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3 Nephi 13


Covenant Obedience Brings Peace -

 3 Nephi 11 -- Mormon 7      Disobedience Brings Destruction


3 Nephi 13:1 Verily, Verily, I Say That I Would That Ye Should Do Alms unto the Poor:


     Jeff Lindsay notes that scholars have found that Book of Mormon passages apparently from the King James Version of the Bible contain variants corroborated in other biblical texts. John Welch discusses one example:

           The Sermon at the Temple begins 3 Nephi 13:1 with a sentence that is not present in the Sermon on the Mount: "Verily, verily, I say that I would that ye should do alms unto the poor" (3 Nephi 13:1). Since this text makes the topic of these verses explicitly clear, continuing with a reference to "righteousness" would have been awkward, although this could have been done and the reader still would have understood its meaning to be "righteous almsgiving."

           Moreover, in Hebrew (and presumably in the Nephite language) there is not nearly so much difference between the two Semitic words "righteousness" (zedeq) and "almsgiving" (Syriac, zedqtha; Hebrew zodaqah, which at Qumran meant "righteousness . . . justified by charity"), as there is between the two Greek words dikaiosune ("righteousness") and eleemosune ("generosity"). Indeed, one of the most important attributes of any person (including God) who is zedeq is that he is charitable: he "gives freely, without regard for gain." "The righteous (zedeq) hath mercy and giveth" (Psalm 37:21; see also Daniel 4:27 [Hebrew text 4:24]). If Jesus said in Hebrew, "Watch your zedeq," What did he mean? His message was about generosity, not just "righteousness" in some general sense. The Greek word dikaiosune (from dike, "justice") is, therefore, not a satisfactory term to convey the full meaning of the Hebrew zedeq or its Aramaic cognate, the languages Jesus spoke. "Doing alms," on the other hand, comes closer to conveying the meaning of "righteousness justified by charity." Assuming that Jesus said to the Nephites something like, "Watch your zodaqah" (since he would not have spoken to the Nephites in Greek), Joseph Smith was most correct to translate this by reference to charitable "alms." (John W. Welch, The Sermon at the Temple and the Sermon on the Mount, p. 150)


[Quoted by Jeff Lindsay, "Did Joseph Smith Plagiarize from the King James Bible?," Book of Mormon Commentary,]


3 Nephi 13:2 As Will Hypocrites Do:


     According to John Welch, the Nephites had had no experience with the hypocrites of Matthew 6:2, who cast their alms with the sounding of (or into) trumpets, and thus Jesus did not speak to the Nephites of what such hypocrites "do, but what they "will do" (3 Nephi 13:2). For the Nephites, such behavior was hypothetical or figurative, not familiar. [John W. Welch, The Sermon at the Temple and the Sermon on the Mount, F.A.R.M.S., p. 98]


3 Nephi 13:9-13 (The Lord's Prayer):


     Brent Farley notes that the Lord repeated to his American saints the concise model referred to as "the Lord's prayer" (3 Nephi 13:9-13). The total prayer could easily be read in less than thirty seconds. The intent was not to encourage short prayers but to make a valid contrast with the "much speaking and the "vain repetitions," of the hypocrites, who prayed for show. In doing so, the Lord left a basic pattern to guide the secret prayers of the children of his kingdom. [S. Brent Farley, "The Appearance of Christ to the People of Nephi," in Studies in Scripture: Book of Mormon, Part 2, pp. 156-157]


3 Nephi 13:9-13 [Thy Kingdom Come]:


     John Welch writes that in several passages in the Sermon at the Temple, subtle changes bring the divine influence more explicitly to the surface. There was no need in Bountiful for Jesus to instruct the people to pray, "Thy kingdom come" (Matthew 6:10), a phrase missing from the Lord's Prayer in the Sermon at the Temple. [John W. Welch, The Sermon at the Temple and the Sermon on the Mount, F.A.R.M.S., p. 95]


3 Nephi 13:10 [Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread]:


     According to McConkie, Millet, and Top, it is noteworthy that the phrase "Give us this day our daily bread," found in Matthew, is missing from the Bountiful sermon. This omission, though subtle, is intentional. In Galilee, the counsel to pray for daily bread, though appropriate and praiseworthy for all members or the Church, was directed specifically to the Twelve, those who would serve full-time missions and would work without purse or scrip. Their daily prayer needed to be for food and drink in order to sustain life. In Bountiful the phrase is omitted, inasmuch as this portion of the sermon is directed to the entire multitude, a people whose daily work would sustain them (see 3 Nephi 12:1). [Joseph F. McConkie, Robert L. Millet, Brent L. Top, "Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. IV., p. 83]


3 Nephi 13:12 Lead Us Not into Temptation:


     According to Angela Crowell, many readers have wondered why the Lord's prayer is worded differently in the Book of Mormon and the Inspired Version of the Bible. In 3 Nephi 13:12 the verse reads "lead us not into temptation," and in Matthew 6:14 (I.V.) the verse reads "suffer us not to be led into temptation." It is interesting that even though Joseph Smith revised the Book of Mormon manuscript in 1837, he did not change the wording to agree with the Inspired Version of the Bible. Perhaps the Seer did not consider this difference to be a mistake.

