278.2: Abrahamic Texts and Tests (OT Gospel Doctrine Lesson 9, Sunday School)

“God Will Provide Himself a Lamb”


Is the story of a parent attempting to kill his child an appropriate way to teach obedience and sacrifice? Familiarity can be comforting, but also dangerous. This episode wrestles with one of the most disturbing stories of the Bible, when God commands Abraham to kill his beloved son Isaac.

After modeling a way to push back against the standard approach to this story, we explore

  • how the biblical story builds up the tension and terror of this account
  • what we can learn and gain from the narrative
  • whether  Abraham pass or failed the test
  • how the story of Abraham and Isaac and Jesus/Atonement are similar and different
  • the relationship between God and goodness
  • how we can use this narrative in a constructive way


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Class Member Reading: Abraham 1; Genesis 15, 16, 17, 21, 22; Hebrews 11:17-19; James 2:21-23; Jacob 4:5

Additional Reading: Hebrews 11:8-19; D&C 132:34-36

Other Reading: Genesis 15-28, skimming to see how the (near) sacrifice of Isaac fits within the larger context.


Maxine and Heber provide a challenging but rewarding discussion.


You can access the Annotated Reading here (or PDF).

You can access the Lesson Notes here (or PDF).



Lesson Part 1

0:00        Horrifying Nature of the Lesson

6:20        Assigned Reading: Abraham 1, Genesis 15-17, 21-22

25:03     Questions and thoughts on the story

Discussion Part 1

30:00     Introductions

33:50     Sacrifice themes in Sunday School

48:05     Self Moderated Obedience

57:33     Role of the Angel

1:03:33  Acknowledge the Horror – Question the Interpretation

1:13:07  Question Amoral Commandments


Thanks to Jim Henderson for content editing and to James Estrada for sound editing, and as always to Steven Nelson for the beautiful bumper music.

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