Nephi concluded his record by declaring that his written words testify of Jesus Christ and persuade people to do good and endure to the end. He said that although he wrote “in weakness,” his message was “of great worth” and his words would “be made strong” for those who would read them (see 2 Nephi 33:3–4). He testified that his writings were “the words of Christ” and that people would be accountable to God for their response to them (see 2 Nephi 33:10–15).
In the previous lesson, you were invited to try to “pray always” for 24 hours. In your scripture study journal, write your thoughts and feelings about your experience.
Nephi explains his purposes for writing
Think for a moment of reasons why you may want the Holy Ghost to bring a message into your heart.
What is the difference between a message going unto someone’s heart and a message going into someone’s heart?
Read 2 Nephi 33:1, and look for which word—unto or into—Nephi used to describe where the Holy Ghost carries messages to us. You may want to mark what you find.
Why do you think it is significant that the Holy Ghost carries the truth unto our hearts but not into our hearts? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles made the following statement about 2 Nephi 33:1: “Please notice how the power of the Spirit carries the message unto but not necessarily into the heart. A teacher can explain, demonstrate, persuade, and testify, and do so with great spiritual power and effectiveness. Ultimately, however, the content of a message and the witness of the Holy Ghost penetrate into the heart only if a receiver allows them to enter. Learning by faith opens the pathway into the heart” (“Seek Learning by Faith,” Ensign, Sept. 2007, 61).
Elder Gerald N. Lund, who was then serving as a member of the Seventy, explained why the Holy Ghost will carry the word unto, but not into, our hearts: “Why just unto the heart? Individual agency is so sacred that Heavenly Father will never force the human heart, even with all His infinite power. Man may try to do so, but God does not. To put it another way, God allows us to be the guardians, or the gatekeepers, of our own hearts. We must, of our own free will, open our hearts to the Spirit, for He will not force Himself upon us” (“Opening Our Hearts,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2008, 33).
What do you think people need to do to open their hearts to the Spirit? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
Read 2 Nephi 33:2, and identify what happens when people choose to harden their hearts. It may be helpful to know that the phrase “things of naught” means “worthless.”
Write in your scripture study journal what behaviors and attitudes you think someone with an open heart would demonstrate during personal scripture study, during home-study seminary, and during sacrament meeting.
In 2 Nephi 33:1–2 we are taught this principle: When we open our hearts, messages from the Holy Ghost can enter our hearts. You may want to write this principle in your scriptures.
Write in your scripture study journal answers to the following questions:
When have you felt that a gospel message has entered your heart? What were the circumstances, and what were the results?
What does this tell you about your heart at that time?
Read 2 Nephi 33:3–7, looking for Nephi’s hopes for those who would read his words. Then complete the following sentences, using your own words or the words of Nephi. Be aware that a few of the phrases might have more than one answer:
2 Nephi 33:3—I pray continually for ____________________________________________________________________________________________________.
2 Nephi 33:4—I know ____________________________________________________________________________________________________.
2 Nephi 33:6—I glory ____________________________________________________________________________________________________.
2 Nephi 33:7—I have ____________________________________________________________________________________________________.
As you finish studying 2 Nephi 33, keep in mind that these verses are Nephi’s final testimony recorded in scripture. Read 2 Nephi 33:10–14, and imagine you are hearing these words from Nephi himself. You might underline phrases that are meaningful to you.
Read 2 Nephi 33:15, and ponder Nephi’s final words: “I must obey.” You may want to write “1 Nephi 3:7” as a cross-reference in your scriptures next to 2 Nephi 33:15. Review 1 Nephi 3:7, and identify how these two verses are related.
Spend a few minutes reviewing 1 Nephi and 2 Nephi, identifying examples of Nephi’s obedience. In your scripture study journal, write some of the examples you find. Also look for a favorite or meaningful passage that has persuaded you to do good, to be better, or to believe in the Savior, as Nephi said (see 2 Nephi 33:1). Write this passage in your scripture study journal.
Nephi’s final testimony and his warning to those who might reject his words add to our accountability for how we treat the Book of Mormon. President Joseph Fielding Smith taught that, as members of the Church, we have a responsibility to study the Book of Mormon:
“It seems to me that any member of this Church would never be satisfied until he or she had read the Book of Mormon time and time again, and thoroughly considered it so that he or she could bear witness that it is in very deed a record with the inspiration of the Almighty upon it, and that its history is true. …
“… No member of this Church can stand approved in the presence of God who has not seriously and carefully read the Book of Mormon” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1961, 18).
You have the opportunity to decide how you will treat Nephi’s words and the Book of Mormon.
Evaluate your efforts to study the Book of Mormon, and write in your scripture study journal one way you could improve your study.
To conclude this lesson, read President Gordon B. Hinckley’s promise to all those who diligently study the Book of Mormon: “Regardless of how many times you previously may have read the Book of Mormon, there will come into your lives and into your homes an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God” (“A Testimony Vibrant and True,” Ensign, Aug. 2005, 6).
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 2 Nephi 33 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher:
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