Today we’ll be looking at 2 Nephi 11.
Here is where Nephi stops quoting his brother Jacob. He tells us Jacob has said lots more to his people, but Nephi has only written these most recently quoted items. As this writing project (the Book of Mormon) isn’t, strictly speaking, really Nephi’s but the Lord’s, it’s fairly easy to guess that Nephi probably received prompting from the Lord to include what we’ve just studied under Jacob’s eloquently poetic turn of phrase. So, when Nephi says what he’s written “sufficeth me,” what he really means is that he feels strongly that what he’s written of what Jacob has spoken to the people is enough for now.
Instead, Nephi intends to give us more of the prophecies of Isaiah and this chapter is his introduction into the largest selection of Isaiah quotations in the Book of Mormon. Here, too, Nephi gives us a few sentences worth of instruction in how to handle the information he’s about to give us.
First, Nephi tells us he intends to “liken his words unto my people.(v2)” Here’s the best definition that I’ve found of what that phrase means. “To liken the scriptures means to understand how the principles and doctrines apply to one’s own life and to use them to become more like the Savior (Teaching the Gospel: A Handbook, 33-34).” Likening the scriptures to ourselves is a very valuable skill to have when you’re studying the scriptures. It helps the passages take on a more real feeling, like it’s not just a book but a personal message, written just for you.
Second, Nephi informs us that Isaiah “truly saw my Redeemer. (v2)” This tells us that one of the reasons Nephi feels these passages are valuable is because they give information about the coming of the Savior. I can almost imagine Nephi with a yellow highlighter pen, marking all the prophecies he felt had anything to do with the coming of Christ. You don’t have to do that. However, it pays, while you’re studying the upcoming passages to be on the lookout for those verses that describe him. What kind of person is he supposed to be? How will we know him? Nephi adds that he delights in proving the truth of the Savior’s coming to his people. This is the reason the Law of Moses was put into action in the first place, Nephi adds.
Third, Nephi says, “my soul delighteth in the covenants of the Lord which he hath made to our fathers. (v5)” These covenants, or 2-way promises, are made to us as well. So learning about them is as important to us as they were in Nephi’s time. Also, Nephi points out that the covenants prove the character of the Lord.
Finally, Nephi tells us he wants to prove the validity of Christ’s mission on earth. In other words, he wants, as any good prophet and leader does, to lead his people to repent and access the atonement. Nephi also points out that the existence of Christ, and by extension the atonement, proves the existence of God, which proves that our creation has a distinct purpose.
So, as we begin studying the Isaiah chapters over the next 14 chapters, remember to do the following.
- Figure out how the scripture applies to you.
- Look for information about the Savior.
- Look for information about the covenants of the Lord and find ways how that reveals the kind of person he is.
- Look for information about the atonement and how it proves the existence and love of God.
I want to add a final step, as we begin delving into this mine of spiritual information. Find some place, a journal or notebook or whatever, and write it down. In my opinion, personal revelation such as what you’re going to get from the next selection of Isaiah chapters is invaluable and should be saved.