First Nephi chapter 6 is an interlude between the historical portions of the Book
of Mormon, in which the writer, Nephi, emphasizes that his history is not complete.
There's always more to write, but the important thing, in his mind, is to write
the things of God, the things that are pleasing to God, and the things that will
bring his readers to the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob [the
God of the Bible] and be saved. This chapter explicitly states that our tour through
the Book of Mormon is focused on what was important to the original writers, also,
so there is much to discover.
God • God of Abraham
God of Isaac • God of Jacob
1 Nephi 6:3
I write the things of God
The Book of Mormon teaches that
the most important journaling will detail God’s influence in our lives.
And it mattereth not to me that I am particular
to give a full account of all the things of my father,
for they cannot be written upon these plates,
for I desire the room that I may write of the things of God.
This is rather an intriguing verse from a historical perspective. When we think
of the things of Lehi that are not written, we probably think of his visions and
revelations, as Nephi mentioned in 1 Nephi 1:16. We would like to read the Book
of Lehi, but it obviously isn’t important for our day. Yet here, in verse 3, Nephi
contrasts the things of his father with the things of God. So there must have been
much more to write about Lehi. He was actually the founder, though we think of Nephi,
because we know what he did.
Nephi was inspired to write the small plates, and knew he did not know why. He
had no idea that his father’s writings would be abridged by Mormon for the benefit
of the latter-day Gentiles and Lost Tribes, but would subsequently be lost. His
father’s record was solid and substantial, and he did not imagine a future without
it (as people generally consider their fathers a permanent part of life, until they
At any rate, Nephi wants to write the things of God, and I would say his books, and
the whole Book of Mormon, deliver on that point!
1 Nephi 6:4
Come unto the God of Abraham
The Book of Mormon invites all to come unto
the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or the God of the Bible.
For the fulness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto
the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,
and be saved.
Nephi calls the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob
just after he has read the Brass Plates. And here is another thesis statement: “The
fullness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham
and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob and be saved.”
Previously (1 Nephi 1:20) he had said he intended to show his readers that God could
deliver them. As he details how God delivers, both in the previous story and in
his Book of Mormon writings to come, he is proving that God is able to save. Because
God is able to save in all of these circumstances, He is able to save each reader
in their circumstances. Each reader needs salvation from his own sins, if nothing
else. Nephi wants to persuade you of how trustworthy and powerful God is, so that
you will be encouraged to turn to Him and be saved.
1 Nephi 6:5
Things which are pleasing unto God
The Book of Mormon encourages people to enjoy reading the things of God.
Wherefore, the things which are pleasing unto the world I do not write,
but the things which are pleasing unto God
and unto those who are not of the world.
Nephi specifies three groups of potential readers: the world, God, and those not
of the world. Only the latter two groups will appreciate his words.
This may be a clue as to the book’s reception. Latter-day Saints joyfully embrace
and believe it. They are excited about evidences of its truthfulness, or of its
ancient origins. They delve through archaeology, hoping to locate something definitive
in the New World, gratified to find correlations in the Old World. They compile
meticulous word studies, and present “incontrovertible evidence” that neither rural
Joseph Smith nor any other 19th century person could have written it. They yearn
for that big discovery, which will force all readers to acknowledge the truth of
the record. They reverence it as a miracle provided by God. But more than anything,
they testify of the Spirit’s witness to them of its truthfulness, and the power that
it has in their lives to bring them closer to God.
On the other hand, those outside the Church are adamant in their disbelief of its
ancient origin, because if it really is a translation of an ancient document, then
it must be of divine origin. And if that is the case, God was involved with it through
the ages, and He has some expectation for readers today, placing them under an obligation
that they reject.
Nephi’s ambition is to write what is pleasing to God. We may combine this with
his other stated purposes thus far: to show his readers the power of God’s deliverance,
and to bring people unto God. Because God’s work and glory is to bring to pass the
immortality and eternal life of man, we may be confident that God is indeed pleased
when Nephi works and writes to bring people unto Him.
What did you read or what will you read today? Is it pleasing to the world? Is
it pleasing to God? Do you enjoy reading the things that are pleasing to God?
1 Nephi 6 of the Book of Mormon is a reassurance that this particular study of the
Book of Mormon – finding God in the Book of Mormon – is exactly on target. Carry