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What Does It Mean to Believe in Christ?


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3 Nephi 12:1

Therefore blessed are ye if ye shall believe in me and be baptized

after that ye have seen me and know that I am.

 

Questions:

  1. What does it mean to believe in something, in modern English?
  2. What does it mean to believe in a person, in modern English?
  3. What does it mean to believe in Christ, in modern English?
  4. What does "know that I am" mean in modern English?
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1 hour ago, Jared Livesey said:

3 Nephi 12:1

Therefore blessed are ye if ye shall believe in me and be baptized

after that ye have seen me and know that I am.

Questions:

  1. What does it mean to believe in something, in modern English?
  2. What does it mean to believe in a person, in modern English?
  3. What does it mean to believe in Christ, in modern English?
  4. What does "know that I am" mean in modern English?

Faith in Christ means you have a spiritual and emotional connection with Him; knowing that He exists means you have an intellectual process based on input from any of the five senses. Faith in Him can yield spiritual knowledge that He exists, based on the testimony of the Holy Spirit. When the senses are quickened, the knowledge that He exists is similarly quickened. Faith in Him is always required to maintain a spiritual and emotional connection with Him regardless of the extent or kind(s) of knowledge attained.

Edited by CV75
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How would you fold this in?

Ether 3

19 And because of the knowledge of this man,
he could not be kept from beholding within the veil.
And he saw the finger of Jesus,
which when he saw, he fell with fear,
for he knew that it was the finger of the Lord.
And he had faith no longer,
for he knew, nothing doubting.

20 Wherefore having this perfect knowledge of God,
he could not be kept from within the veil.
Therefore he saw Jesus, and he did minister unto him.
 

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Ok I’m starting to get reports of to many threads at once.  For conversation sake limit how many discussions you are going to have at once.  

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2 hours ago, Jared Livesey said:

How would you fold this in?

Ether 3

19 And because of the knowledge of this man,
he could not be kept from beholding within the veil.
And he saw the finger of Jesus,
which when he saw, he fell with fear,
for he knew that it was the finger of the Lord.
And he had faith no longer,
for he knew, nothing doubting.

20 Wherefore having this perfect knowledge of God,
he could not be kept from within the veil.
Therefore he saw Jesus, and he did minister unto him.
 

One element of faith.  Faith in the existence of Christ vs a Knowledge.  The Brother of Jared's faith was surpassed by his knowledge.  But not in all aspects of his life.

He still needed faith daily just as we do.  Seeing visions doesn't solve the faith journey.  We have dozens of examples that seeing is not superior to believing in faith.

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12 hours ago, Jared Livesey said:

3 Nephi 12:1

Therefore blessed are ye if ye shall believe in me and be baptized

after that ye have seen me and know that I am.

Questions:

  1. What does it mean to believe in something, in modern English?
  2. What does it mean to believe in a person, in modern English?
  3. What does it mean to believe in Christ, in modern English?
  4. What does "know that I am" mean in modern English?

The better question might be what do those phrases mean in Early Modern English, the 16th and 17th century language in which the Book of Mormon was dictated.  We could consult the known literature and Bible translations of that period in order to give us some indication -- the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) could be helpful in that endeavor, since it gives vast examples of actual usage.

I would prefer to take a look at the meaning of such terms in the Greek and Hebrew biblical sources available to us.  William F. Albright, for example, analyzed the use of the 1st person qal-causative-indicative Hebrew ’ehye of Exodus 3:14 (= LXX & NT Greek egō eimi in John 8:58, where “I am” in the KJV is discussed in a footnote in the LDS Bible: “The term I AM used here in the Greek is identical with the Septuagint usage in Ex. 3:14 which identifies Jehovah; cf. also John 4:26.)”[1]], the actual meaning is thus “I-Cause-to-Come-Into-Existence; It-Is-I-who-Create” (Exodus 3:14), i.e., a divine epithet rather than name.  Jesus’ use of that very term, undoubtedly in Hebrew, was considered blasphemy by Jews there in the temple precincts in John 8:58-59. 


[1] LDS 1979 KJV Holy Bible, 1342 n. 58b.

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12 hours ago, Jared Livesey said:

How would you fold this in?

Ether 3

19 And because of the knowledge of this man,
he could not be kept from beholding within the veil.
And he saw the finger of Jesus,
which when he saw, he fell with fear,
for he knew that it was the finger of the Lord.
And he had faith no longer,
for he knew, nothing doubting.

20 Wherefore having this perfect knowledge of God,
he could not be kept from within the veil.
Therefore he saw Jesus, and he did minister unto him.
 

