They Are Plain unto All Those Who Are Filled with the Spirit of Prophecy – 2 Nephi 25:4

4 Wherefore, hearken, O my people, which are of the house of Israel, and give ear unto my words; for because the words of Isaiah are not plain unto you, nevertheless they are plain unto all those that are filled with the spirit of prophecy. But I give unto you a prophecy, according to the spirit which is in me; wherefore I shall prophesy according to the plainness which hath been with me from the time that I came out from Jerusalem with my father; for behold, my soul delighteth in plainness unto my people, that they may learn.
(2 Nephi 25:4)

After quoting thirteen chapters of Isaiah, Nephi comments on his people’s negative reaction to those words. He explains to us that many of his people didn’t understand Isaiah because they weren’t familiar with “the manner of prophecying of the Jews” (2 Nephi 25:1-2). But then, in the passage above, he explains another reason that many people don’t understand Isaiah: because they don’t have “the spirit of prophecy.”

As Joseph Smith learned in 1831, true gospel learning requires both an inspired teacher and an inspired student. (See D&C 50:17-22.) One of the roles of the Holy Ghost is to help us understand the truths we learn from other people, including through the scriptures. Therefore, if we have the Spirit with us as we read, the words of the scriptures will be “plain” to us as Nephi says in the passage above.

Furthermore, as Elder Dallin H. Oaks has taught, studying the scriptures with a proper attitude can help us to receive the Holy Ghost:

The idea that scripture reading can lead to inspiration and revelation opens the door to the truth that a scripture is not limited to what it meant when it was written but may also include what that scripture means to a reader today. Even more, scripture reading may also lead to current revelation on whatever else the Lord wishes to communicate to the reader at that time. We do not overstate the point when we say that the scriptures can be a Urim and Thummim to assist each of us to receive personal revelation.
Because we believe that scripture reading can help us receive revelation, we are encouraged to read the scriptures again and again. By this means, we obtain access to what our Heavenly Father would have us know and do in our personal lives today. That is one reason Latter-day Saints believe in daily scripture study.
Similarly, what a scripture in the Book of Mormon meant to me when I first read it at age sixteen is not conclusive upon me as I read it at age sixty. With the benefit of my life’s experiences and with my greater familiarity with revelation, I can learn things that were not available to me yesterday by reading the scriptures today (“Scripture Reading and Revelation,” Ensign, January 1995)

Today, I will seek to be receptive to the influence of the Holy Ghost as I study the scriptures. I will remember that the Holy Ghost will help me to better understand the meaning of the scriptures, and that I can also receive personalized inspiration as I study.

10 thoughts on “They Are Plain unto All Those Who Are Filled with the Spirit of Prophecy – 2 Nephi 25:4

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  1. In 2 Nephi 31:12, the Lord tells Nephi to tell us that he will give us the Holy Ghost “like unto” Jesus. 2 Nephi 28 starts out talking specifically about the Bible, but Nephi’s view of the scriptures is referenced in 1 Nephi 3:20, all that has been received by the spirit. This helps to see his transition from talking specifically about scriptures (i.e., the Bible) to that which is communicated by the Holy Ghost in general from moment to moment. When the Jews claimed their “authority” was valid because it was based on their knowledge of the Old Testament prophets, he said that they were “as salt that had lost it’s savor” because they were wrapped in the intellectual interpretation of the letter of the law, meaning they failed to begin to understand “prophets” because they lacked the spirit to understand the true meaning which is not as much about specifics, as it is about what the spirit is saying to us right now. When reading in the Teaciings of the Presidents of the Church about how powerfully and fully Joseph Smith had the spirit, and spoke by the spirit, we can gain some insight into how powerfully we could have the spirit of revelation if we choose the path that leads to it, which is personal improvement according to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Jesus performed every miracle, and did all that he did according to the direction of that same spirit that told Nephi how to build a ship that would carry them across of the Indian and Pacific Oceans to the New World. Jesus created the universe by the power of the Holy Ghost, and to say that we can have the Holy Ghost like Jesus did is a very powerful statement, and suggests that we are wandering around in the dark, because we could have the spirit that abundantly if we were doing what leads to having the spirit. In John 7:38-39, Jesus says that those who “believe” have rivers of living water flowing from their bellies. The word that is translated as “believe” includes the idea of obedience. It is not enough to say we believe in forgiving others if what we mean is that others should forgive us. We have to also “believe” that we must forgive seventy times seven, and when we sincerely and gladly do, the Lord forgives us and gives us his spirit. The miracle of it and the testimony of the atoning power of Jesus Christ is a reason for gratitude and rejoicing. We can have the spirit like Jesus did. Isn’t that amazing and wonderful? And by that spirit, we can understand the words of Isaiah, the words of Jesus Christ, the words of Nephi, and of every prophet. What do we hear, a voice of gladness. The Lord is God. Praise him!


    1. Thank you for sharing those thoughts. It is true principle that both the teacher and the learner must be receptive to the Spirit of the Lord in order for true spiritual teaching to occur (D&C 50:17-22). You can read the words of the prophets all day long and not understand them unless you learn to connect with God as the authors did when they wrote. I appreciate your thoughts on the subject. Thanks!


