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What Can We Do? Reflections on 2 Nephi 25:23

TitleWhat Can We Do? Reflections on 2 Nephi 25:23
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsSpencer, Joseph M.
JournalReligious Educator: Perspectives on the Restored Gospel
KeywordsGrace; Interpretation; Nephi (Son of Lehi); Theology

In this paper, I offer a theological interpretation of 2 Nephi 25:23 that is distinct from any other in the relevant literature. My intention is to provide a three-pronged approach to interpreting the passage. In a first section, I highlight a number of ambiguities in Nephi's words that have not been sufficiently noted. Paying attention to these details helps to make clear that Nephi's saying is far more complex than it might at first appear, so further work must be done if Nephi's words are to be understood as he meant them to be. In a second section, I turn my attention to potential scriptural sources on which Nephi might have drawn in outlining his understanding of grace. Only one source is identified— the only absolutely sure source related to Nephi's words— and it proves to be immensely helpful in attempting to clarify Nephi's meaning. In a third section, I look at the context into which Nephi inserted the doctrine of grace. The setting in which Nephi decided to say something about grace helps both to clarify his meaning and to suggest a way in which the doctrine of divine grace applies to concrete situations. In the end, I hope to show that Nephi's words, read carefully, highlight and enrich— rather than simply fail to contradict— the Book of Mormon's clear emphasis on grace


Scripture Reference

2 Nephi 25:23