That is a momentary juncture where faith transitioned into knowledge. Jared continued to exercise faith and obtain knowledge (see Alma 32 for how this works). Faith and knowledge are part of an ongoing dynamic, and I view them as two forms of the same thing since both are principles of power (but for developmental reasons it is helpful for us to tease them out).

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It may be possible that consulting A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles; Founded Mainly on the Materials Collected by The Philological Society (the 1st edition of what is commonly known as the Oxford English Dictionary, or OED) might be helpful in answering the questions posed in the OP.  On the other hand, since the OED didn't exist at the time of the publication of the Book of Mormon, it may be possible to answer them without it.

Edited by Jared Livesey
inserted easier to use link
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47 minutes ago, CV75 said:

That is a momentary juncture where faith transitioned into knowledge. Jared continued to exercise faith and obtain knowledge (see Alma 32 for how this works). Faith and knowledge are part of an ongoing dynamic, and I view them as two forms of the same thing since both are principles of power (but for developmental reasons it is helpful for us to tease them out).

How might the brother of Jared's experience (and that of the Nephites) relate to this?

Matt 7, JST

30 Verily, I say unto you, It is not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, that shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.

31 For the day soon cometh that men shall come before me to judgment, to be judged according to their works.

32 And many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name; and in thy name cast out devils; and in thy name done many wonderful works?

33 And then will I say, Ye never knew me [KJV: I never knew you]; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

 

 

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6 hours ago, Jared Livesey said:

It may be possible that consulting A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles; Founded Mainly on the Materials Collected by The Philological Society (the 1st edition of what is commonly known as the Oxford English Dictionary, or OED) might be helpful in answering the questions posed in the OP.  On the other hand, since the OED didn't exist at the time of the publication of the Book of Mormon, it may be possible to answer them without it.

Good luck with that.

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5 hours ago, Jared Livesey said:

How might the brother of Jared's experience (and that of the Nephites) relate to this?

Matt 7, JST

30 Verily, I say unto you, It is not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, that shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.

31 For the day soon cometh that men shall come before me to judgment, to be judged according to their works.

32 And many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name; and in thy name cast out devils; and in thy name done many wonderful works?

33 And then will I say, Ye never knew me [KJV: I never knew you]; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

My bias leans toward the brother of Jared and the Nephites not referring to their works in this way in their day of judgement. Perhaps more significantly, I do not see them appealing to their works in taking either a defensive or offensive position against judgement.

As to their experiences: The Nephites lived some 200 years in a Zion-like society after hearing a very similarly-worded message in 3 Nephi 14 (see 4 Nephi 1:1-18), so I doubt they would be counted as working iniquity. Likewise, the brother of Jared taught the people to walk humbly before the Lord and to be taught from on high (Ether 6: 12 - 17, 30), so I doubt he would be counted as working iniquity either.

But certainly people who have these experiences can still at some point deny the Christ in this way (verse 32) to the point of Him denying them (verse 33). I just don't see that being suggested for the brother of Jared or the Nephites in the Book of Mormon record.

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Good luck with that.

The usefulness of the OED towards the questions in the OP can be tested.

Those interested in this endeavor may answer the following questions, with respect to 3 Nephi 12:1:

  1. What does it mean "to believe in" something, in modern English?
  2. What does it mean "to believe in" a person, in modern English?
  3. What does it mean "to believe in" Christ, in modern English?
  4. What does "know that I am" mean in modern English?

Then, using the OED, answer the following questions, with respect to 3 Nephi 12:1:

  1. What does it mean "to believe in" something, in Early Modern English?
  2. What does it mean "to believe in" a person, in Early Modern English?
  3. What does it mean "to believe in" Christ, in Early Modern English?
  4. What does "know that I am" mean in Early Modern English?

Then we can answer: Does using the OED, as opposed to, say, a dictionary of modern English, lead to any significant difference in meaning being attached to these phrases as they are used in 3 Nephi 12:1?  Why, or why not?

Edited by Jared Livesey
clarifying the context
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1 hour ago, CV75 said:

But certainly people who have these experiences can still at some point deny the Christ in this way...

In what way do those mentioned in v. 32 deny Christ?

2 Nephi 31

14 But behold, my beloved brethren,
thus came the voice of the Son unto me, saying:
After that ye have repented of your sins and witnessed unto the Father
that ye are willing to keep my commandments by the baptism of water
and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost
and can speak with a new tongue
—yea, even with the tongue of angels—
and after this should deny me,
it would have been better for you that ye had not known me.
15 And I heard a voice from the Father, saying:
Yea, the words of my Beloved are true and faithful;
he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.
16 And now my beloved brethren,
I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end
in following the example of the Son of the living God
,
he cannot be saved.

