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How to Make Your ‘Come, Follow Me’ Study of the New Testament the Best Yet

A family reads the scriptures together. In 2023, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will study the New Testament with “Come, Follow Me.”2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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This story appears here courtesy of TheChurchNews.com. It is not for use by other media.

By Sydney Walker, Church News

As Latter-day Saints once again prepare to study the New Testament with “Come, Follow Me,” many have wondered how the 2023 study will be new or different.

“The study of the New Testament in 2019 was the best New Testament study of my life — until 2023, which I know will be even better,” said Sunday School General President Mark L. Pace.

With his 2019 “Come, Follow Me” manual on one side and a new 2023 manual on the other, he continued: “I look forward to gaining additional insights and additional whisperings of the Spirit as the Lord unfolds to me and to the Saints exactly what we need to understand at this time, as we draw nearer to the Savior.”

January 2023 kicks off year five of the “Come, Follow Me” integrated curriculum, which began in 2019 with a study of the New Testament. Following the Book of Mormon in 2020, the Doctrine and Covenants in 2021 and the Old Testament in 2022, the rotation begins again with the New Testament.

President Pace, joined by his counselors, Brother Milton Camargo and Brother Jan E. Newman, recently spoke to the Church News about studying the New Testament in 2023 and how it can be an opportunity to come closer to Jesus Christ than ever before.

An Invitation to Deepen Faith in the Savior

The Sunday School General Presidency from left to right, Brother Milton Camargo, First Counselor; President Mark L. Pace, President; and Brother Jan E. Newman, Second Counselor. © 2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

In the four years since Latter-day Saints first studied the New Testament with “Come, Follow Me,” the world has faced many challenges — a pandemic, wars, natural disasters, political and racial strife, and relentless economic and social pressures.

“We live in a complex world,” Brother Camargo acknowledged. “We live in complex families and situations. And coming to the Lord is the best way to have solutions for those complexities.”

Within the pages of the New Testament, members will find the Savior’s timeless teachings that can help them navigate these complexities. “As we read the scriptures, we will be able to hear from Him priorities in our lives,” Brother Camargo said.

“He has the truth, He is the truth, and as we learn from Him and try to follow His teachings, we will find peace in this complex situation [that] we live … and we can find solutions that will bless us individually and our families.”

Brother Newman emphasized the title of the manual — the Savior’s invitation found in the New Testament.

“The Savior’s invitation to us is to ‘come, follow me’ and become more like Him,” Brother Newman said. “As we study His life and those who were His disciples and apostles, we learn how He handled certain situations, how He made decisions, how He interacted with Heavenly Father’s children. And I think the more we come to know Him, we really will become more like Him.”

Brother Newman said as Church members study the New Testament in 2023, “that would be our invitation — for every member to just come to know the Savior. Come to know Jesus in a more personal, intimate way.”

What’s Different about 2023’s New Testament Study?

The Sunday School General Presidency highlighted a few things that are new or different in the 2023 “Come, Follow Me” New Testament manuals compared to 2019:

  • New appendices. To support parents as they help prepare their children to make and keep covenants, the digital 2023 “Come, Follow Me” manual for individuals and families has a new appendix titled “Preparing Your Children for a Lifetime on God’s Covenant Path.” It includes simple, home-centered ideas for teaching children about covenants, such as the covenant of baptism and the covenants made in the temple. The Primary manual includes an appendix of learning activities about the covenant path that can be used on fifth Sundays starting in 2023.
  • Minor schedule adjustments. There is now a scheduled scripture block for the weekends of general conference in April and October. The weekly readings from the New Testament have been adjusted slightly to align better with what youth will be learning in seminary.
  • Some updated content. In some places, links to more recent general conference messages have been added. Some of the learning activities have been strengthened.
  • Print copies no longer sent to units free of charge. Members can use the digital versions or print versions or both. Print copies can be ordered at store.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

Brother Newman pointed out that the digital manuals can easily be disseminated to members worldwide in various languages. “And it gives us the flexibility to modify, pretty much at any time, and add additional content, additional links to talks, that might be more specific to our current day’s situations.”

SS CFM 2023
SS CFM 2023
Covers of the 2023 “Come, Follow Me” manuals for individuals and families, Sunday School, Primary and youth. The cover painting is “And He Opened His Mouth and Taught Them” by Mike Malm. © 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Making This Year’s Study the Best Yet

President Pace and his counselors also offered suggestions for making this year’s study of the New Testament the best yet.

“Don’t forget what’s in the introductory materials,” President Pace advised. “There are wonderful things in there about ways to improve your personal scripture study and other ways on improving your family scripture study.” Other sections include ideas for teaching young children and using sacred music in gospel learning.

Referencing the section “Conversion Is Our Goal” in the introductory materials, President Pace said “Come, Follow Me” is ultimately about one’s personal experience with the Holy Ghost.

“We are not in the business of entertainment; we are not in the business of discussing history. We are in the business of inspiration,” President Pace said. “And all that is behind ‘Come, Follow Me’ is to help the Saints study the scriptures and to have a personal experience with the Holy Ghost that changes their hearts and converts them again and again and again as disciples of Jesus Christ.”

Brother Camargo encouraged all to use the revised “Teaching in the Savior’s Way” manual, a hard copy of which will be distributed to all members in coming weeks. He said new sections were added to help parents and families teach in the Savior’s way at home.

“There’s one chapter that was not in the old manual, which is focused on Jesus Christ,” Brother Camargo explained. “Everything we do in our home, in our teaching at home, should lead to Jesus Christ, because He is the Savior; He is the Redeemer.”

An image from the Church’s Bible video series depicts Jesus teaching a group of people.2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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For those who feel overwhelmed with finding time to read the assigned scripture block and other material, Brother Camargo offered some encouragement: “We should just continue to do our best. …

“I’ve never been in a race reading the scriptures, never ever. I don’t have a target of reading many pages in a day or chapters. However, of the Book of Mormon, I read every day until I find something that touches my soul. And that’s enough for me for that day, because then that stays in my mind and in my heart during the whole day.”

Adding to Brother Camargo’s insight, Brother Newman quoted from the introductory materials: “‘Come, Follow Me — For Individuals and Families’ is not meant to replace or compete with other good things you are doing. Follow the Spirit’s guidance to determine how to approach your own study of the word of God.”

Remembering President Nelson’s Promise

In conclusion, President Pace testified of the four blessings President Russell M. Nelson promised to those who “diligently work to remodel [their] home into a center of learning”:

  • “Over time your Sabbath days will truly be a delight.”
  • “Your children will be excited to learn and to live the Savior’s teachings.”
  • “The influence of the adversary in your life and in your home will decrease.”
  • “Changes in your family will be dramatic and sustaining” (“Becoming Exemplary Latter-day Saints,” October 2018 general conference).

“The remodeling that President Nelson was talking about was not one of changing wall covers, or paint or up-doing decor,” President Pace said. “He was talking about making our home ‘sanctuaries of faith.’ A sanctuary is where something is safe, and making our home some place where faith is safe. …

“Where light is, darkness flees. And in my home, and in your homes, and in the homes of the Saints, as we fill our homes with light from studying the scriptures, darkness leaves.”

Copyright 2022 Deseret News Publishing Company.

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