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God in 1 Nephi 6

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 are taken).  

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 on!

God in 1 Nephi 6 By the Numbers

6 verses

God is mentioned by name:  3 verses = 50%

Verses about God:  3 verses = 50%

God:  2

The God of Abraham: 1

The God of Isaac: 1

The God of Jacob: 1

1 Nephi 5 1 Nephi 7