“We Have Received the Word of God”

D. Kelly Ogden, Andrew C. Skinner

Given the inevitable fate of those who persist in sin and refuse to repent, Nephi pronounces a series of woes. The interjection woe (the Book of Mormon uses the variant wo) is a term used to express distress, grief, and regret for a condition of ruin—deep-felt suffering for calamity or affliction. In the case of the woes Nephi enumerates here, the distress and grief are brought on the perpetrators of evil by themselves. They themselves are responsible for their lamentable destiny.

Woe to those who are “at ease in Zion,” who feel that “all is well.” The same expression in Amos 6:1 reads literally in Hebrew as “woe to those who feel secure in Zion.” As a matter of fact, all is not well in Zion, even among the Saints of God, at least those who excessively indulge in and adopt the ways of the world.

Woe to those who listen to the philosophizings of men and at the same time deny God’s power and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Remember, the Holy Ghost is a revelator and delights in revealing eternally tried truths that are firm, steadfast, and immovable.

Woe to anyone who says “we have received, and we need no more!” and “we have received the word of God, and we need no more … for we have enough!” Believing that, the Book of Mormon will be rejected out of hand.

In summary, Nephi says, woe to all those who are “angry because of the truth of God!” Anyone who is built upon the rock (that is, anyone who centers his or her life on Christ) will receive God’s truth with gladness and will defend it and live it (see commentary at Helaman 5:12 and 3 Nephi 14:24–27).

Verse by Verse: The Book of Mormon: Vol. 1