Alma 33: The Words They Should Plant

Book of Mormon Student Study Guide, (2000), 122–123


In Alma 32, Alma taught the Zoramites about the process of growing in spiritual faith and knowledge. He encouraged them to plant gospel truths in their hearts through the word of God and explained how that little seed of the word of God could grow into a mighty tree of light, joy, and everlasting life. In Alma 33 we read of the specific gospel truths he wanted them to “plant” at that time. Notice how Alma’s teachings specifically answered the questions and problems he saw among the Zoramites in Alma 31–32.

Understanding the Scriptures

Alma 33

Greatly err (v. 2)Make a big mistake
Bestowed (v. 16)Given, imparted
Type (v. 19)Symbol, likeness
Casting about your eyes (v. 21)Looking around
Slothful (v. 21)Lazy

Alma 33:3–17—Zenos and Zenock

See the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for 1 Nephi 19:10 (p. 30).

Alma 33:18–22—Why Did Moses Raise a Serpent on a Pole?

Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught: “Moses, in the wilderness, when the Lord sent ‘fiery serpents’ among them, so that many people in Israel were bitten and died, made a serpent of brass and put it upon a pole. Then all who were bitten by the poisonous creeping things and who looked, in faith, upon the brazen serpent, lived; the others died. Why? Because Moses was commanded of God so to do, and the thing was an ordinance in Israel—an ordinance performed in similitude of the fact that the Promised Messiah would be lifted up upon the cross, and all who looked to him in faith would live: the others would die” (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. [1979–81], 1:476–77).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A or B as you study Alma 33.

Activity A iconThe Lord’s Solutions

  1. 1.

    In Alma 31:8–23 and 32:2–5 we read of the problems of the Zoramites and of the ways many of them had gone astray. Identify at least two of their problems and false teachings, and then summarize what Alma taught in Alma 33 that provided answers or solutions to each of those you listed.

  2. 2.

    Why was it important for Alma to teach the Zoramites about experimenting on the word of God (in Alma 32) before advising them on ways they could solve their problems (in Alma 33)?

Activity B iconSerpent on a Pole

  1. 1.

    Read Numbers 21:4–9 and Alma 33:18–22 and explain how the brass serpent on the pole was a type (symbol) of Jesus Christ (see the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for Alma 33:18–22 for help, if needed).

  2. 2.

    How can looking or turning to Christ help you in your life?