Mosiah 13-14: Abinadi Challenges the Wicked Priests

Book of Mormon Student Study Guide, (2000), 82–83


When the Lord gives us an assignment, He also gives us the power to complete it (see 1 Nephi 3:7). Abinadi’s assignment was to call King Noah and his people to repentance. In Mosiah 13–14 you will read about the miraculous way the Lord helped Abinadi fulfill that assignment. As you read his bold testimony, imagine Abinadi teaching these things to powerful political leaders today. How do you feel they might treat him?In Mosiah 14 we read that Abinadi quoted Isaiah 53, which describes the price Christ would pay for our sins and how unappreciative people would be for this gift. Why do you think Abinadi chose that chapter to quote to those wicked priests?

Understanding the Scriptures

Mosiah 13

Mad (vv. 1, 4)Insane
Durst (v. 5)Dared
Hallowed (v. 19)Made holy or sacred
Covet (v. 24)Have an excessive or selfish desire
Expedient (vv. 27, 29)Necessary, essential
Law of performances (v. 30)The rituals and ordinances of the law of Moses

Mosiah 13:10—“A Type and a Shadow of Things Which Are to Come”

Types and shadows are symbols and reminders that teach and testify of greater truths (see the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for Mosiah 3:15, p. 75). Abinadi warned King Noah and his priests that whatever they chose to do to him would be a “type” or symbol of what would happen to them and to others. You will read about the fulfillment of this prophecy later in Mosiah 19 and Alma 25.

Abinadi before King Noah

Mosiah 13:27–28—“Salvation Doth Not Come by the Law Alone”

In Mosiah 13:27–28, Abinadi corrected a false idea expressed by King Noah’s priests (see Mosiah 12:31–32). He taught that obedience to the law of Moses alone could not bring them salvation. They all had need of the Savior to atone (pay the price) for their sins or “they must unavoidably perish, notwithstanding the law of Moses.”

Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, applied that same lesson to our day:

“Now let us suppose a modern case. Suppose we have the scriptures, the gospel, the priesthood, the Church, the ordinances, the organization, even the keys of the kingdom—everything that now is, down to the last jot and tittle—and yet there is no atonement of Christ. What then? Can we be saved? Will all our good works save us? Will we be rewarded for all our righteousness?

“Most assuredly we will not. We are not saved by works alone, no matter how good; we are saved because God sent his Son to shed his blood in Gethsemane and on Calvary that all through him might ransomed be. We are saved by the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28; 1 Cor. 6:20).

“To paraphrase Abinadi: ‘Salvation doth not come by the Church alone; and were it not for the atonement, given by the grace of God as a free gift, all men must unavoidably perish, and this notwithstanding the Church and all that appertains to it’” (Doctrines of the Restoration: Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie, ed. Mark L. McConkie [1989], 76).

Mosiah 14

Form nor comeliness (v. 2)Unusual beauty or attractiveness
Esteemed (v. 3)Valued, respected
The chastisement of our peace (v. 5)The punishment that Christ suffered that gives us peace
Stripes (v. 5)Injuries from being beaten or whipped; His suffering and pain
Prolong (v. 10)Lengthen
Travail (v. 11)Suffering, pain
Made intercession for (v. 12)Defended, pleaded in behalf of

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and C and activity B or D as you study Mosiah 13–14.

Activity A iconWrite a Letter

Imagine that you were a servant in King Noah’s court and were there when Abinadi was brought in to be judged. From what you learned in Mosiah 12:17–14:12, write in your notebook a letter to a friend, describing what happened. Be sure to include a summary of what Abinadi said and the prophecies he made. Describe also how the king and his priests responded and any unusual things that happened. Conclude with your impressions of the prophet Abinadi. This could be the outline for a future sacrament meeting talk.

Activity B iconThe Ten Commandments Today

In Mosiah 12:34–13:24, Abinadi recited for King Noah and his priests the Ten Commandments.

  1. 1.

    Find and mark each of the Ten Commandments in your scriptures (compare Exodus 20:3–17 for additional help).

  2. 2.

    Choose any three of the commandments and, for each one, write a paragraph describing how your neighborhood or community would change if everyone believed and lived that commandment.

Activity C iconAnalyze Abinadi’s Answer

Abinadi asked the wicked priests if a person could be saved by living the law of Moses (see Mosiah 12:31–32). They answered that a person could be saved by living that law. Abinadi then explained why that answer was not completely true (see Mosiah 12:33–13:26). He agreed that keeping God’s commandments, including the Ten Commandments Moses received, was necessary but not sufficient. Then he taught a very important lesson. Study Mosiah 13:27–35 and answer the following questions:

  1. 1.

    What did Abinadi say would happen with the law of Moses in the future?

  2. 2.

    What was the purpose of the law of Moses? (see vv. 29–30).

  3. 3.

    What was the Lord trying to teach them through the ordinances and sacrifices of the law of Moses? (see vv. 31–35).

  4. 4.

    Why was the law by itself not enough to save anyone? (see also Romans 3:20, 23; 2 Nephi 2:5–7).

  5. 5.

    How does Abinadi’s explanation of the place of the law of Moses also apply to the laws and ordinances of the gospel in our day? (see the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for Mosiah 13:27–28).

Activity D iconMatch the Phrase to the Verse

To support his teaching about the need for a Savior, Abinadi quoted some of the prophet Isaiah’s teachings about Jesus Christ.

Read Mosiah 14, and then copy the following sentences into your notebook. After each one, write the number of the verse in which that truth is found.

Christ
  1. 1.

    He died with the wicked even though He had done nothing wrong.

  2. 2.

    He suffered for our sins and His punishment brought us peace.

  3. 3.

    Most people rejected Him, which brought Him much sorrow.

  4. 4.

    He did not try to defend Himself or save His own life.

  5. 5.

    Jesus Christ is a righteous servant who, because of His Atonement, will save many people.