Lesson 41: 2 Nephi 32

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, 2017


Introduction

After teaching about the “strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life” (2 Nephi 31:18), Nephi perceived that his people wondered what they should do after beginning on that path. He answered their questions by encouraging them to “feast upon the words of Christ” and “pray always” (2 Nephi 32:3, 9). He assured them that if they would do these things, the Holy Ghost would help them know what to do.

Suggestions for Teaching

2 Nephi 32:1–7

Nephi counsels us to seek divine direction through the words of Jesus Christ and the promptings of the Holy Ghost

Invite students to think about situations or choices they currently face for which they would like some direction. (For example, students may have struggles in their relationships with family or friends, or they may need to decide what they will do after high school has ended.)

  • What do you do when you feel the need for direction?

Explain that after Nephi taught his people about following the doctrine of Christ and beginning on the path to eternal life as recorded in 2 Nephi 31, the people wanted further direction from him.

Ask students to look in 2 Nephi 32:1 for a question that Nephi’s people had regarding what he had taught them. Invite a few students to express this question in their own words. (Ensure that students understand that the people wondered what they should do after having begun on the path to eternal life.)

As students study 2 Nephi 32 today, encourage them to look for truths Nephi taught his people that can help us know how to receive direction from the Lord.

Invite a student to read 2 Nephi 32:2–3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for Nephi’s answer to the people’s question.

  • What principle about receiving direction from the Lord can we learn from Nephi’s answer in verse 3? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following principle: When we feast on the words of Christ, they will tell us all things that we should do.)

  • What do you think it means to feast on the words of Christ? How is feasting different from snacking?

  • What are some places where we can find the words of Jesus Christ? (Answers might include the scriptures, the words of modern prophets, and inspiration from the Holy Ghost.)

Point out that some people may assume that the Holy Ghost can help them learn only about spiritual things. Consider inviting students to mark the phrase “all things” in verse 3.

  • Why is it important to know that the words of Jesus Christ can tell us all things that we should do? (Make sure students understand that the words of Christ can direct us in temporal as well as spiritual matters.)

Ask several students to take turns reading aloud from 2 Nephi 32:4–7. Invite the class to follow along, looking for additional counsel Nephi gave about receiving direction from God.

  • What do you think it means to “ask” or “knock” (verse 4)? What did Nephi say are the consequences for those who will not ask or knock?

  • According to verse 5, what blessing will we have if we receive the Holy Ghost?

To help students understand the relationship between feasting on the words of Christ and receiving the Holy Ghost, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Spencer J. Condie, who served as a member of the Seventy:

Elder Spencer J. Condie

“You may be facing decisions regarding a mission, your future career, and, eventually, marriage. As you read the scriptures and pray for direction, you may not actually see the answer in the form of printed words on the page, but as you read you will receive distinct impressions, and promptings, and, as promised, the Holy Ghost ‘will show unto you all things what ye should do’ [2 Nephi 32:5]” (Spencer J. Condie, “Becoming a Great Benefit to Our Fellow Beings,” Ensign, May 2002, 45).

Invite students to think of a time when the words of Christ helped give them guidance regarding something they should do. After sufficient time, invite a few students to share their experiences with the class. (Remind students that they should not share experiences that are too sacred or private.) You may also want to share about a time when you were guided by the Holy Ghost, especially if you received that guidance as a result of feasting upon the words of Christ.

handout iconTo help students apply the principle they identified in verse 3, provide each of them with a copy of the following handout. Review the instructions with them and give them time to complete the activity.

Feasting on the Words of Christ

Think about how well you seek the words of Jesus Christ in each of the settings listed below. Next to each item in the list, write feast, snack, or starve. For example, you may feast during your personal scripture study but only snack when you listen to or watch general conference. If you do not pay attention in sacrament meeting, you might write the word starve next to that item.

  1. 1.

    Personal scripture study

  2. 2.

    Sacrament meeting

  3. 3.

    General conference

  4. 4.

    Family scripture study

  5. 5.

    Seminary

  6. 6.

    Family home evening

  7. 7.

    Aaronic Priesthood quorum meeting or Young Women class

  8. 8.

    Personal prayer

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After sufficient time, ask students to choose one of the activities in which they are currently “snacking” or “starving,” and invite them to make goals that will help them “feast upon the words of Christ” more in that setting. Invite them to write this goal in their class notebooks or study journals. (You might encourage them to think about their Duty to God or Personal Progress goals in connection with these goals.)

