2 Nephi 2: 8b-9

The text for this week:

8bwho layeth down his life according to the flesh and taketh it again by the power of the spirit that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise. 9Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men. And they that believe in him shall be saved. Continue reading


2 Nephi 2:7-8a

[From Deidre!]

7 Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit—and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered. 8a Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth! That they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God save it be through the merits and mercy and grace of the Holy Messiah

The idea of Christ answering the law is significant—he is responding to a question, a demand

“unto none else can the ends of the law be answered”—the preposition “unto” is strange here: why not use the word “by”? What does it mean to say the law is answered unto Christ, rather than by Christ? Continue reading

2 Nephi 2:5-6

Let’s start with the text of 2 Nephi 2:5-6. (Note – there are no textual variants in these verses (nor any in 2 Nephi 2 until verse 10)).

The Text

And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil. And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever. Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth”

The First Guiding Question

I’d like to start by addressing a portion of our first guiding question:

“What relationship does the sermon of 2 Nephi 2 bear to scripture generally—whether in terms of its immediate setting, its reliance on other scriptural texts, or its influence on other scriptural texts?” Continue reading

2 Nephi 2:3b–4


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I really enjoyed the beginnings of our discussion last week—Joe always has a way of looking at things that startles me into new thoughts. My approach, while not as rigorous as Joe’s (unfortunately!), will hopefully spark a fruitful continuation of the discussion. Onward!

The Text

3bWherefore, I know that thou art redeemed because of the righteousness of thy redeemer. For thou hast beheld that in the fullness of time he cometh to bring salvation unto men, 4and thou hast beheld in thy youth his glory—wherefore, thou art blessed even as they unto whom he shall minister in the flesh. For the spirit is the same—yesterday, today, and forever—and the way is prepared from the fall of man; and salvation is free

Continue reading

2 Nephi 2:1-3a – Some Preliminary Reflections

It’s time, at long last, to get this discussion started. We’re tackling only the first two-and-a-half verses of text this week, but that will be enough to keep us more than busy, I think. Here is the text we’re dealing with this week, with my own punctuation (note that there are no textual variants to be bothered about in these verses):

[1] And now, Jacob, I speak unto you. Thou art my firstborn in the days of my tribulation in the wilderness, and, behold, in thy childhood thou hast suffered afflictions and much sorrow because of the rudeness of thy brethren. [2] Nevertheless Jacob, my firstborn in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God, and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain. [3] Wherefore, thy soul shall be blessed, and thou shalt dwell safely with thy brother Nephi, and thy days shall be spent in the service of thy God.

The first two of our four guiding questions seem to be focused heavily on these first verses. If we’re to get a sense of the immediate setting of 2 Nephi 2, or of its reliance on other scriptural texts, it’d be best to look for answers in assessing these first verses of the chapter. Further, if we’re serious about the question of audience, as well as about how the details of Jacob’s life bear on the interpretation of 2 Nephi 2, we’ve got to keep an eye on these first verses. Also interesting to me are some details from these first verses that might help us begin to answer our third question. As I hope to show, there’s a significant question of textual structure in these first verses that should give us serious theological food for thought. Only the fourth question will have to wait for further attention.

What follows, then, comes in three parts. In the first, I’ll say a few things about how these first verses help to situate 2 Nephi 2 within scripture rather generally. In the second, I’ll see if I can’t illuminate something about audience, as well as about the interpretive relevance of Jacob’s past. In the third, finally, I’ll identify an important structure in these first verses and say a bit about what it suggests theologically. Continue reading

The Schedule for Our Discussions Is Set

January 7–12 (2 Nephi 2:1–3a) – JOE
January 14–19 (2 Nephi 2:3b–4) – JENNY
January 21–26 (2 Nephi 2:5–6) – JOHN
January 28 – February 2 (2 Nephi 2:7-8a) – DEIDRE
February 4–9 (2 Nephi 2:8b–9) – JENNY
February 11–16 (2 Nephi 2:10) – SHEILA
February 18–23 (2 Nephi 2:11) – JOE
February 25 – March 2 (2 Nephi 2:12–13) – JOE
March 4–9 (2 Nephi 2:14–16) – RICO
March 11–16 (2 Nephi 2:17–18) – JENNY
March 18–23 (2 Nephi 2:19–21) – RICO
March 25–30 (2 Nephi 2:22–24) – DEIDRE
April 1–6 (2 Nephi 2:25–27) – JOHN
April 8–13 (2 Nephi 2:28–30) – JENNY


Welcome to “Lehi’s Discourse: Reading 2 Nephi 2,” a project sponsored by the Mormon Theology Seminar and held concurrently with another project investigating Genesis 2-3. We’ll soon be posting both our guiding questions and a schedule for when we’ll be working through what parts of 2 Nephi 2 collectively.

A quick apology to those reading along: due to the nature of the project, only participants in the seminar are allowed to comment on the blog. Feel free, though, to contact us by other means with thoughts, or to blog about them elsewhere!