All three of the things Nephi instructed Jacob to record—preaching, revelation, and prophesying—would be scripture. They would have been spoken when “moved upon by the Holy Ghost” (D&C 68:2–4). “Preaching which was sacred” could be “the will of the Lord,” or the commandments the people were to keep. “Revelation which was great” could be “the mind of the Lord,” or the mysteries of God pertaining to their lives. “Prophesying” could be “the word of the Lord,” telling what would come to pass in the future. However, Jacob was instructed to limit his engraving to these three sources of sacred speaking to the “heads of them” or the most significant and precious things. The items that Jacob was inspired to include were probably a part of the restoration of principles and concepts that had been lost or needed clarifying in the Bible (see 1 Nephi 13:24–29). All of what was recorded was to be done “for Christ’s sake” (Jacob 1:4), to assist him in his work of bringing “to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39); and for “the sake of [Jacob’s] people” (Jacob 1:4), to bring them to salvation through the Lord’s power.
Jacob acknowledges that there had been more preaching, revelation, and prophesying among his people than he was recording. They were fully aware of the coming of Christ to the earth (vv. 5–6). His objective, as well as the objective of other faithful members, was to bring his people to Christ and prepare them to enter into his rest, “which rest is the fulness of his glory” (D&C 84:24). He desired to help his people avoid what happened to the Israelites when led them in the wilderness (Jacob 1:7). Fully aware of the challenges ahead, Jacob accepted the responsibility of leadership given to him by his brother Nephi (v. 8). His desire to persuade all men to forsake the natural man and take upon them the name of Christ is a great example for us to follow. To view Christ’s death is to see and understand that he would come to earth to lay down his life and take it up again to bring about the “resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ” (Mosiah 16:8; see also 1 Corinthians 15:54–55). “For a man to take up his cross, is to deny himself of all ungodliness, and every worldly lust, and keep [Christ’s] commandments” (JST, Matthew 16:26). In his denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, it shows he is “not ashamed of [Christ]” (JST, Mark 8:40).