Scripture Study

What Brings Joy to a Minister (Alma 7)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 31 January 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 767

What Brings Joy to a Minister (Alma 7)

Now free of the chief judge position and able to focus wholly on leading The Church, Alma decides to travel around to check on the status of The Church in the various Nephite cities and encourage the members in each location. His first stop is the city of Gideon. An excerpt of his words to the members in that city is recorded in Alma 7.

Although the bulk of Alma's address concerns the coming of Jesus Christ, he also makes three separate statements about situations that have brought him joy as The Church leader:

Gather Together Oft (Alma 6)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 03 January 2018. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 6772

Gather Together Oft (Alma 6)

In Alma 6, Alma establishes some order to the church in the capital city of Zarahemla, ordaining ministers and getting the membership roles in order. As the overall leader of the church, he recognizes that he will need to travel around and provide support to the churches in the various Nephite cities, so he wants to make sure the church in Zarahemla can function in his absence. Among the instructions he gives to the church members:

“The children of God were commanded that they should gather themselves together oft, and join in fasting and mighty prayer in behalf of the welfare of the souls of those who knew not God” (Alma 6:6)

Can You Sing It? (Alma 5)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 27 December 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 697

Can You Sing It? (Alma 5)

Let’s all sing it together:

“What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought since Jesus came into my heart…”

It’s easy to sing, but is it a true statement? It doesn’t say that a wonderful change has occurred in someone’s life; it says that a wonderful change has occurred in my life. So, can I truthfully sing that a wonderful change has occurred in my life since Jesus came into my heart? Or am I just singing along for the sake of the melody?

Pruning Your Tree of Life (Alma 4)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 20 December 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 591

Pruning Your Tree of Life (Alma 4)

PRUNING: Trimming (a tree, shrub, or bush) by cutting away overgrown branches, especially to increase fruitfulness and growth

When addressing His disciples at the Last Supper (John 15), Jesus used a familiar metaphor to compare His followers to the branches of a fruit tree. Branches with no fruit are cut away, but even branches bearing fruit require attention — these are purged (or pruned) in order to allow them to bring forth even more fruit. Pruning can include cutting away twigs and leaves that are in the way, but it can also include removing excess fruit that weighs down the branch and leaves no room for additional fruit to grow.

Equally Yoked (Alma 3)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 13 December 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 817

Equally Yoked (Alma 3)

Yoke: A wooden bar that joins two oxen to each other and to the burden they pull

Try to envision the arrangement described above. The two animals are connected to each other and need to move forward together, pulling a load behind them. Now, what would happen if the two oxen who are connected to each other in this way are significantly different in terms of size or strength? The weaker or shorter ox would walk more slowly than the stronger or taller one, causing the load to go around in circles. When oxen are “unequally yoked” they cannot perform the task set before them. Instead of working together, they are at odds with one another.

Are They With Us? (Alma 2)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 06 December 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 701

Are They With Us? (Alma 2)

In Alma 2, a man named Amlici campaigns to become a king over the Nephite people, actually forcing a vote on the issue. When Amlici and the proposal to have a king are defeated in the election, Amlici takes his supporters and forms his own little kingdom anyway, eventually coming to battle against the Nephites. After the battle, Alma sends some spies to follow the remaining Amlicites and they return with the following report:

“Behold, we followed the camp of the Amlicites, and to our great astonishment…we saw a numerous host of Lamanites; and behold, the Amlicites have joined them” (Alma 2:24)

Amateur or Professional? (Alma 1)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 29 November 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 766

Amateur or Professional? (Alma 1)

In Alma 1, a man named Nehor goes about, challenging the way the church operates. In particular, he promotes the concept of a paid ministry, “declaring unto the people that every priest and teacher ought to become popular; and they ought not to labor with their hands, but that they ought to be supported by the people.” (Alma 1:3) Apparently, his words are quite persuasive, as people begin to give him money, and he becomes quite wealthy.

The concept of a minister becoming wealthy with money collected from people who think they are donating to God is quite distasteful. It’s in fact one of the things that has made people cynical when it comes to organized religion, as they think that every minister is in it for the money and is cheating the poor people in the congregation.

Majority Rules (Mosiah 29)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 22 November 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 752

Majority Rules (Mosiah 29)

"Majority rules" is a simple concept. It’s when you make a decision by having everyone vote on some question and then implement whichever option gets the most votes. It’s how the U.S. government is designed to operate. The majority of voters select elected officials, and the majority of those elected officials enact laws and policies. The majority makes the rules.

In Mosiah 29, King Mosiah realizes that none of his sons have a desire to follow him as king (since they’re now much more interested in doing missionary work for the Lord) so he puts into place a new form of government in which judges govern the people. These judges will be elected by “the voice of the people” (majority rules).

