Patriarchs and Matriarchs

The Amidah, a prayer that is central to Jewish worship, invokes the memory of three significant men known as the patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In some reformed Jewish congregations, the matriarchs—Sarah, Rebekah, Leah, and Rachel—are also mentioned. (See "Full Text of the First Blessing of the Amidah," on myjewishlearning.com.) The word "patriarch" appears only... Continue Reading →

“Be Not Grieved, Nor Angry with Yourselves”

Joseph's brothers had plenty of reasons to be unhappy with themselves. They had treated Joseph badly—threatening him with death and selling him into slavery—and had never fully reckoned with the consequences of their actions. The guilt they carried with them colored their reaction to the adversity they were now experiencing in a time of famine.... Continue Reading →

Heavenly Help

When Abraham sent his most senior servant on a difficult mission—to find a wife for his son Isaac—the servant had some concerns. But Abraham reassured him that he would not be alone: The Lord God of heaven, which took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto... Continue Reading →

“Highly Favored” – Alma 9:20-24

Jesus said, "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required" (Luke 12:48). In 1832, Joseph Smith received a revelation for the church in which the Lord taught the same principle: "For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive... Continue Reading →

“I Will Praise Thee” – 2 Nephi 4:30

In the middle of Nephi's psalm, after lamenting his susceptibility to temptation and after commanding himself to do better, Nephi begins to talk directly to God. To me, this is the turning point in the psalm—the moment when he acknowledges that he can't do this on his own, that he needs help. Notice how his... Continue Reading →

“Which Easily Doth Beset You” – Alma 7:15

The word euperistatos (εὐπερίστατος) only appears once in the Greek New Testament. The word means "to easily surround," "to encircle," or to "thwart." It carries the connotation of something that overpowers you, grabs hold of you and prevents you from moving forward. In the King James Version, this word is translated "beset." Here is the... Continue Reading →

The Arm of Flesh – 2 Nephi 4:34

Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.... Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is (Jeremiah 17:5, 7). As Nephi lamented his own sins and weaknesses, he recognized the need to turn to God and... Continue Reading →

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