Here’s a list of things I’ve found to be helpful in teaching the New Testament this year.
Here is a website I used to teach about Herod’s temple (the temple that was built in Jesus’ day). It’s helpful for the kids to understand why the Jews were both angry and astonished when Christ said the temple would be destroyed. A man in England has spent over 30,000 hours building a model of Herod’s temple. It’s very impressive, and it was helpful in my class to get an idea what Herod’s temple was like, where Jesus taught, where Jesus saw the widow cast in her mite, etc.
Old Testament Coinage
There’s a great article from an old Ensign about Bekahs, Shekels, and Talents: A Look at Biblical References to Money By Richard Tice, Ensign, August 1987.
Among other things, there is some very good discussion on the temple tax and how the high priests profited on the moneychanging and a good discussion on the value of a talent. Tice says that a talent was worth 6000 denariis. A denarius was a day’s wage, so a single talent was a HUGE sum of money. At $6.25/hr and assuming 8 hours/day, a talent would be worth $300,000.00.
Above is a picture of a denarius with the image of Caesar Augustus on the face that I got from the British Museum’s website. It is probably the coin Jesus showed the crowd when he taught people should “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.”
I am collecting YouTube videos all the time on the MormonShare YouTube Channel — here are some that are particularly helpful for New Testament
How old were Mary and Joseph at the time of their marriage?
“No hint of the age of either Mary or Joseph is given in the scriptural text, but from existing sources we can make some educated guesses. … Marriage at earlier ages than to which we are accustomed was the general rule. … For a girl, probably the most common age of marriage was fifteen or sixteen. Sometimes it was later, sometimes earlier, but it is likely that Mary was around sixteen and Joseph, her espoused husband, only two or three years older than that” (Gerald N. Lund, in Celebration of Christmas, 31). (As quoted in New Era, December 2006, Mary and Joseph, by Susan Winters)
How many brothers and sisters did Jesus have?
In the New Testament, it mentions the brothers and sisters of Jesus. “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us?” (Mark 6:3; see also Matthew 13:55–56).
“We don’t know how many other children there were in the family, but the New Testament names four boys and lists some sisters. The Greek manuscripts are helpful here. Matthew speaks of ‘all’ (Greek: pantai) his sisters (Matthew 13:56), suggesting more than two. The Greek term hai adelphia (the sisters) is used in the manuscripts, signifying a plurality—that is, three or more sisters. If the record had intended to convey that there were only two sisters, it is probable that the word pantai would not have been employed, but instead the word amphoterai,meaning ‘both,’ would have been used” (Robert J. Matthews, Selected Writings of Robert J. Matthews , 232–33).
Jesus could have had at least seven siblings. (As quoted in New Era, December 2006, Mary and Joseph, by Susan Winters)
Was Mary widowed?
“The last mention of Joseph is at the Passover in Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve years of age. At the wedding feast at Cana, when Jesus was about thirty, specific mention is made that Mary and Jesus were present, but no mention is made of Joseph (see John 2:1–10). Finally at the time of the Crucifixion, Mary is said to have stood at the cross with other women, but again no mention is made of Joseph. At this time Jesus gave his mother to the care of his beloved disciple, John (see John 19:25–27). The record of these events suggests that Mary was widowed sometime after Jesus was twelve years old and before he began his ministry” (Robert J. Matthews, Selected Writings, 233).
“There is a poignancy in the prospect of Mary’s widowhood with a family of children, all younger than Jesus. If this assumption is correct, it may be that Jesus was confronted with the responsibility in early life of providing for a widowed mother and several younger brothers and sisters. This makes most meaningful the scriptural statements that say the Lord is especially mindful of the widow and is a father to the fatherless (see Psalm 68:5; 146:9; James 1:27)” (Robert J. Matthews, Selected Writings, 233–34). (As quoted in New Era, December 2006, Mary and Joseph, by Susan Winters)
Time During the New Testament
The Roman clock, or time of day, was divided into 12 hours (Latin horae) of light and 12 hours of darkness. Since the length of the sunlight varied with the seasons this also meant that the length of the hour changed – with shorter hours in winter and longer hours in summer. Hours could vary in length from 45 minutes to 75 minutes. The Romans divided the night into four watches, following the Greek practice, since, as Vegetius explains, a city-guard could not stand watch all night. For example, “in the fourth watch of night” (quarta vigilia noctis) meant just before dawn. See Wikipedia, Roman timekeeping system. I’ve made a handout to show this information visually.
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