Being Missionary-Minded (Mosiah 28)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 15 November 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 621

Being Missionary-Minded (Mosiah 28)

Having been converted to Christ in the previous chapter, the four sons of Mosiah express a desire to do missionary work in Mosiah 28. Their choice of preaching the gospel to the Lamanite people is somewhat surprising though, considering that:

  • Their lives will be in danger. (The Lamanites hate the Nephites.)
  • They will have virtually no credibility. (Why would the Lamanites even listen to them?)
  • Their likelihood of success will be extremely slim. (The Lamanites are not the type of people who will look to God under any circumstances.)

On the other hand:

  • They won’t be greeted with a response of “We already have a church.”
  • They recognize that they themselves were vile sinners and God was merciful to them.
  • They consider the Lamanites their brethren, so they would love to see their lives changed by knowing the Lord.

Your Conversion Experience (Mosiah 27)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 08 November 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 644

Your Conversion Experience (Mosiah 27)

In Mosiah 27, Mosiah and Alma face a difficult situation. Their adult sons are rebelling against the church. Alma, the son of Alma, is a particular problem as he is good with words, and he is convincing others to follow in his ways.

After much prayer by their parents, the five young men encounter the angel of the Lord who appears to them and speaks to them with a voice of thunder, causing them to be overcome and fall to the earth. Alma is unable to stand or move for the next two days. During this time, he has a powerful conversion experience. In his words:

Dealing With Sin in The Church (Mosiah 26)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 01 November 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 603

Dealing With Sin in The Church (Mosiah 26)

In Mosiah 26, Alma begins to face some of the issues that come into play with a growing church that is reaching out to many people:

  • There are people who can’t bring themselves to believe in what is being taught.
  • There are people who hear the word but refuse to be baptized.
  • There are people who try to convince members of the church to commit sin.
  • And, unfortunately, there are some members of the church who do fall into sinful ways.

When Alma becomes aware of the sin in the church, he struggles with how to handle the situation. It’s not hard to understand his struggle. He loves the people; he doesn’t want to reprimand anyone, and he certainly doesn’t want to lose anyone from the church. On the other hand, it has reached the point where it can’t be ignored: “there were many witnesses against them; yea, the people stood and testified of their iniquity in abundance.” (Mosiah 26:9)

Tell Them It Was God (Mosiah 25)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 25 October 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 934

Tell Them It Was God (Mosiah 25)

In the previous chapter, Alma and his group were miraculously delivered from bondage to the Lamanites and arrived in Zarahemla, joining up with Limhi and his group who had also been delivered from Lamanite bondage. In Mosiah 25, Alma speaks to all of the people, delivering a specific message to those who have been delivered from bondage:

“And he did exhort the people of Limhi and his brethren, all those that had been delivered out of bondage, that they should remember that it was the Lord that did deliver them.” (Mosiah 25:16)

Perhaps some of the people thought their deliverance was due to their own strength or cunning. Perhaps others remarked that they were lucky to have gotten away. Alma made sure to tell them that it was God who had done this for them.

Teaching the Untaught (Mosiah 24)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 18 October 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 779

Teaching the Untaught (Mosiah 24)

Mosiah 24 describes the education of the Lamanite people under the rule of Amulon. From a worldly perspective, they are well educated; they learn the Nephite language and are trained in writing and doing business with others. As a result, they begin to accumulate riches and are described as a “cunning and wise people, as to the wisdom of the world.”

However, the one thing missing from their education is also identified: “They knew not God; neither did the brethren of Amulon teach them anything concerning the Lord their God, neither the Law of Moses; nor did they teach them the words of Abinadi.” (Mosiah 24:5) As a result, although the people are described as wise and cunning, they are also described as “delighting in all manner of wickedness and plunder.”

As Good as Your Word (Mosiah 23)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 11 October 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 728

As Good as Your Word (Mosiah 23)

At the end of the previous chapter, the people of King Limhi had escaped from the city where they were in bondage to the Lamanites. The Lamanite army tried to pursue them, but they just wound up getting hopelessly lost in the wilderness. In Mosiah 23, this lost army stumbles upon the city where Alma and his followers are living. The people of Alma were the ones who had chosen to serve God, so they had been in hiding from King Noah and were consequently not among the people of King Limhi (Noah’s son) who had returned to the land of Zarahemla.

The Lamanites are prepared to put Alma’s group into bondage as they had previously done with Limhi’s group. However, they make an offer to Alma and his people: Show us the way back to the city of Nephi (where the rest of the Lamanites live) and we’ll let you go free. No killing, no bondage, no problem. Alma agrees and leads the Lamanites where they want to go. However, “after Alma had shown them the way that led to the land of Nephi the Lamanites would not keep their promise; but they set guards round about the land of Helam, over Alma and his brethren.” (Mosiah 23:37)

Flesh for Stone

Written by Brother Jordan Champine on Tuesday, 10 October 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 791

Flesh for Stone

God’s interaction with man since the foundation of human existence has always incorporated covenants. It is a divine characteristic of having a relationship with Him. Due to Israel’s disobedience, the Old Testament covenant through the Law of Moses was just as hard and heavy as the literal tablets on which they originated.

In describing it, Paul states, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:19-20).

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