Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Gospels

The following is taken from the Bible Dictionary.

Gospels. The word gospel means good news.

The good news is that Jesus Christ has made a perfect atonement for mankind that will redeem all mankind from the grave and reward each individual according to his/her works. This atonement was begun by his appointment in the premortal world but was worked out by Jesus during his mortal sojourn. Therefore, the records of his mortal life and the events pertaining to his ministry are called the Gospels; the four that are contained in our Bible are presented under the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

The four Gospels are not so much biographies as they are testimonies. They do not reveal a day-by-day story of the life of Jesus; rather, they tell who Jesus was, what he said, what he did, and why it was important. The records of Matthew, Mark, and Luke present a somewhat similar collection of materials and have considerable phraseology in common, as well as similar main points, and thus are sometimes labeled as the “Synoptic Gospels” (meaning “see-alike”). Even so, each is unique and has much detail that is not shared by the others. John’s record is quite different from the other three in vocabulary, phraseology, and presentation of events.

It appears from the internal evidence of each record that Matthew was written to persuade the Jews that Jesus is the promised Messiah. To do so, he cites several O.T. prophecies and speaks repeatedly of Jesus as the Son of David, thus emphasizing his royal lineage. Mark appeals to a gentile audience and is fast moving, emphasizing the doings more than the sayings of the Lord. He occasionally gives geographical and cultural explanations—necessary procedure for non-Jewish readers (see Mark 2:26; 5:41; 7:2–13, 34). Luke offers his readers a polished literary account of the ministry of Jesus, presenting Jesus as the universal Savior of both Jews and gentiles. He dwells extensively on Jesus’ teachings and his doings. Luke is favorable toward the gentiles and also gives more stories involving women than do the other records. John’s account does not contain much of the fundamental information that the other records contain, and it is evident that he was writing to members of the Church who already had basic information about the Lord. His primary purpose was to emphasize the divine nature of Jesus as the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh.

Though there are many similarities in each of the Gospels, there are also many items that are found in one record only, making a study of all the records necessary. Some of the more significant items that appear in but one record are the following: Matthew only: visit of the wise men; the star in the east (2:1–12). Mark only: Jesus, a carpenter (6:3); a young man wearing a sheet (14:52). Luke only: visits of Gabriel to Zacharias and Mary (Luke 1); visit of the shepherds (Luke 2:8–18); Jesus at the temple at age 12 (Luke 2:41–52); the seventy (10:1–24); Jesus sweating blood (22:44); Jesus’ discussion with the thief on the cross (23:39–43); Jesus eating fish and honey after his resurrection (24:42–43). John only: turning water into wine (2:1–11); visit of Nicodemus (3:1–10); woman at the well (4:1–42); discourse on bread of life (6:27–71); raising of Lazarus from the dead (11:1–56); washing of feet (13:1–16); discourse about the Holy Ghost (14, 15, 16); promise of John’s tarrying on the earth (21:20–24). John’s record is notable for what it does not contain. For example, it has no mention of Jesus’ 40-day experience in the wilderness; of the Mount of Transfiguration; of true parables; and of casting out evil spirits.

In summation, Mark has the least amount of unique material, being only about 7 percent exclusive; John has the greatest amount, being about 92 percent exclusive. With the knowledge now available, it is not possible to create a perfect harmony of the four Gospels, because the Gospel authors themselves do not always agree on chronological matters. A possible harmony of the four Gospels that is useful for study is given in the following tables, arranged, so far as information permits, in chronological order:

This link contains those tables:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Confirmation - Gift of the Holy Ghost

The following is taken from the Bible Dictionary.

Confirmation. See Laying on of hands. 

The word is not found in the N.T., though the rite itself is mentioned in several places. (1) We are told (Acts 8:14–17) that after Philip had baptized the converts in Samaria, Peter and John prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghost; they then laid their hands on them, and the Holy Ghost was given. (2) On Paul’s arrival at Ephesus (Acts 19:1–6) he found men who had received a form of baptism that they incorrectly supposed had come from John the Baptist. After they had been properly baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, the Apostle laid his hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

In these instances there is illustrated the greater authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood, compared to the Aaronic Priesthood. The latter has authority to baptize in water, but not the power to lay on hands to confer the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Melchizedek Priesthood has power to do both (JS—H 1:70–72). Baptism of water without the bestowal of the Holy Ghost would be incomplete, and would be but half a baptism (HC 5:499).

No information is to be found in the Bible as to any special age for confirmation, but it is clear that it followed close after baptism. Confirmation includes more than conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost. To confirm means to “make more sure.” 

See also Baptism.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Learning of Life - Current and Past

Hey Everyone.  I was wondering, why is it that we are always trying to understand the same thing that those before us were trying to understand?

Maybe we just have the same questions and no one ever found the answer.
Maybe because we don't understand what our ancestors already knew.
Maybe we have the answers, and we just haven't put forth the energy required to actually understand what is in front of us.

"The scriptures also enlarge our memory by helping us not forget what we and earlier generations have learned. Those who either don’t have or ignore the recorded word of God eventually cease to believe in Him and forget the purpose of their existence.

