3 Nephi 18: The Savior Introduces the Sacrament

Book of Mormon Student Study Guide, (2000), 169–170

To be in the presence of Jesus Christ was a wonderful and spiritual experience for the people in the land Bountiful. It is easy to understand why they did not want Him to go (see 3 Nephi 17:5). Before He left them, however, He taught them how they could always have His Spirit to be with them. What the Savior taught in 3 Nephi 18 about receiving His Spirit applies as much to us today as it did to the people in the Book of Mormon.

Understanding the Scriptures

3 Nephi 18

Doth witness (vv. 10–11)Testifies in a specific way
Lest (vv. 15, 18)For fear that
Sift you as wheat (v. 18)Have you in his power
Partake of my flesh and blood (vv. 28–30)Partake of the sacrament
Minister (vv. 28, 30, 32)Serve, bless
Damnation (v. 29)Stopping of spiritual progression
Full purpose of heart (v. 32)A personal resolve to be obedient
Condemnation (v. 33)Punishment

3 Nephi 18:6–14—The Blessings of the Sacrament

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught: “Every ordinance of the gospel focuses in one way or another on the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, and surely that is why this particular ordinance with all its symbolism and imagery comes to us more readily and more repeatedly than any other in our life. It comes in what has been called ‘the most sacred, the most holy, of all the meetings of the Church’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954–56], 2:340)” (in Conference Report, Sept.–Oct. 1995, 88–89; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 67–68).

Elder Melvin J. Ballard, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said:

“Who is there among us that does not wound his spirit by word, thought, or deed, from Sabbath to Sabbath? We do things for which we are sorry and desire to be forgiven. … If there is a feeling in our souls that we would like to be forgiven, then the method to obtain forgiveness is not through rebaptism; … but it is to repent of our sins, to go to those against whom we have sinned or transgressed and obtain their forgiveness and then repair to the sacrament table where, if we have sincerely repented and put ourselves in proper condition, we shall be forgiven, and spiritual healing will come to our souls. …

“I am a witness that there is a spirit attending the administration of the sacrament that warms the soul from head to foot; you feel the wounds of the spirit being healed, and the load being lifted. Comfort and happiness come to the soul that is worthy and truly desirous of partaking of this spiritual food” (Melvin J. Ballard: Crusader for Righteousness [1966], 132–33).

deacon passing the sacrament

3 Nephi 18:28–29—When Are We Worthy to Partake of the Sacrament?

Elder John H. Groberg, a member of the Seventy, taught: “If we desire to improve (which is to repent) and are not under priesthood restriction, then, in my opinion, we are worthy. If, however, we have no desire to improve, if we have no intention of following the guidance of the Spirit, we must ask: Are we worthy to partake, or are we making a mockery of the very purpose of the sacrament?” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 50; or Ensign, May 1989, 38).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A and activity B or C as you study 3 Nephi 18.

Activity A iconDeepen Your Understanding

  1. 1.

    Write five important truths we can learn about the sacrament from what Jesus taught in 3 Nephi 18:1–14, 28–32.

  2. 2.

    Compare what Jesus said about the sacrament in 3 Nephi 18:12–13 to what He said about baptism in 3 Nephi 11:38–40. What does that reveal about the importance of the sacrament?

  3. 3.

    Having read 3 Nephi 18:1–14, 28–32 and the quotations about the sacrament from the “Understanding the Scriptures” section, write a plan for what you intend to do to make the sacrament a more meaningful part of your life.

Activity B iconWhat Is the Question?

Write five questions about prayer that could be answered from 3 Nephi 18:15–23. After each question, write your answer, along with the verse the answer came from.

Activity C iconHow Is It Done?

In 3 Nephi 12:14–16, Jesus told His followers they were to be the “light of this people” and to let their light shine before others. That principle applies equally to us today. According to 3 Nephi 18:22–25, what is the light we are to hold up? How do we hold up this light?