Scripture Study

Doing Battle Against Spiritual Starvation

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Thursday, 16 February 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 168

Doing Battle Against Spiritual Starvation

Have you ever gone so long without reading scripture, praying, fasting, attending church, or [insert your own] that you just "got used to it" after a while? At first, you felt like something was missing — maybe you even felt guilty for not doing whatever it was — but then it became normal? After enough time passed, you didn't even miss it.

I think we've all experienced this. We think, "I can't remember the last time I read scripture (or other spiritual thing)."

Redefining Marriage (Jacob 2)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 15 February 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 196

Redefining Marriage (Jacob 2)

Polygamy — the practice of being married to more than one person at the same time — is something that was practiced and even encouraged by a particular church in the 1800s. Since this teaching is not found in the Bible, many people assume that the Book of Mormon, which is also used by that particular church, must be the book that teaches that polygamy is acceptable. Since The Church of Jesus Christ also uses the Book of Mormon, we want to make sure to set the record straight on this matter.

In reality, Jacob 2 is the only chapter in the Book of Mormon that discusses this subject, and the instruction is clearly opposed to this practice: “Hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife” (Jacob 2:27).

If You Accept a Job, Do the Job (Jacob 1)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 08 February 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 203

If You Accept a Job, Do the Job (Jacob 1)

With the death of Nephi, Jacob (Nephi’s brother) takes over the responsibility of maintaining the history of the Nephite people. In the first chapter of Jacob’s writing, he describes this new responsibility and also mentions his calling into the priesthood, having been ordained by his brother Nephi. Regarding this calling, Jacob writes that he and his brother Joseph “magnified their office,” taking their responsibilities so seriously that they considered “the sins of the people [to be] upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence” (Jacob 1:19).

When I was a young man, one thing that my father taught me that has stuck with me is “If you accept a job, do the job.” Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Yet, how often do we find ourselves accepting a job (or title) in the church and then, for some reason, not doing the work associated with that job?

Because It Needs to Be Done (2 Nephi 33)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 25 January 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 186

Because It Needs to Be Done (2 Nephi 33)

In the final chapter of Nephi’s writing, 2 Nephi 33, Nephi points out that writing is actually not his best skill. (He was more of a speaker than a writer.) Considering how much he wrote, one could ask, “Why did he do it?” Didn’t he have enough other things to do? Shouldn’t he have left the writing for someone else?

The simple answer to the question of why he did it is because it needed to be done. The history and prophecies needed to be recorded. Writing may not have been his gift. It may not have been his favorite thing to do, but he was able to do it, and it needed to be done. So he did it. Seeing Nephi’s dedication to doing what had to be done, God blessed his work. As Nephi puts it, “the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong” (2 Nephi 33:4).

The Holy Ghost (2 Nephi 32)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 18 January 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 165

The Holy Ghost (2 Nephi 32)

After encouraging the people to consider baptism in chapter 31, Nephi begins 2 Nephi 32 by asking them to consider what comes next after baptism. If you’re a member of The Church of Jesus Christ, then you know that the very next step after baptism is to receive the Holy Ghost. Whereas the words of Nephi make it sound like the reception of the Holy Ghost may have been a decision to be considered separately at that time, the church today bestows it on you automatically shortly after you are baptized.

Although the Holy Ghost is not considered to be a separate “personage” (such as God the Father and God the Son), it is a portion of the entity known as “God.” Baptisms are performed “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” so clearly the Holy Ghost is a part of God. Unlike the personages of the Father and the Son, the Holy Ghost is our own personal portion of God that resides within us and influences us to be servants of God.

Why Should I Be Baptized? (2 Nephi 31)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 11 January 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 167

Why Should I Be Baptized? (2 Nephi 31)

In 2 Nephi 31, Nephi makes a strong case for baptism. If you find yourself in a discussion with someone who is considering baptism — or if you’re contemplating it for yourself — here are some discussion points based on Nephi's words in this chapter:

God Is No Respecter of Persons (2 Nephi 30)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 04 January 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 223

God Is No Respecter of Persons (2 Nephi 30)

Since the House of Israel was given the first opportunity to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, there were many Israelites in those early days who thought it was only for them or that they were somehow special to God or even privileged because of the family they belonged to. After all, they were the “covenant people”! Nephi sought to squash this notion in 2 Nephi 30, describing who the real covenant people are:

"For behold, I say unto you that as many of the Gentiles as will repent are the covenant people of the Lord; and as many of the Jews as will not repent shall be cast off; for the Lord covenanteth with none save it be with them that repent and believe in his Son, who is the Holy One of Israel." (2 Nephi 30:2)

This had to be quite an eye opener, that the only factor that mattered was belief on the Lord Jesus Christ and that those who believed — regardless of heritage — would be part of the family of God and those who did not believe — again, regardless of heritage — would be on the outside.

Why Must God Be “One and Done”? (2 Nephi 29)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 28 December 2016. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 244

Why Must God Be “One and Done”? (2 Nephi 29)

What do the following books have in common?

