3 Ne 12:1-14:27
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Scope of page. Third Nephi 12-14 contains the Lord's delivery of the Sermon on the Mount (found in Matthew 5-7) to the Nephites. This wiki page is not intended, however, to address the content of the Sermon on the Mount as recorded in Matthew 5-7. This page is intended only to address differences in the Lord's delivery of the Sermon on the Mount to the Nephites and the use of the Sermon on the Mount in Third Nephi. Readers may want to consult the wiki pages that address Matthew 5-7 before reading the portion of this wiki page that addresses Third Nephi 12-14. Contributors are likewise asked to respect this distinction. The idea is that discussion of a passage should be concentrated in a single place, and that the best place for a discussion of the Sermon on the Mount (at least as it is recorded in Matthew) is on the wiki pages that directly address Matthew.
Relationship to Chapters 12-15. The relationship of Chapters 12-14 to the rest of Chapters 12-15 is discussed at Chapters 12-15a.
Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapters 12-14 include:
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- 3 Ne 12:48. The end of Third Nephi 12 reads, "Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father in heaven is perfect." There is slightly different wording in Matthew 5, where the Lord says, "Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect." One way to make sense of this difference is to assume that at some point after the Lord left this earth and returned again, He was made perfect just like His Father.
- 3 Ne 13:11-15. The Lord here provides an outline for prayer. However, LDS understanding is that this is merely an outline or guideline for praying, not a rote prayer to be repeated as a "vain repetition".
- 3 Ne 13:22. The eye can be symbolic of where we are looking spiritually. If we are looking to God and have an eye single to the glory of God, then other people will see this as we let our light shine before them being examples by doing Christ's work.
- 3 Ne 13:24. Dictionary sources indicate that mammon means riches: LDS BD, Webster's 1828 dictionary, and the Greek interlinear Bible.
- 3 Ne 13:24. Jesus tells us here that we cannot serve both God and Mammon. To truly serve God we must serve him only. Other scriptures give us the same message with different words. Throughout the Book of Mormon we see the phrase full purpose of heart (see the Related Links section for references). The footnote refers us to Hosea 10:2 where Israel is criticized for having a divided heart.
- 3 Ne 13:34. In the NT, the "evil" spoken of in vs. 34 (see Matt 6:34) is the Greek "kakia." The word "kakia" has two senses, "trouble," "difficulty," or "burden" on the one hand, and "wickedness," on the other. If we assume that Jesus meant the first sense of "kakia" (see the lexical notes), then the verse says something like this: "Do not take thought for the morrow because, compared to the thought that has the Kingdom of God (the Second Coming, in the future) as its goal, the thought for the things of this world ("the morrow") is a burden. However, if it means "wickedness," then it refers to willful disobedience, or malice. In that case, the Lord seems to be indicating that we have enough to do to repent of our own willfull disobedience--not doing all the things we know we should--that we shouldn't have enough time to worry about the "morrow".
- 3 Ne 14:1-7. After teaching that we should repent daily of our wilfull disobedience (3 Ne 13:34), the Lord teaches that we should focus on our own sins and not those of others (vs. 2-5). He also teaches that we should cast out the bad (vs. 2-5) and be careful not to unwittingly cast out the good (vs. 6). Versus 1-6 could be seen as teaching how to give, shifting in vs. 7 to emphasize how we receive.
- 3 Ne 14:16-20. The fruits of a prophet might be the same as those listed as the fruits of the Spirit in Gal 5:22. Alternatively it may be that the fruits of a prophet are prophecies. In that case knowing a prophet by their fruits might mean seeing whether their prophecies come to pass. In support of this second interpretation see Deut 18:21-22. Against it see Deut 13:1-3.
- 3 Ne 14:16-20: Fruit. Fruit is used 464 times in the scriptures, according to the LDS scripture search engine.
- 3 Ne 14:21. Christ is telling us that it is not enough to testify that he is our Lord and Savior. We must also submit to the will of God and do his work to be saved.
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Prompts for life application
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Prompts for further study
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- 3 Ne 12:3: What exactly does it mean when a person is "poor in spirit"?
- 3 Ne 12:18: What does Christ mean when he says that the law "hath all been fulfilled"? A: Christ is talking about the Law of Moses when he says the law is fulfilled. Now that he has come and set an example for us, we must live a higher law and not just the Law of Moses.
- 3 Ne 12:20: How should we interpret the "kingdom of heaven" here? Does it refer to any degree of glory? Just to the Celestial kingdom?
- 3 Ne 12:25: What does Christ mean when he tells the people to "agree with thine adversary?"
- 3 Ne 12:38-42: What does Christ mean when he says not to resist evil (verses 39)?
- 3 Ne 12:38-42: How are we to understand these verses? If we follow these verses, won't that allow others to take advantage of us?
- 3 Ne 12:41-45: Does the reference to the Roman law about "going a mile" (carrying a pack for a Roman solider) have relevance to the Nephites?
- 3 Ne 12:48: How does the injunction to be perfect tie in with the teachings earlier in the chapter, and with the following teachings in ch. 13-14?
- 3 Ne 13:1-5: Why does the Lord start a long discussion of giving gifts right after his injunction to be perfect in 3 Ne 12:48?
- 3 Ne 13:1-5: How can we balance the dual commands to let our light shine (see 3 Ne 12:16) and to not do our alms before men? Is it all about intentions? Or are there really some times when, regardless of our motives, we are supposed to do things in secret and other things when we are supposedly to do things publicly?
- 3 Ne 13:5-6: The Lord tells us not to pray in order to be seen of men. Instead, he tells us to pray in secret.
- 3 Ne 13:6-10: In the New Testament when Christ gives this prayer he also says "thy kingdom come" (see Matt 6:10 and Luke 11:2). Why does Christ leave out this phrase here?
- 3 Ne 14:1-5: How do the teachings in verses 1-5 relate to the Lord's immediately prior teaching about the need for daily repentence (3 Ne 13:34)?
- 3 Ne 14:5-6: How does the word "cast" link verses 5 and 6?
- 3 Ne 14:4-5: Verse 4 and 5 tell us that we are hypocrites if we do not repent of our own large sins but are concerned about the sins of others. Note that this comes immediately after telling us that we shouldn't worry about the "morrow" because we have enough wilfull disobedience to repent of each day (3 Ne 13:34). The Lord seems to be telling us to focus on overcoming our own sins right now.
- 3 Ne 14:6: What does vs. 6 tell us about the theme of giving good gifts that seems to be linking many of the Lord's teachings in chapters 11-15? How does vs. 6 contrast with vs. 5 and how are these two versus linked by the word "cast"?
- 3 Ne 14:1-13: Structurally, what shift occurs between vs. 1-6 and vs. 7-13?
- 3 Ne 14:11-14: How do the teachings about how God gives gifts relate to the overall theme of Christ's teachings to the Nephites about becoming perfect through giving good gifts (ch. 11-14)?
- 3 Ne 14:16: In verse 16 Jesus tells us that we can know if a prophet is true or false from their fruits. What are the fruits of a prophet? Moro 10:5 says we can know the truth of all things through the Holy Ghost. Is judging a prophet by their fruits an alternative way of knowing whether or not they are true?
- 3 Ne 14:26: How does Christ's teachings in vs. 26 relate to his earlier warning about daily repenting of our "kakia"--willfull disobedience (3 Ne 13:34)?
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