     In E. W. Bullinger's book (Figures of Speech Used in the Bible: Explained and Illustrated, 1898) the author gives reference to this New Testament scripture. . . . In his chapter on Hebrew idioms and idiomatic usages of verbs, the author presents several rules and examples of active verbs including the following: "Active verbs were used by the Hebrews to express, not the doing of the thing, but the permission of the thing which the agent is said to do." Two examples from the Old Testament are Exodus 4:21 and Jeremiah 4:10. In Exodus 4:21 we read in the King James Version: "I will harden his heart (i.e., I will permit or suffer his heart to be hardened), that he shall not let the people go." In Jeremiah 4:10: "Lord God, surely thou hast greatly deceived this people (i.e., "Thou hast suffered this people to be greatly deceived, by the false prophets, saying: Ye shall have peace, etc.")7

     The most important example of this idiomatic usage in the New Testament is Matthew 6:13 (I.V. 6:14). Bullinger interprets the passage this way: "Lead us not (i.e., suffer us not to be led) into temptation."8 Numerous Bible commentaries support Bullinger's statement on this scripture. . . . Thus, the phrase "lead us not into temptation" is a Hebrew idiom strictly translated in the Book of Mormon. "Suffer us not to be led into temptation" is correctly interpreted into English in the Inspired Version of the Bible. Obviously Joseph was a Seer in the truest sense of the word. [Angela Crowell, "Lead Us Not Into Temptation," in Recent Book of Mormon Developments, Vol. 1, p. 63]


3 Nephi 13:13 For Thine Is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, Forever. Amen:


     In 3 Nephi 13:13 we find the phrase, "for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen." Some question the inclusion of this doxology in the Lord's prayer. However, in his discussion on the early use of prayer circles, Hugh Nibley writes:

           In the Testament of the Twelve Apostles, the Lord, appearing to the people after the resurrection just before producing bread and wine miraculously for the administering of the sacrament, has a conversation with a child.9 In exactly the same situation in the Book of Mormon the resurrected Lord blesses the little children "one by one," but he begins his discourse to the Nephites by telling them three times that no one can approach him except as a little child (see 3 Nephi 9:22, 11:37-38). The prayer circle is the nearest approach to the Lord that men make on earth--and they can approach him only "as little children."

           The prayer spoken in the circle differs every time; it is not strictly prescribed. The one leading the prayer expresses himself as the Spirit moves him, and the others either repeat each line after him (which would not be necessary if they all knew it by heart) or add an "amen" at the end of each phrase, which is the equivalent of reciting the prayer for oneself. The most significant example of this freedom of composition is certainly the Lord's Prayer. "Originally," wrote Jeremias, "the doxology, 'For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever," was absent," yet it is found in the oldest church order, the "Teaching of the Twelve Apostles." Has someone taken liberties with the sacred canon, then? No, "the absence of the doxology from the original text," Jeremias explains, "does not mean that Jesus intended his prayer to be recited without a word of praise at the end. but in the very earliest times, the doxology had no fixed form and its precise wording was left too those who prayed." Only "later on . . . it was felt necessary to establish the doxology in a fixed form,"10 which explains why the prayer has different forms in Matthew 6:13 and Luke 11:4. Also, the older Aramaic form of the prayer required forgive "our debts," which the Greek of Luke changes to forgive "our sins."11 This vindicates both the inclusion of the doxology in the Lord's prayer in 3 Nephi 13:9-13 and the reading there of "debts" instead of "sins." [Hugh W. Nibley, "The Early Christian Prayer Circle," in Mormonism and Early Christianity, pp. 55-56]


3 Nephi 13:13 For Thine Is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, Forever. Amen:


     According to McConkie, Millet, and Top, the phrase, "for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever Amen" (3 Nephi 13:13) which is part of the Lord's Prayer in Matthew, is known as a doxology and has been questioned by scholars over the generations. Many feel that it was added later by the Christian church because it contains what they conclude to be language used much later than the days of Jesus. However, a very early Christian document called the Didache or "Teaching of the Twelve Apostles" (late first century A.D.) contains the Lord's Prayer, including this doxology, thus suggesting its antiquity. The Book of Mormon serves as an additional witness. [Joseph F. McConkie, Robert L. Millet, Brent L. Top, "Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. IV, p. 83]


     According to John Welch, we might pause and say something about this [doxology] for just a minute: "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever" (3 Nephi 13:13). Many of you are aware that in some of the early manuscripts, indeed, the better manuscripts of Matthew, you don't have the long ending [doxology] to the Lord's Prayer. It just ends "Amen." That, of course, is not the case in the Book of Mormon, which gives you the long ending. . . .

