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Church News
 The New Testament is the focus for Sunday school classes.

With 2019 comes new topics of study for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ classes and quorums. The New Testament is the focus for Sunday school classes along with the “Come, Follow Me ­­­— For Individuals and Families.” Here are several recently published books that can be a resource to teachers and students.

"THE NEW TESTAMENT STUDY GUIDE: Start to Finish," edited by Thomas R. Valletta, Deseret Book, $32.99, 1,046 pages (nf)

Deseret Book
"The New Testament Study Guide: Start to Finish" is edited by Thomas R. Valletta.

“The New Testament Study Guide: Start to Finish” combines many study aids in one volume for anyone wanting to study and learn about the New Testament in more depth.

The entire text of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 2013 edition of the New Testament forms the basis of the volume. Each book, such as Matthew, Mark, Acts, begins with an introduction that includes information about the time in which the book was written and its author.

To assist readers in digging deeper into the meaning and power of the New Testament, questions along with commentary that includes cultural and historical background information, references to the Joseph Smith translation of the Bible, and statements from general authorities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and biblical scholars frame the text in three-inch side margins. Maps, charts and pictures are also included in this material.

The book includes 29 pages referencing source materials used, along with image credits and a 48-page index. An e-book version contains links to additional resource materials not contained in the hard copy of the book.

The intent of this great study guide, as stated in the introduction, is to provide a way to help “readers reflect on Jesus Christ and learn about him and the world in which he labored in mortality.”

It is compiled under the general editorship of Thomas R. Valletta. It's another addition to a series of books and study guides created under his direction that includes “Book of Mormon Study Guide: Start to Finish” and “Church History for Latter-day Saint Families.”

Valletta directs the Curriculum Services Division, Seminaries and Institutes of Religion for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Associate editors of the book, all teachers in the Church Educational System, are: Bruce L. Andreason, Randall C. Bird, Lee L. Donaldson, Mark E. Eastmond, John L. Fowles, Ryan C. Jenkins, Dennis H. Leavitt, Robert E. Lund and Bruce G. Stewart.

— Rosemarie Howard

"THE NEW TESTAMENT:A Translation for Latter-day Saints," by Thomas Wayment, BYU Religious Studies Center and Deseret Book, $29.99, 512 pages (nf)

BYU Religious Studies Center
"The New Testament: A Translation for Latter-day Saints" is by Thomas A. Wayment.

A BYU scholar has just completed a translation of the New Testament designed specifically for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“The New Testament: A Translation for Latter-day Saints” is the latest book from biblical scholar Thomas Wayment, a professor of classical studies at BYU with a doctorate in New Testament studies from Claremont Graduate University.

The translation was born out of a desire to increase biblical literacy and is intended for those who are new to the Bible as well as those who are seasoned scriptorians. It is like many other study bibles in the way it combines the leading scholarship of today with the best Greek manuscripts of the early Christian era.

The translation differs from any other version of the Bible because of its specific focus on Latter-day Saint doctrine.

Significant portions of Joseph Smith's translation of the Bible are included, and extensive study notes include cross references to scriptural works peculiar to church members such as the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants.

Each book of the New Testament begins with a concise three-part introduction. First, Wayment introduces readers to the author. Second, he provides context for the book by summarizing the author’s main purposes. Lastly, he highlights the most important ways in which the New Testament writing connects to Latter-day Saint beliefs.

The end result is a highly readable translation of the New Testament produced by a Latter-day Saint scholar for Latter-day Saint disciples.

— Kurt Manwaring

"THE USER-FRIENDLY NEW TESTAMENT**: Finding Ourselves in the Stories of Jesus" by Marilyn Green Faulkner,** Cedar Fort, $18.99, 288 pages (nf)

Cedar Fort
"The User-Friendly New Testament: Finding Ourselves in the Stories of Jesus" is by Marilyn Green Faulkner.

Whether someone is a New Testament newbie or an old hat scriptorian who can recite the Gospels by rote, reading Marilyn Green Faulkner’s newest book, “The User-Friendly New Testament: Finding Ourselves in the Stories of Jesus,” can help provide a richer and deeper connection to Jesus Christ.

Faulkner, a popular author and speaker at BYU Women's Conference and Education Week, has released the New Testament edition of her popular “User-Friendly” scripture guide series to amp up spiritual understanding through the stories of Jesus Christ and his disciples.

The book is an engaging read presented in a clear and yet profound conversational manner, like a warm and friendly discussion one would have with a trusted friend or mentor. Written with refreshing candor, personal vulnerability and wit, she doesn’t dance around difficult topics, but handles them with grace.

Chapters draw on stories through the entire New Testament. Topics include “Matthew: Scaling the Sermon on the Mount,” “A Sabbath-Keeping Self-Help Session,” “Luke: Jesus and the Hero’s Journey, “Life after Life: The Power of the Resurrection,” “Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Purpose, Process, and Power of Prayer,” “The Adjacent Possible: How Diversity Enriches the Church,” and “A Sacred Space: Finding Jesus in the Temple.

Focusing on scripture, Faulkner demystifies gospel topics and verses through personal experiences from herself and friends, quotes from Latter-day Saint and other leaders, CEOs, scholars, authors, and even one short quote from Billy Corgan, the lead singer of The Smashing Pumpkins.

“The User-Friendly New Testament: Finding Ourselves in the Stories of Jesus,” is a spiritual GPS that can connect 21st-century disciples to the power of the New Testament's lessons on their personal journey to come unto Christ.

— Emily Howsley

"LEARNING AT THE FEET OF THE SAVIOR," by David Ridges and Taylor Halverson, Cedar Fort**, $24.99, 192 pages (nf)**

Cedar Fort
"Learning at the Feet of the Savior" is by David Ridges and Taylor Halverson.

When Jesus sat in the home of Simon the Pharisee, a woman of ill repute washed his feet with her tears. She then wiped them dry with her hair and anointed him with oils and perfumes that were generally reserved for the elite.

Instead of chastising her as the Pharisee expected, Jesus expressed great gratitude, and in the process taught Simon a lesson in gracious receiving. Despite her perceived failings, Jesus saw inside her heart and recognize the faith of her actions. His act of love and acceptance of her faith is a testimony that lessons do not always require words.

This is one of many examples the authors of "Learning to Teach as the Savior Did" cite as they share with readers principles of a master teacher. David Ridges and Taylor Halverson have selected 37 events/instances in the New Testament where Jesus helped his disciples (and modern readers) see how principles of truth are taught in everyday settings.

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In another instance, Jesus was approached by a Gentile woman who asked for help to heal a child. Jesus ignored her pleas but her persistence eventually resulted in the Savior stopping to listen to her needs. And even though Jesus Christ knew the practices of the Jews, he also recognized the faithful desires of one who needed help. Like Jesus, teachers who are successful will also develop the ability to see learners who are ready to receive the message of Christ.

The efforts of Ridges and Halverson result in a handbook on how to teach as the Savior taught. Chapters are not overly long, and the examples and helps will be useful for any interested in learning more about the Savior's teaching methods.

Both authors are members of The Church of Jesus of Latter-day Saints.

— Mike Whitmer

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled author Thomas Wayment's name as "Waymen."