Scripture Study

When You Assume (Mosiah 7)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 07 June 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 637

When You Assume (Mosiah 7)

Assume: To accept as true without proof

We all do it. We hear someone say something, and we fill in the blanks as to what the statement means, even though the additional words were not spoken. Or we observe someone do something, and we immediately think we know the reason why, perhaps based on our knowledge of the person or perhaps based on reasons why other people have done the same thing.

Sometimes our assumptions are correct. The better we know a person, the higher our success percentage will be for accurately determining the person’s meaning or motivation for certain words or actions. (My wife is right about me so often that she says, “I know you better than you know yourself.”)

Kingdom Accounting (Mosiah 6)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 31 May 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 630

In Mosiah 6, King Benjamin makes a request to all the people who agreed to enter into a covenant to serve God — to put their names on a list of believers. It is happily mentioned that the resulting list of servants of God (a precursor to the church's RIP System) contained the name of every adult who had listened to King Benjamin’s address — a 100 percent conversion rate!

Why did King Benjamin have the people provide their names for this list? Wasn’t it enough that they accepted Christ? Does God need a written list to keep track of His followers? No, of course God doesn’t need a written list kept on earth. God maintains His own list which is referred to as the Lamb’s Book of Life — this “book” contains the names of all people who will inherit eternal life.

It’s Just as Good as a Xerox (Mosiah 5)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 24 May 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 668

If you cut yourself, then you put on a Band-Aid. If your nose is running, then you use a Kleenex. If you have a headache, then you take a Tylenol. If you work in an office and you need to make copies, then you use the Xerox machine.

All of the above sound like common-sense things that we all do; however, many of us who cut ourselves may use an adhesive bandage that is not the Band-Aid brand and therefore does not have the Band-Aid name on it. Our tissue box may or may not have the Kleenex name on it. We may keep generic ibuprofen in our medicine cabinet rather than the official Tylenol brand. And, of course, there are many brands of copy machines that do not carry the Xerox name.

He Did It to Himself (Mosiah 4)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 17 May 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 789

As King Benjamin concludes his address in Mosiah 4, he touches on the subject of providing assistance to the poor and needy. This is a familiar subject in scripture — Jesus taught the same thing — and it’s certainly consistent with the concept of Christian living.

As was mentioned in an earlier chapter, Jesus taught in Matthew 25:31-46 that if we feed or clothe people who are in need, we are doing it to Him. He told the rich young ruler that if he wanted to be perfect, he should sell all he had and give the money to the poor. James writes that if we encounter someone without food or clothes and we just give him kind words and no other assistance, we haven’t really helped him.

There are many other passages that teach the same thing. Scripture is all about helping the poor.

Judgment Day (Mosiah 3)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 10 May 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 642

The term “Judgment Day” generally conjures up an uncomfortable image of the end of the world or something similar. There have been several movies with this title and the idea is the same — the end is coming, prepare for the end, etc. If the term is applied to a courtroom, it is still uncomfortable, as it indicates the day you find out if you’re judged innocent or guilty, with your future existence riding on the outcome.

In Mosiah 3, King Benjamin describes Judgment Day as the time when all “shall be judged, every man according to his works, whether they be good, or whether they be evil” (Mosiah 3:24). It’s basically everything described in the paragraph above except it’s your future eternal existence riding on the outcome of this judgment.

Serving God by Serving Each Other (Mosiah 2)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 03 May 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 681

Serving God by Serving Each Other (Mosiah 2)

In Mosiah 2, King Benjamin begins his farewell address to his people. So many people come to hear his words that a tower needs to be erected for him to stand on as he speaks. Even then, many of the people are sitting too far away to hear him — no PA system, obviously — so his words need to be written down and distributed to the multitude.

As King Benjamin reviews his reign, he reminds the people that he didn’t burden them with taxes but rather worked to support himself and even to serve others. He then stresses that he is not telling them this to boast but rather to teach them that serving others is part of serving God. His statement is one that is quoted often in sermons today:

"I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." (Mosiah 2:17)

Passing the Torch (Mosiah 1)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 26 April 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 702

Passing the Torch (Mosiah 1)

One of the traditions associated with the Olympic games is that a torch is carried from the ancient site of Olympia in Greece (where the Olympic Games were originally held in ancient times) to whatever city in whatever country the Olympics are taking place that particular year.

Needless to say, the journey, which can encompass thousands of miles and even cross continents, is way more than a single person can accomplish. So, there are designated points where the torch bearer passes the torch to another person who then continues the journey with the process continuing until the journey ends with the torch being placed at the site of the games.

The Words of Mormon

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 19 April 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 796

The Words of Mormon

OK, who is Mormon and why do we care about his words?

Is Mormon the founder of the Mormon church? No, he’s not.

Is he the author of the Book of Mormon? Well, sort of, but not exactly.

Mormon is best described as the historian of his time, the keeper of all the various books and writings of men like Lehi, Nephi, Mosiah, Alma, etc.

The Book of You (Omni)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 12 April 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 762

The Book of You (Omni)

The Book of Omni (similar to the preceding books of Enos and Jarom) consists of only a single chapter. However, the title of this book is actually misleading. Omni, the son of Jarom, refers to himself as a wicked man with no relationship with God and, as a result, adds only three verses to the record before passing it on to his son, Amaron.

