Throughout my life, I have read the Book of Mormon multiple times. With each of these experiences, there is a common thing that seems to happen to most members of the church: when we get to the Isaiah chapters in 2nd Nephi, our interest level goes down. For the most part, Isaiah can be difficult to understand and not as "entertaining" as other chapters in the Book of Mormon. During my Book of Mormon class this week, however, I learned some valuable lessons about studying from Isaiah.
The Book of Mormon verse that I've chosen to highlight this week is in 1 Nephi 19:23. This is Nephi talking about his instruction that he is giving to his brothers. He says:
And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.
Notice how he starts off by saying that they read from the Books of Moses (the beginning of the Old Testament) but then says that the way he was going to be able to help his brothers "believe in the Lord their Redeemer" was through "that which was written by the prophet Isaiah." We are told by Christ himself in his visit to the Americas that we should study Isaiah. But why do we seem to usually skip over the Isaiah chapters?
An interesting principle here is that as we study the scriptures diligently and with a prayer of understanding in our heart, the words of Isaiah can be opened to us! We are promised that the scriptures can be expounded to us and that their meaning can touch our very hearts. As we studied Isaiah this week, I understood the words so much more than I ever have! I know that is because of the promise we've been given that as we study, we will learn from the Holy Ghost.
I'm so grateful for the Isaiah selections in the Book of Mormon, and I can promise that as we pray for understanding and search his words with all of our heart, we will learn things that will bless every aspect of our lives.