3 Nephi 12: The Sermon at the Temple, Part 1

Book of Mormon Student Study Guide, (2000), 165–166


The Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew 5–7 in the New Testament, might be considered the best single source to find the foundation of Jesus Christ’s teachings during His mortal ministry. It is not surprising that Jesus taught nearly the same sermon to the Nephites when He visited them. Notice how His sermon to the children of Lehi clarifies and gives additional understanding to what we read in the New Testament. That sermon at the temple is recorded in 3 Nephi 12–14. It teaches us what the Savior expects of those who desire to be His disciples.

Understanding the Scriptures

3 Nephi 12

Give heed (v. 1)Obey
Poor in spirit (v. 3)Humble
Meek (v. 5)Humble, patient
Revile (v. 11)Talk abusively about
Savor (v. 13)Flavor, influence
The law or the prophets (v. 17)The law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets in the Old Testament
One jot nor one tittle (v. 18)The smallest letter and mark in the Hebrew alphabet
Raca (v. 22)An insulting name (it refers to a person being empty-headed)
Council (v. 22)Judges
Aught (v. 23)Anything
Be reconciled (v. 24)Make peace
Adversary (v. 25)Enemy
Uttermost senine (v. 26)Full amount (senine is Nephite money)
Lust after (v. 28)Have unclean thoughts about, covet
Take up your cross (v. 30)Do something very difficult to fulfill your discipleship
Fornication (v. 32)Sexual sin
Forswear thyself (v. 33)Break your promise, promise falsely
Swear (vv. 34, 36)Make oaths or promises
Despitefully (v. 44)In a mean or hateful way

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–C) as you study 3 Nephi 12.

Activity A iconHow to Be Blessed

  1. 1.

    Find and underline the word blessed each time it occurs in 3 Nephi 12:1–11. This section of Jesus’s sermon is often called “the Beatitudes,” after the Latin word for “blessed,” meaning “to be fortunate or happy” (see Matthew 5:3, footnote a).

  2. 2.

    In your notebook, make a chart similar to the following example and fill it in with information you learn from 3 Nephi 12:1–12 and from your own thoughts and feelings.

What Jesus Said Would Make Us “Blessed”

The Blessings Jesus Said Will Come

Why a Person Would Be Fortunate or Happy

Giving heed to the words of the twelve disciples Jesus chose (v. 1)

Be baptized with water, fire, and the Holy Ghost (v. 1)

Because baptism is essential for the remission of sins

Activity B iconExplain the Comparisons

In 3 Nephi 12:13–16 Jesus compared His followers to salt and light. Some people might think that He should have said they were like gold if He really wanted them to feel valuable. Discuss this teaching with your parents or teacher and do the following:

  1. 1.

    List all of the reasons you can think of why salt is more useful than gold.

  2. 2.

    Explain why a light is an appropriate symbol for a true disciple of Jesus Christ.

Activity C iconThe True Meaning of the Law

Ten Commandments and Christ

Jesus told the Nephites He did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it (see 3 Nephi 12:17). One of the ways He did that was to help people understand the full meaning of the laws and commandments He had previously given to the children of Israel. The following are a list of laws He helped them to better understand in 3 Nephi 12:20–48. For each, explain the full meaning of the law in Christ’s gospel, as He outlined it in this chapter.

  1. 1.

    “Thou shalt not kill” (v. 21).

  2. 2.

    “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (v. 27).

  3. 3.

    “Thou shalt not forswear thyself” (v. 33).

  4. 4.

    “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” (v. 38).

  5. 5.

    “Love thy neighbor” (v. 43).