      1. Also, when Nephi says that the rod of iron in Lehi’s vision is the word of God, that has been misinterpreted by those who don’t have the spirit of revelation to mean just reading the scriptures. They think a private intellectual understanding of what they read is “right” just because it appears in the standard works. See 2 Peter 1 ( last two verses). In 2 Nephi. 32:3, Nephi says that that spoken by the spirit are the words of Christ. This means the the rod of iron is what is being communicated to us right now by the spirit. That is what he means by the word of God. The way to receive the fruit of the spirit (the fruit of the tree of life) which is joy, peace, gratitude, patience, love, and true self worth so that we truly rejoice regardless of our outward circumstances is to hold to what the spirit is telling us in the moment, that is the commandments of the Lord, what the Lord would say to us if he were standing here in person. I listen to people talk about how many choices there are in what to do, and how many ways there are to do “good” and it is confusing to those who don’t understand that the only choice that is before us is whether to do what the spirit is telling us to do right now, or not.
        The most wonderful thing about all this is that if we just do what the spirit is telling us every moment, then we never regret anything again. We need never worry that we might be to blame for this or that if we know we did what the spirit said. Lehi said that as many as heeded the finger pointers fell away. Faith is believing what the spirit says, and that having the spirit is the Lord’s approval. What it means to love the Lord and have no other gods before us is to obey the spirit first, before anything else. When we do, we rejoice all the day long.
        The opening statement of John is that Jesus is “the Word”. He is the personification of revelation. John was trying to convey how powerfully Jesus always spoke by the spirit and that the word of the Lord is that communicated by the spirit.


        1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’m also grateful for the multiple ways that our Heavenly Father communicates with us, including by direct revelation through the Holy Ghost.


          1. That is true. I have read some great books from which I have gleaned great insights that have helped me because the books are written by people who have had different experiences, and much more experience with some things. Most of the time, the spirit told me to read the book, but it was a leap of faith because, in some cases, there did not seem to be any reason to read the book. For example, Discipline Without Stress Punishment or Reward by Marvin Marshall is about disciplining children in the classroom, but it helped me to discipline myself better because of how I was inspired to apply it. Of course, if you were to ask someone, they would say I don’t appear to be more disciplined outwardly but my reply is John 3:8.

            On Saturday, November 24, 2018, Book of Mormon Study Notes wrote:

            > Paul Anderson commented: “Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’m also > grateful for the multiple ways that our Heavenly Father communicates with > us, including by direct revelation through the Holy Ghost. ” >


          2. Great insight! It’s amazing what happens when we turn our lives over to the Lord. His ways are higher than our ways, so we can’t predict what will happen when we follow Him. I love John 3:8, and I interpret it the same way you do: we can hear the sound of the wind (the voice of the Spirit), but we can’t tell where it comes from or where it goes. We have faith that God is leading us where we need to go. Thanks for your comment!


          3. I have always appreciated the truth of the passage in D&C 121 about unrighteous dominion, but this morning I awakened with amazement at how universal and ubiquitous the vain ambition and quest for honors is, how accepted it is, how blinded by pride everyone is to the point that they don’t see that is what they are doing, and even truly believe it is righteous, that haughtiness is correct and true. Everyone reads the New Testament and when they read the passage where Jesus says let him who is without sin cast the first stone, they think they agree with that, but they go around endlessly punishing others, and when they read the passage at the end of Luke 7 where Jesus says him of whom much is forgiven loveth much, they think they totally agree with that, but they scour everyone else with a microscope looking for some fault to point their fingers at in order to claim superiority and qualification to judge, condemn, and punish. It never ceases to amaze me how indifferent and ruthless people are when it comes to trying to elevate themselves, they are so desperate to feel good about themselves, they will do anything to make anyone else feel worse about themselves. they have no clue that the answer is in having the spirit by NOT judging, by not punishing, by not condemning, by forgiving and forgetting, by giving praise and glory to God that he forgives us and gives us his spirit, so that by having the spirit we know we have God’s approval and can ALL feel good about ourselves together, or all by ourselves, if no one else will. I am so thankful for Jesus. When Adam asked, why must I be baptized, which, in essence, meant, why must I promise to always hearken to your spirit and obey, the answer was, because I forgive you of your transgressions. We owe it to him to keep his spirit and do what his spirit says because he sacrificed himself so we can be forgiven, which leads to the fruits, which correct understanding is only one. It also leads to joy, patience, gratitude, and peace, none of which depends on anyone else having less of any of those things. It is so amazing and wonderful. I am so thankful. I don’t know why anyone would want to spend their time riding around on their high horse like Wyatt Earp with his finger pointed at everyone else, for that fleeting pleasure of vanity. Beats me.I can’t recall if I asked you, have you read A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle?

            On Wednesday, November 28, 2018, Book of Mormon Study Notes wrote:

            > Paul Anderson commented: “Great insight! It’s amazing what happens when we > turn our lives over to the Lord. His ways are higher than our ways, so we > can’t predict what will happen when we follow Him. I love John 3:8, and I > interpret it the same way you do: we can hear the sound of” >


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