Understanding the Scriptures
|Multiply thee exceedingly (v. 2)||Give you many descendants|
|Exceedingly fruitful (v. 6)||Many descendants|
|Make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee (v. 6)||Nations and kings will be some of your descendants|
|Betwixt (v. 11)||Between|
|Bear (v. 17)||Have a child|
|Left off (v. 22)||Quit|
The token or sign of the covenant God made with Abraham was circumcision. Circumcision symbolized cleanliness before God and was also a symbolic reminder of the promises the Lord made to Abraham regarding his posterity. You may read more about circumcision in your Bible Dictionary (p. 646). Circumcision is not required today.
Studying the Scriptures
Do activities A–C as you study Genesis 17.
Identify the Elements of the Covenant
A covenant is an agreement between two parties where both parties promise to do certain things. In a gospel covenant, God always sets the terms, or what must be done and received as part of the covenant, and man agrees to obey those terms.
What did the Lord ask Abraham to do in receiving this covenant? (see vv. 1, 10).
What did the Lord promise Abraham? (see vv. 2–8, 15–19). Make sure you read all of the Joseph Smith Translation references for these verses in your footnotes or in the appendix in your Bible, and include them as part of the list.
Organize the Elements
The Abrahamic Covenant
Priesthood and gospel
There are four basic categories of blessings in the Abrahamic covenant: land, posterity, priesthood and gospel, and salvation. Take the list you made in activity A and organize the promises by category. If you feel a blessing applies to more than one category, list it under all applicable categories.
What’s in a Name?
Notice that Abraham’s and Sarah’s names were changed as part of the covenant (see Genesis 17:4–8, 15–16).
How would you feel receiving a name like the one Sarah received? Why? (see footnote 15a).
In what way was Sarah’s name an additional testimony of the promises of God? Whom is she a princess to, and what does that teach us about what she can become?
Because members of the Church are the children of Abraham and Sarah, what can we learn about ourselves from the names God gave to this great couple?
What is the new name we receive when we are baptized and partake of the sacrament? What do you think is the significance of taking that name upon us?
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