  • “The Mysterious Affair at Styles” by Agatha Christie
  • “A Time to Kill” by John Grisham
  • “Carrie” by Stephen King
  • “Alex Cross” by James Patterson

All Is Well in Zion (2 Nephi 28)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 21 December 2016. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 258

All Is Well in Zion (2 Nephi 28)

Here’s a little quiz for you — do you know what the phrase “All is Well in Zion” means? The phrase isn’t used in the church as often as it was years ago, so if you’re a younger member, you can perhaps be excused for not being familiar with the phrase. If you guessed that it’s some type of prophecy regarding the future gathering of Israel, that's actually incorrect. The mention of Zion is just an indirect reference; the phrase actually has meaning for us in this day and time.

In 2 Nephi 28, Nephi describes a spiritual battle that was taking place, one that is still going on today: “For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance” (2 Nephi 28:19). To help us be better equipped for this battle, Nephi then goes on to warn us about three different strategies that the enemy is using.

Fruitful Women: Joyful Mary

Written by Sister Linda Scolaro on Thursday, 15 December 2016. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 299

Fruitful Women: Joyful Mary

So far, the fruitful women I've described have included Hannah, who epitomizes longsuffering, as well as Miriam, Pharoah’s daughter, and Jochebed, who exude gentleness.

When I think of the fruit of the spirit, joy, I think of Mary, the mother of Jesus. When Mary went to visit her cousin, Elisabeth, the scripture explains that the babe, John, leaped in her womb for joy. This happens shortly after Mary learns of God’s plan for her to be the mother of Jesus.

In Luke 1:38, Mary comes to terms with being chosen to be the mother of Jesus when she responds to the angel, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.”

Being Unlearned (2 Nephi 27)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 14 December 2016. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 323

Being Unlearned (2 Nephi 27)

A portion of 2 Nephi 27 references a prophecy in Isaiah 29 regarding a learned (educated) man and an unlearned (uneducated) man trying to read a book. The book being referenced is the original manuscript of The Book of Mormon as inscribed on the plates.

According to these verses, the learned man would say that he cannot read the book because it is “sealed” (unreadable) and the unlearned man would say that he cannot read the book because he is unlearned. An actual episode similar to what is described in these verses occurred when Joseph Smith (an unlearned man) brought the plates to a university professor (a learned man) and the same basic dialogue occurred.

Salvation Is for All (2 Nephi 26)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 07 December 2016. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 253

Salvation Is for All (2 Nephi 26)

Although much of what Nephi writes is directed to his people, the House of Israel, he makes the point in 2 Nephi 26 that the gospel is for the Gentiles (everyone else) as well. In verses 25 to 28, he poses the following series of questions (underlines added for emphasis):

  • Doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me?
  • Hath he commanded any that they should depart…out of the houses of worship?
  • Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation?
  • Hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness?

For each of the questions above, the answer is the same — Nay!

Second Chances (2 Nephi 25)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 30 November 2016. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 253

Second Chances (2 Nephi 25)

Having completed the sharing of Isaiah’s prophecies in 2 Nephi 12 through 24, Nephi devotes the remainder of 2 Nephi (chapters 25 to 33) to his personal observations on Isaiah’s prophecies as well as some prophecies of his own.

In 2 Nephi 25:12-16, Nephi describes how God would send His son to redeem Israel but that they would reject Him and crucify Him, resulting in the scattering of Israel throughout the world. However, rather than cutting off Israel, God would give them a second chance:

"And the Lord will set his hand again the second time to restore his people from their lost and fallen state. Wherefore, he will proceed to do a marvelous work and a wonder among the children of men." (2 Nephi 25:17)

Lift Me Up a Little Higher, Self (2 Nephi 24)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 23 November 2016. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 276

Lift Me Up a Little Higher, Self (2 Nephi 24)

2 Nephi 24 describes how the angel Lucifer fell from heaven to become the enemy of God and all mankind. The reason for the fall is given as follows:

"For thou hast said in thy heart: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High" (2 Nephi 24:13-14)

Whatever Lucifer did or has done or will do, it all extends back to him attempting to exalt himself (lift himself up) to the level of God (or even higher). Keeping in mind that Lucifer was an angel, loved by God and referred to (in verse 12) as “Lucifer, son of the morning,” the penalty that was levied — “thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit” (verse 15) — indicates how God feels about those who seek to lift themselves up to His level.

The Day of the Lord (2 Nephi 23)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 16 November 2016. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 367

The Day of the Lord (2 Nephi 23)

2 Nephi 23 gives some detail on a future period of time referred to as the “Day of the Lord,” a time of vast destruction that will precede the establishment of Zion. There are many scriptural references to the Day of the Lord, both in Isaiah and 2 Nephi as well as in the writings of other prophets. Verses that include the phrase “in that day” generally are referring to the Day of the Lord.

On the one hand, this is not a time to look forward to:

"Howl ye, for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty." (2 Nephi 23:6)

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