Testify that as students feast on the words of Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost will help them follow the path to eternal life.

2 Nephi 32:8–9

Nephi counsels us to pray always

Invite students to imagine they have a friend who feels she is unworthy to pray because of a sin she has committed.

  • What could you say to this friend to encourage her to continue to pray?

Invite a student to read 2 Nephi 32:8 aloud. Ask half of the class to look for who encourages us to pray, and ask the other half of the class to look for who discourages us from praying. Ask students to report what they find.

  • Why do you think the Holy Ghost wants us to pray?

  • Why do you think Satan does not want us to pray? In what ways might Satan try to convince people not to pray?

Invite a student to read 2 Nephi 32:9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Nephi encouraged his people to do. Invite students to report what they find. You may want to explain that the word faint means to weaken or give up and that the word consecrate means “to dedicate, to make holy, or to become righteous” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Consecrate, Law of Consecration,” scriptures.lds.org).

  • What principle about prayer can we learn from verse 9? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following principle: If we pray always, God will consecrate our performance for the welfare of our souls. Write this principle on the board.)

  • What do you think it means to “pray always”?

To help students understand what it means to pray always, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994):

President Ezra Taft Benson

We should pray frequently. We should be alone with our Heavenly Father at least two or three times each day—‘morning, mid-day, and evening,’ as the scripture indicates. (Alma 34:21.) In addition, we are told to pray always. (See 2 Ne. 32:9; D&C 88:126.) This means that our hearts should be full, drawn out in prayer unto our Heavenly Father continually. (See Alma 34:27.)” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson [2014], 52).

  • According to this statement, what does it mean to pray always?

  • What do you think it means that the Lord will consecrate our performance for the welfare of our souls? (Help students understand that the Lord will accept our sincere efforts as we pray always, and that the way in which He answers our prayers will be for our benefit.)

Consider asking the following questions to help students feel the truth and importance of the principle they identified in verse 9:

  • What are some ways in which you have tried to follow the commandment to pray always?

  • In what ways do you feel the Lord has blessed you as you have sought to pray always?

Invite students to write in their class notebooks or study journals something they will try to do in the next 24 hours to follow Nephi’s counsel to pray always. After sufficient time, explain to students that they will have an opportunity at the beginning of the next class to share their experiences and ways in which they were blessed by praying always.

Conclude by testifying that the Lord can direct our lives through the Holy Ghost as we feast upon the words of Christ and that He will bless us for our righteous desires and efforts to pray always.

Commentary and Background Information

2 Nephi 32:2. What does it mean to speak with the tongue of angels?

Some might wonder what it means to “speak with the tongue of angels.” President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (1924–2015) taught that speaking with the tongue of angels “simply means that you can speak with the power of the Holy Ghost” (“The Gift of the Holy Ghost: What Every Member Should Know,” Ensign, Aug. 2006, 50).

2 Nephi 32:3. What does it mean to feast on the words of Christ?

President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:

President Russell M. Nelson

“To feast means more than to taste. To feast means to savor. We savor the scriptures by studying them in a spirit of delightful discovery and faithful obedience. When we feast upon the words of Christ, they are embedded ‘in fleshy tables of the heart’ [2 Corinthians 3:3]. They become an integral part of our nature” (Russell M. Nelson, “Living by Scriptural Guidance,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 17).

Elder Robert D. Hales, also of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, counseled:

Elder Robert D. Hales

“If you and I are to feast upon the words of Christ, we must study the scriptures and absorb His words through pondering them and making them a part of every thought and action” (Robert D. Hales, “Healing Soul and Body,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 15).

2 Nephi 32:8. “The evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray”

Sometimes people do not pray when they have sinned, because they feel unworthy to approach Heavenly Father. Elder J. Devn Cornish of the Seventy taught the following:

Elder J. Devn Cornish

“It is as tragic to think we are too sinful to pray as it is for a very sick person to believe he is too sick to go to the doctor!” (J. Devn Cornish, “The Privilege of Prayer,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 103).

Supplemental Teaching Idea

video icon2 Nephi 32:3. Video presentation—“Daily Bread: Pattern”

To help students feel the importance of feasting on the words of Christ daily, you may want to show the video “Daily Bread: Pattern” (2:52). Ask students to look for reasons why we need to feast upon the words of Christ. This video is available on LDS.org.

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