accomplish your goal over the next two weeks.
While Paul’s teachings in Ephesians 5 reflect the social norms of the society he was a part of, perhaps you could still learn something from these verses by studying how Christ treats and feels about the Church, and how you can reflect these same attitudes as you interact with others around you. You might even pick a specific relationship in your life to work on strengthening this week and write down how you are going to be more Christlike with that person.
For families with young children:
Ephesians has several verses that discuss how the Church is founded on apostles and prophets, with Christ as the chief cornerstone. With general conference approaching, perhaps your family could label boxes or cups with the names of the Quorum of the Twelve and First Presidency and share with your family some of the things each of them has taught. You can either write them on the box or cup or you can fill them up with little pieces of paper that have the teaching written on them. Then you could build a tower with Christ as the cornerstone and talk more about what your family can do to prepare for conference.
For families with teens:
“It’s your destiny.” This is a phrase we commonly hear in movies, but is it something Latter-day Saints believe? This week as you study with your family, you might consider learning more about “predestinated” vs. “foreordained” by reading the Gospel Topics page “Foreordination” and other scriptures. Before you do, you could have your family members make a list of things they think they are “destined” to do. Then you can work together to make a list of responsibilities we are actually foreordained to do based on what you read and study and have everyone compare their lists. Alternatively, you could challenge your family to come up with as many people in the scriptures or Church history that they can think of in just two minutes and then share your ideas with each other.
Stay in the loop on Come, Follow Me discussions and insights throughout the week by following the Brightly Beams Instagram account, or check out this week's related Come, Follow Me FHE lesson: The Shield of Testimony. You can also prepare for conference with this fun conference scavenger hunt FHE.