     The question is then why doesn't Luke (in Luke 6 and 11 when you have the Sermon on the Plain and the teachings of Jesus are comparable) end the brief prayer that he gives in chapter 11 with any kind of doxology. There the manuscripts are clear. It just ends with an "Amen." It might be that when you are in a temple context [as described in the Book of Mormon] you are more inclined to include a doxology, the praising of God. But when you are out in the fields teaching people how to pray, you would close with a simple "Amen." I refer you to Strack and Billerbeck who have gathered some Talmudic sources on this point. They describe the prayers that were offered in the temple on the Day of Atonement. They say after the people and the priests standing in the forecourt hear the name of the Lord cried out, then they all fall down on their faces, and they say, "Praised be the name of his glorious kingdom forever and eternally." . . . In other words, it was a part of the special ending of a prayer. On the Day of Atonement that longer ending would have been appropriate. If we are right that Jesus is appearing to the Nephites on a day that had ceremonial significance, it cannot be counted as an error that the Lord's Prayer ends with the doxology in 3 Nephi. . . . Biblical scholars, Jeremias in particular, have argued that you cannot imagine a prayer being offered by a Jew (and Jesus was a Jew) that didn't end with some kind of doxology praising God. Jeremias isn't sure what doxology Jesus might have used, but he has no doubt that one would have been there. [John W. Welch, "The Beatitudes--Christ's Teachings," in Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Semester 4, p. 142]


3 Nephi 13:22 If Therefore, Thine Eye Be Single, Thy Whole Body Shall Be Full of Light:


     According to John Welch, it's interesting that the phrase--the singleness of your heart and eyes to God (3 Nephi 13:21-24)--appears in the Doctrine and Covenants 88:67-68 when the section is again describing the process of sanctification. [John W. Welch, "The Beatitudes--Christ's Teachings," in Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Semester 4, p. 143]

3 Nephi 13:24 Mammon:


     In 3 Nephi 13:24 Jesus declares, "No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon." According to Adam Clarke, mamon is a term used for money in the Targum of Onkelos, Exodus 18:21; and in that of Jonathan, Judges 5:19; I Samuel 8:3. The Syriac word mamona is used in the same sense, Exodus 21:30. Dr. Castel deduces these words from the Hebrew aman, to trust, confide; because men are apt to trust in riches. Mammon may therefore be considered any thing a man confides in. [Adam Clarke, Clarke's Commentary, p. 91]


3 Nephi 13:30 Even So Will He Clothe You, If Ye Are Not of Little Faith:


     During his Sermon at the Temple, Jesus specifically addressed the twelve as follows:

           Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? . . . Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin;

           And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, even so will he clothe you, if ye are not of little faith. (3 Nephi 13:25-30)


     According to John Welch, in Greek the word endua, from which our word endow is directly derived, has two meanings. Enduo means "to clothe, to put on clothing." It also means "to take on characteristics, virtues, and intentions." When a person is endowed, the person is clothed. Jesus told his disciples not to leave Jerusalem (Luke 24:49) until they were "endued with power from on high." The clothing represents the robes of God's righteousness. The atonement occurs when one is encircled by the robes of God's righteousness, but his only occurs as these attributes are taken on--the attributes set forth in the beginning in the Beatitudes. Joseph Smith spoke frequently about the need to be endowed in the House of the Lord. It's interesting that Jesus expresses this idea by saying to his disciples, I will give you clothing. And the word there is endumata. I will give you garments that are more glorious than whose? Than the garments of Solomon ("even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these"). He, of course, is always connected with the temple. [John W. Welch, "Christ at the Nephite Temple," in Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Semester 4, p. 143]


3 Nephi 13:30 Even So Will He Clothe You, If Ye Are Not of Little Faith:


     During his Sermon at the Temple, Jesus covenanted with his chosen twelve, "even so will he [your heavenly Father] clothe you, if ye are not of little faith" (3 Nephi 13:30). According to Raymond Treat, a man's robe was symbolic of all his material possessions. Therefore, by giving his robe, he was pledging everything he had to his covenant brother. . . . [Raymond C. Treat, "Understanding Our Covenant," in Recent Book of Mormon Developments, vol. 2, p. 35]

     Note* According to Raymond Treat, Robes of Righteousness have to be given, they cannot be earned. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]