Doctrine and Covenants 6: The Witness of the Spirit

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide, (2005), 20–21

How does God answer our prayers? InDoctrine and Covenants 6, Oliver Cowdery was told how his prayers had been answered. Understanding what the Lord told Oliver can help you recognize answers to your prayers. It is wonderful to feel the kind of peace that Oliver felt when he prayed about the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Understanding the Scriptures

Doctrine and Covenants 6

Asunder(v. 2)Into parts 
Sickle(vv. 3–4)A curved knife for harvesting grain 
Generation(vv. 8–9)The people of this time or age 
Trifle not with(v. 12)Do not treat lightly or carelessly 
Enlighten, enlightened(v. 15)Communicate, taught 
Admonish(v. 19)Correct, chastise 
Touching one thing(v. 32)In agreement, unified 

Doctrine and Covenants 6—Who Was Oliver Cowdery?

For information on Oliver Cowdery, “People and Terms in the Doctrine and Covenants” (pp. 231–32).


Doctrine and Covenants 6:2—The Power of the Word

The Lord used some impressive images to describe the power of His word. The idea that God’s word is powerful is easy to understand because by His word everything from the heavens to the human heart is moved. The wordquickhere does not mean swift; it means “living,” or “alive” ( Bible Dictionary,“quick,” p. 756). The phrase “sharper than a two-edged sword, to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow” graphically describes how God’s word can cut through to the very heart of a person ( also1 Nephi 16:1–2).

Doctrine and Covenants 6:6—“The Cause of Zion”

The wordZionis used in several different ways in the Doctrine and Covenants ( “People and Terms in the Doctrine and Covenants,” p. 233). In each way, however, it refers to the Lord’s efforts to raise up a people to live with Him in righteousness. To “k to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion” is to promote the spread of the gospel and increase the righteousness of the Saints.

Doctrine and Covenants 6:10–11—What Gift Was Oliver Cowdery Given?

The gift that the Lord gave Oliver Cowdery was the spirit of revelation (D&C 8:3–4). President Joseph Fielding Smith taught that it “was to be a protection to him, if he would need it, and it would deliver him out of the hands of his enemies, and protect him from the destroyer” (Church History and Modern Revelation,1:52).

Doctrine and Covenants 6:14–24—What Witness Had Oliver Cowdery Received?

The Prophet Joseph Smith recorded: “After we had received this revelation, Oliver Cowdery stated to me that after he had gone to my father’s to board, and after the family had communicated to him concerning my having obtained the plates, that one night after he had retired to bed he called upon the Lord to know if these things were so, and the Lord manifested to him that they were true, but he had kept the circumstance entirely secret, and had mentioned it to no one; so that after this revelation was given, he knew that the work was true, because no being living knew of the thing alluded to in the revelation, but God and himself” (History of the Church,1:35).

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–C) as you studyDoctrine and Covenants 6.

Activity A iconMake a Comparison

InDoctrine and Covenants 6, the Lord used images, or symbols, to teach important truths. Copy the following phrases into your notebook, and then finish them with what you learn in verses 1–5:

  1. 1.

    The gospel message is like a sword because …

  2. 2.

    A mission is like farm work because …

  3. 3.

    Prayer is like knocking on a door because …

Activity B iconHow to Be Rich and Happy

  1. 1.

    CompareDoctrine and Covenants 6:7, 13to what Nephi learned in1 Nephi 11:21–23. Explain what you learn about how to be rich and happy.

  2. 2.

    How is what those scriptures teach about being rich and happy different from what the world thinks will make us rich and happy?

  3. 3.

    Why do you think worldly riches cannot bring the kind of joy the Lord offers us?

  4. 4.

    In a sentence or two, explain what the gift of salvation and eternal life is worth to you.

Activity C iconUnderstanding How Revelation Comes

  1. 1.

    From your reading ofDoctrine and Covenants 6:14–24, explain how Oliver Cowdery knew that Joseph Smith truly was called of God ( also the “Understanding the Scriptures” section, if needed).

  2. 2.

    Choose two verses fromDoctrine and Covenants 6:14–24that impressed you and describe how you can apply those verses to receiving revelation in your own life.