By studying the book of Jacob, you can learn important lessons from a man who had unshakable faith in Jesus Christ. Jacob repeatedly testified of the Savior and invited his people and those who would read his words to repent. He taught and demonstrated the importance of diligently fulfilling callings from the Lord. He warned his people against the dangers of pride, riches, and immorality. Jacob also quoted and commented on Zenos’s allegory of the olive trees, which illustrates the Savior’s tireless efforts to bring about the salvation of all God’s children. In his encounter with Sherem, an anti-Christ, Jacob demonstrated how to righteously respond to those who question or criticize our faith.
Jacob, the fifth son of Sariah and Lehi, wrote this book. He was born in the wilderness during his family’s journey to the promised land. In his youth, Jacob “suffered afflictions and much sorrow, because of the rudeness of [his] brethren” (2 Nephi 2:1). However, Lehi promised him that God would “consecrate [Jacob’s] afflictions for [his] gain” and that he would spend his days “in the service of [his] God” (2 Nephi 2:2–3). In his youth, Jacob beheld the Savior’s glory (see 2 Nephi 2:3–4). Nephi consecrated Jacob to be a priest and teacher of the Nephites (see 2 Nephi 5:26) and later entrusted him with the small plates of Nephi (see Jacob 1:1–4). As a faithful priesthood leader and teacher, Jacob labored diligently to persuade his people to believe in Christ (see Jacob 1:7). He received revelations concerning the Savior, experienced the ministering of angels and heard the voice of the Lord (see Jacob 7:5), and saw his Redeemer (see 2 Nephi 11:2–3). Jacob was the father of Enos, to whom he entrusted the plates before his death.
The book of Jacob begins in approximately 544 B.C., when Nephi entrusted Jacob with the small plates. It concludes near the end of Jacob’s life, when he passed the plates to his son, Enos. Jacob wrote this record while living in the land of Nephi.