In Tyndale’s day, scriptural ignorance abounded because people lacked access to the Bible, especially in a language they could understand. Today the Bible and other scripture are readily at hand, yet there is a growing scriptural illiteracy because people will not open the books. 
Consequently they have forgotten things their grandparents knew."

There must be some other reason for us to be interested in what has happened to our families in the past.
Go to for more information. is also very helpful for doing Geneology.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


The following is taken from the Bible Dictionary.

Elias. There are several uses of this word in the scriptures. 

(1) It is the N.T. (Greek) form of Elijah (Hebrew), as in Luke 4:25–26, James 5:17, and Matt. 17:1–4. Elias in these instances can only be the ancient prophet Elijah whose ministry is recorded in 1 and 2 Kings. 

(2) Elias is also a title for one who is a forerunner, for example, John the Baptist, as in Matt. 11:13–14, Matt. 17:10–13, and John 1:19–28. These passages are sufficiently clarified to show that anciently two Eliases were spoken of, one as a preparer and the other a restorer. John was sent to prepare the way for Jesus, Jesus himself being the Restorer who brought back the gospel and the Melchizedek Priesthood to the Jews in his day (see John 1:20–28). In this particular instance there is reflected also the comparative functions of the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods.

(3) The title Elias has also been applied to many others for specific missions or restorative functions that they are to fulfill, for example, John the Revelator (D&C 77:14); and Noah or Gabriel (D&C 27:6–7, cf. Luke 1:11–20). 

(4) A man called Elias apparently lived in mortality in the days of Abraham, who committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland (Ohio) Temple on April 3, 1836 (D&C 110:12). We have no specific information as to the details of his mortal life or ministry.

Thus the word Elias has many applications and has been placed upon many persons as a title pertaining to both preparatory and restorative functions. It is evident from the questions they asked that both the Jewish leaders and the disciples of Jesus knew something about the doctrine of Elias, but the fragmentary information in our current Bibles is not sufficient to give an adequate understanding of what was involved in use of the term.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bible Dictionary - Confession

The following is taken from the Bible Dictionary.

Confession. The scriptures use confession in at least two ways. 

One is to confess that Jesus is the Christ; that is, a confession or profession of faith; see, for example, Matt. 10:32; 16:16; John 6:68–69; 12:42; Rom. 10:9; Philip. 2:11; 1 Tim. 6:12; Heb. 4:14; 1 Jn. 4:2

A second usage of confession is confession of sin. It is a duty of all persons to confess all their sins to the Lord and, when necessary, to the person or persons sinned against. Sins against the public must be publicly confessed (D&C 42:88–93). Other items may be confessed to a church official (bishop), or in many cases to the Lord alone. The repentant sinner must make confession and obtain forgiveness of the Lord.

Confession is a condition of forgiveness. The Lord has said that true repentance is always accompanied by confession (D&C 58:43; 64:7). Confession was clearly a requirement of forgiveness under the law of Moses (Lev. 5:5; 26:40; Num. 5:7; Josh. 7:19; Ezra 10:11). John the Baptist baptized those who repented and confessed their sins (Matt. 3:5–6).

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What to DO When We Struggle

"And it came to pass that the Lord God caused 
that there should be a furious wind blow 
upon the face of the waters, 
towards the promised land; 
and thus they were tossed 
upon the waves of the sea before the wind.

And it came to pass that they were many times 
buried in the depths of the sea, 
because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, 
and also the great and terrible tempests 
which were caused by the fierceness of the wind."

We all struggle in life sometimes, and the winds and the waves and the storms come upon us with the fierceness of wolves.  However as these trials and temptations are beating upon you, look to Christ, that sure foundation, "whereon if men build they cannot fall." (Helaman 5:12)

"And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep 
there was no water that could hurt them, 
their vessels being tight like unto a dish, 
and also they were tight like unto the ark of Noah; 
therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters 
they did cry unto the Lord
and he did bring them forth again 
upon the top of the waters."

If you are having a bad day, say a Prayer.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Meditation on the Law of the Lord

"But his delight is in the law of the Lord; 
and in his law doth he meditate day and night."

How do we delight in the Law of the Lord?

As I was reading this scripture I thought about this question.  I wondered how it applied to me.  I could see that by obedience to the commandments of God I am indeed a happier person, but do I delight in the Law or just act out of fear?

The second half of this verse states that the individual meditates day and night in the Law.  During the times of the Old Testament the 'Law of God' was what we know as the 'Law of Moses'.  So it is saying that we should be meditating, or thinking about, the Law of Moses day and night.

Well what about now?  We don't follow the Law of Moses anymore, so does this scripture become void?


We are supposed to meditate the Higher Law, taught by Christ and His Apostles.  This makes it so that we can always be thinking good uplifting thoughts.  It is when we stop thinking about the Laws of God that we start thinking carnally and cultivate desire to sin.

So to delight in the Law of the Lord is to desire to 'do good continually'. (Alma 19:33)  It becomes something that we are happy about, and willing to do, rather than being told to over and over again.

As we meditate in the Law of the Lord by reading His scriptures and pondering their meanings, we will grow closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ, and be more able to follow His example.

Read a verse or two of scripture each morning and then think about it throughout the day.  I promise it will help in every aspect of your life.