Amaron, also with nothing to say regarding a relationship with God, adds a mere five verses and passes the record to his brother Chemish, who wins the prize for the shortest “book,” writing just a single verse — and using that verse to call out his brother for waiting to write his part until the day he passed the record over!

How to Be Exceedingly Rich (Jarom)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 05 April 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 712

How to Be Exceedingly Rich (Jarom)

Similar to the Book of Enos, the Book of Jarom is also only a single chapter as Jarom, the son of Enos, continues the Nephite record. Jarom records that during his lifetime the Nephite people “became exceeding rich in gold, and in silver, and in precious things” (verse 8) in accordance with the word of the Lord which had said, “Inasmuch as ye will keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land” (verse 9).

If you read the entire Book of Mormon, you find that there are many occasions when the Nephite people become prosperous as a result of keeping the commandments of God. However, on almost all of these occasions, what follows the period of prosperity is an attitude of pride such that the Nephites drift away from God and are no longer prosperous in the land. Eventually, they get themselves right with God and become prosperous again, only to be lifted up in pride again, turning away from God again. The cycle repeats itself over and over again.

What Our Children Remember (Enos)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 29 March 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 718

What Our Children Remember (Enos)

At the end of his life, Jacob, the brother of Nephi, turns over the Nephite records to his son, Enos. Enos would only add one chapter of information to the record, but that one chapter does contain the account of his conversion. While in the forest, Enos prayed mightily and heard the voice of the Lord say, “Thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed” (verse 4). At that point, any guilt he felt was swept away, and he was fully converted to a faith in Christ.

But let’s back up a little bit in the story. Prior to praying mightily, what was Enos thinking about? According to verse 3, he was thinking back on the words that he had often heard his father speak concerning eternal life and the joy of the saints, and these words sunk deep into his heart. This caused his soul to hunger for the same blessings in his life, and he went on to establish his own relationship with God.

They Can’t Both Be Right (Jacob 7)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 22 March 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 776

They Can’t Both Be Right (Jacob 7)

One of my favorite movies from years ago is “Fiddler on the Roof,” a story about Tevye, the milkman, struggling to hang onto old traditions in the face of a changing world. In a memorable scene, a young rebel (who would eventually marry one of Tevye’s daughters) tries to convince the circle of traditional older men to take notice of what is happening in the world outside of their little village. The dialogue goes like this:

Man 1: Why should I care about what’s going on in the outside world? Let the outside world take care of itself.

Tevye: He’s right.

Young Rebel: Nonsense! You can’t close your eyes to what’s happening in the world!

Tevye: He’s right.

Man 2 (addressing Tevye): He’s right and he’s right? They can’t both be right.

Tevye: You know, you are also right!

The Hard-Hearted Person (Jacob 6)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 15 March 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 881

The Hard-Hearted Person (Jacob 6)

In Jacob 6, after providing some brief explanation of the parable presented in the previous chapter, Jacob encourages the people in three consecutive verses to not “harden their hearts.” He points out that those who do harden their hearts will be unable to hear the voice of God and will therefore be unable to take advantage of His mercy and will therefore be unable to be saved in the kingdom of God.

What does it mean to have a hard heart? Physically speaking, nobody’s heart can truly be hard, as it would be unable to function as a pump for the blood and the person would die. However, to the extent that the heart represents our true inner self and the place where love resides, it makes sense that we can choose to erect a barrier such that the words or love of another individual (or of God) cannot penetrate and get to us.

Understanding Parables (Jacob 5)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 08 March 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 824

Understanding Parables (Jacob 5)

The New Testament records many parables related by Jesus. The Lord stated that He used this method — in which people or objects in a story represent other things — to communicate various spiritual truths such that only someone who was looking for the spiritual meaning would understand what He was saying. So, whereas one person might hear a story about seeking a pearl of great price as the pursuit of wealth, the spiritual person would understand that this story illustrates that the gospel of Jesus Christ is worth more to us than anything we have on earth.

The key to understanding a parable is to identify what each element of the story represents and what the interactions indicate. For example, in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15), a man gives half his wealth to his son who then goes out and wastes it all on “riotous living;” when the money is all gone, the son returns home and his father throws his arms around him and takes him back! Rather than thinking of the father as an enabler and the son as a deadbeat, we understand that the father represents God and the son represents you or me or anyone who has gone astray in life. When we put ourselves in the story like this, we gain a clearer understanding of God’s unconditional love for us.

Being a Commander (Jacob 4)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 01 March 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 667

Being a Commander (Jacob 4)

If asked to name great military commanders in history, you might think of names in American history such as George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant or George Patton. Perhaps you might think of names in world history like Alexander the Great or Napoleon Bonaparte. Hopefully, you'd also think of names in the scriptures such as Joshua, David, Moroni, and Mormon.

All of these commanders led large armies. In order to lead effectively, they had to be able to tell their soldiers what to do (command them). A great commander definitely influences the outcome of a battle, but the strength of the army is a huge factor as well. Commanding an army with little strength is not likely to lead to victory.

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