IT BEGINS WITH A FAMILY! It seems that God has a pattern, and it involves families. The Old Testament begins with the first family of Adam and Eve. The New Testament begins with the family of Jesus Christ. The Doctrine and Covenants’ first chronological section (D&C 2) focuses on creating eternal families. And the Book of Mormon begins with the family of Lehi (See also: Arthur R. Bassett, “It Begins with a Family: Some Major Teachings in the First Half of the Book of Mormon”, Ensign, Sept. 1976).
As a father and husband, I have many lessons to learn in these chapters about my own involvement in my family. You may not be a father or a husband, but you are a member of a family–wife, mother, daughter/son, sister/brother, aunt/uncle, grandma/grandpa, etc–and God has lessons for you in these chapters of the Book of Mormon. There are many more lessons in these chapters as well that relate to you as a son or daughter of God.
Something to keep in mind is that the book of 1 Nephi must be understood in the context of the book of Jeremiah. If you have not read the book of Jeremiah, then I would encourage you to study the footnotes in 1 Nephi 1-3 that reference Jeremiah.
What lesson can one learn about God and His Plan when we consider the contrasting lives and missions of two of the Lord’s “many prophets” (1 Nephi 1:4) testifying in Jerusalem at that time? In 1 Nephi 2 we learn that Lehi is to leave Jerusalem with his family and “depart into the wilderness” (1 Nephi 2:1-4). According to our record, it isn’t until v. 20 that Nephi is informed of a “Land of Promise” and a foreshadowing of the events of the entire Book of Mormon history.
The phrase, “Let us be faithful in keeping the commandments” (1 Nephi 3:16,21;4:1), seems to be a prevailing principle in these pages. Those at Jerusalem had not been “faithful in keeping the commandments”, and were about to lose their promised land. The key to residency in the Lord’s promised land(s) has always been, and will always be, obedience to the commandments of the Lord. Lehi and Nephi have both heard the Lord teach this lesson personally to them (1 Nephi 2:1,19). Now they are trying to help others realize the same blessings in their lives.
Jeremiah, on the other hand, will be faithful to the Lord’s command given him to stay at Jerusalem, not have his family, continue to be persecuted throughout his life, and be killed by those he tried so hard to serve and save.
So many amazing insights in just the first six pages of the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
What did you learn in those pages? Comment below!
Don’t miss the beautiful online art exhibit, The Journey of Lehi’s Family: Selections from the Church History Museum’s collection
KnoWhy: See the following for some great additional insights on these chapters.
- 1 Nephi 1:2, Did Ancient Israelites Write In Egyptian?
- 1 Nephi 2:9-10, Did Lehi Use The Poetry Of The Ancient Bedouin?
- 1 Nephi 3:4, Why Does Nephi Always Go Down To The Wilderness And Up To Jerusalem?
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