When the Nephites experienced a miraculous conversion in a very short period of time, even the leaders of the church were “astonished beyond measure” (Helaman 3:25). The contentions which had recently plagued them vanished, and they began to live in peace and prosperity.
Mormon explains this rapid change by reminding us that God loves all of His children and will bless them when they turn their hearts toward Him. He gives this reassurance three times:
- “Thus we may see that the Lord is merciful unto all who will, in the sincerity of their hearts, call upon his holy name.
- “Yea, thus we see that the gate of heaven is open unto all, even to those who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God.
- “Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked—
“And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out” (Helaman 3:27-30).
Mormon describes the word of God as “quick and powerful” echoing a passage in Paul’s epistle to the Hebrews:
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
The Greek word zon (ζῶν), which is translated “quick” in this passage, means “alive” or “living.” The word energés (ἐνεργής), which is translated “powerful,” means “productive” or “active.” Other places in the New Testament, the word is translated “effectual.” So the phrase “quick and powerful” means “alive and effective”
Mormon speaks of the word of God as accomplishing two related purposes: thwarting the traps of the devil, and leading us back to the presence of God. Paul describes it as a sharp sword, distinguishing between good and evil. If we are willing to engage with the word of God, it can be both a clarifying and an energizing force in our lives.
Four times between April and June of 1829, Joseph Smith received revelations in which God described His word as “quick and powerful.” All four times, He coupled this phrase with the following admonition: “Therefore give heed unto my words” (Doctrine & Covenants 6:2, 11:2, 12:2, 14:2). (See also Doctrine and Covenants 27:1, and 33:1.)
Today, I will act on the promptings I receive as I study the word of God. I will remember that God’s word will inspire me to action and help me to make wise decisions and avoid errors.