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The relationship of verses 40-48 to the rest of the chapter is discussed at chapter 7. Verses 40-48 can be outlined as follows:
Relationship to Chapter 7. The relationship of Verses 7:40-48 to the rest of Chapter 7 is addressed at Chapter 7.
Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Verses 7:40-48 include:
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- Moro 7:40-48: Outline.
- • hope defined (40-42)
- • importance of meekness and lowliness of heart (43-44)
- • charity defined, importance as the greatest (46-47)
- • pray for charity to obtain hope, hope again defined (48)
- Moro 7:26-48. Mormon’s discourse on charity is not only one of the most beautiful, but also most systematic of the scriptures. In fact, while charity is often noted as the theme of Moroni 7, it is but one of a number of principles all culminating into the workings of miracles. Mormon, for whatever reason, chooses to work backwards beginning with miracles and through a step-by-step process, identifies each rung in the ladder that leads to such miracles as effectuated by our fathers.
- Unfolding Mormon’s discourse, we see that faith is what leads to miracles, and hope is needed for faith. Such faith and hope necessitate meekness and a lowliness of heart. If such is obtained with a confession by the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, charity is requisite. Often, the command to love may burden many shoulders that see it as impossible despite our greatest intentions. Without such Christ-like love, it assuredly seems that miracles of great faith are out of our grasp. But, Mormon finishes this chapter on how to receive charity: through prayer. Step-by-step, miracles are permitted us based on our communication with the Father and our petitions for His love.
- Moro 7:40, 42: Faith before hope?. At first blush, verse 40 might be read as suggesting that the attainment of hope preceeds the attainment of faith. However, verse 42 would seem to contradict such an interpretation. One way to avoid this apparent contradiction is to consider the attainment of faith and the attainment of hope as a simultaneous, mutually-reinforcing process, as exemplified by the intertwined cable metaphor that Elder Nelson suggests (see related links for verse 42).
- Another possibility is to view the attainment of hope as an immediate consequence to the attainment of faith. On this view, if you think you have attained faith but you do not have hope, then you would be able to infer that you have not attained true faith. Note that the following verses seem to corroborate this view: Moro 8:26, 2 Ne 31:19-20, and Ether 12:4?
- Moro 7:41. When we unravel the logic, this verse most interestingly appears like this:
- If Faith->Hope
- If ~Hope->~Faith
- If ~Faith->~Hope
- If Hope->Faith
- What becomes apparent is the mutual and relatively parallel relationship of Faith and Hope, predicated on the basis of being meek and lowly of heart.
- Moro 7:44. Following this, if we read "must needs have" as suggesting a sort of necessary precondition, then it makes it seem that in order to be meek and lowly of heart, we must have charity. This makes it seem as if in order to have faith and hope, we must also have charity.
- Moro 7:47: Love of Christ. According to Webster's 1828 Dictionary, the primary meaning of the word of is to denote the genitive case which means "produced by" or "out of." In other words "the love produced by Christ" or "the love coming out of Christ." Of indicating possession, i.e. "love of Christ" meaning "Christ's love," seems to have derived from this primary meaning. In the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, there are 12 different meanings listed. All of them seem to have been derived from the primary meaning listed above.
- Moro 7:47: Possessed of it. Surprisingly, the only other time the phrase "possessed of" is used in the LDS version of scriptures is Matt 8:33 and Luke 8:36 in reference to being possessed of devils. See exegesis below for discussion.
- Moro 7:47: Possessed of the pure love of Christ. See lexical notes above. The connotation here seems to be that Christ is the original producer of love (see 1 Jn 4:19) which we are to become possessed with. This is consistent with verse 48 where we are instructed to pray to be filled with his love. It is not our love that we are to develop, but rather Christ's love which we are to be given.
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- Moro 7:40: Hope before faith? Is this saying that the attainment of hope precedes the attainment of faith? If so, how can this be reconciled with other verses that seem to suggest the attainment of faith precedes the attainment of hope (e.g. verse 42, Moro 8:26, 2 Ne 31:19-20, and Ether 12:4)?
- Moro 7:42. Here it says that without faith there cannot be any hope. How can we distinguish between faith and hope?
- Moro 7:42. Mormon seems to be saying that for someone to have faith they must have hope because if you don't have faith you cannot have hope. This sounds like saying since without faith you cannot have hope, you have to have hope to have faith. Is that what is being said? If so how does that reasoning work?
- Moro 7:42. Doesn't it seem like the last phrase of this verse perhaps had the nouns inverted? Wouldn't it read more clearly and not make you scratch your head if it said: "if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without [hope] there cannot be any [faith]? By starting the last phrase with "for" doesn't that seem to imply that what comes next will be supportive of what came right before and not contradictory as it can appear now?
- Moro 7:44. Here Mormon says that if someone is meek and lowly of heart and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, that person must have charity. Does this mean that if you do those things you already have charity or does this mean that the next step after these things is to work on developing charity?
- Moro 7:44. Wouldn't this verse be more clear if it started "If not," and not "If so?"
- Moro 7:44. A similar question could be raised about the meaning of "must needs have" in v. 42. Does "must needs have" suggest a sort of requirement necessary to reach that sort of thing? Or does it mean something more like, "When one has this, they must then progress onto the next thing"? Referring to v. 42, does it mean that hope is sort of a precondition for faith? Or does it mean that once you have faith, you need to then proceed to hope?
- Moro 7:45. We are told here that charity "beareth all things" and "endureth all things." What is the difference between these two attributes?
- Moro 7:45. What does it mean to "think no evil" in the context of this verse? Since charity can only be manifested in our relations with others, is this phrase instructing us to only think good thoughts about others? If that is the case, how can we discern between the good and bad actions of others?
- Moro 7:45. How many speakers define what "rejoiceth not in inquity" means? Is this an instruction to not feel satisfaction when others (especially our competitors) make mistakes? Is this basically a prohibition against pride? Would we stop wanting others to make mistakes if we stopped trying to compare ourselves to them?
- Moro 7:48. What does it mean to be a true follower of Jesus Christ? How does one attain this status?
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- Moro 7:41. See this comment at the BCC blog, and the post in general, for a discussion of hope as it relates to (being prior to and subsequent to) faith.
- Moro 7:45. Robert C. Oaks, "The Power of Patience," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 15–17. Elder Oaks points out that many of the characteristics of charity relate to patience: long-suffering, not easily provoked, bearing and enduring all things. "From these defining elements it is evident that without patience gracing our soul, we would be seriously lacking with respect to a Christlike character."
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