Questions:

  1. Baptism is supposed to signify to God that one is willing [modern English: wanting, desiring, wishing] to keep Jesus's commandments.  What then does it mean to deny him (v. 14)?
  2. "He that endureth to the end" in doing what, exactly (v. 15)?
  3. When we say that Jesus is our exemplar, what do we mean (v.16)?  
  4. What, with actionable specificity, did Jesus do that we are supposed to be doing (v. 16)?
Edited by Jared Livesey
splitting up question 3 into 2 questions.
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1 hour ago, Jared Livesey said:

The usefulness of the OED towards the questions in the OP can be tested.

Those interested in this endeavor may answer the following questions, with respect to 3 Nephi 12:1:

  1. What does it mean "to believe in" something, in modern English?
  2. What does it mean "to believe in" a person, in modern English?
  3. What does it mean "to believe in" Christ, in modern English?
  4. What does "know that I am" mean in modern English?

Then, using the OED, answer the following questions, with respect to 3 Nephi 12:1:

  1. What does it mean "to believe in" something, in Early Modern English?
  2. What does it mean "to believe in" a person, in Early Modern English?
  3. What does it mean "to believe in" Christ, in Early Modern English?
  4. What does "know that I am" mean in Early Modern English?

Then we can answer: Does using the OED, as opposed to, say, a dictionary of modern English, lead to any significant difference in meaning being attached to these phrases as they are used in 3 Nephi 12:1?  Why, or why not?

Depends on whether you are engaging in exegesis or eisegesis.  If you have predetermined the meanings according to mere surface knowledge of modern 21st century American English usage, and taken them out of context, your success might be minimal.  It is an initial test which you yourself must engage.  Once you have done that, it is then time to explore the scholarly understanding of all such terms in Hebrew and Greek (not ignoring the Aramaic targums, which Jesus loved to use -- they are interpretive translations).

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If you have performed the test, you are welcome to show your results if you wish.  The thrust of the questions in the OP was to invite any who cared to respond to render the following snippet into modern English.

3 Nephi 12:1

Therefore blessed are ye if ye shall believe in me and be baptized
after that ye have seen me and know that I am.

If using the OED to assist in the translation of this snippet into modern English produces a materially different rendition than would the use of a dictionary of modern English, then the details of those differences might be of interest to some.

Edited by Jared Livesey
edited to invite a detailed explanation of the usefulness of the OED in this exercise
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2 hours ago, Jared Livesey said:

In what way do those mentioned in v. 32 deny Christ?

There are many ways and means to deny, endure, exemplify and emulate in the context of the questions.

What are the most salient for you?

Edited by CV75
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The way we use 'believe' today in English is primarily to indicate an opinion that something exists or is the case. Like a 'sacred guess' (my term to try to capture the phenomenon). Sometimes we use the word 'believe' to show commitment, such as "I believe in freedom," where we are saying that we try to live our lives by it and to create it.

I have come to know for myself that what is meant in the scriptures is much more to the second usage and nothing to do with the first usage.

For me, 'belief' is an installation of an operating program in the energy of the body.

'Christ' a path, a way of being.

So when we believe in Christ, it is to take on (install) his form in us--being as he is, thinking as he thinks, feeling as he feels, choosing as he chooses, serving as he serves, living as he does, walking as he does, doing as he does. I got this from the way it is used in the scriptures.

For me, faith and belief are not the same thing.

Faith is a process (thus, more verb). It is the planting of a seed (belief; and thus more a noun) and the growth of that seed through stages; culminating in knowledge, which is when the body has mastered (fruit) what was planted; in this case what was planted is Christ.

 

 

 

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On 10/18/2020 at 4:45 PM, Jared Livesey said:

How does one deny a person in general?

2 Tim 2:12  "If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:"

Mat 10:33  "But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."

Titus 1:16  "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate."

Serious stuff here.

Given that denying God is done through works, it would seem that acknowledging or believing in God would also come through works or the bearing of good fruit.

Edited by InCognitus
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17 hours ago, Maidservant said:

The way we use 'believe' today in English is primarily to indicate an opinion that something exists or is the case. Like a 'sacred guess' (my term to try to capture the phenomenon). Sometimes we use the word 'believe' to show commitment, such as "I believe in freedom," where we are saying that we try to live our lives by it and to create it.

I have come to know for myself that what is meant in the scriptures is much more to the second usage and nothing to do with the first usage.

For me, 'belief' is an installation of an operating program in the energy of the body.

'Christ' a path, a way of being.

So when we believe in Christ, it is to take on (install) his form in us--being as he is, thinking as he thinks, feeling as he feels, choosing as he chooses, serving as he serves, living as he does, walking as he does, doing as he does. I got this from the way it is used in the scriptures.

For me, faith and belief are not the same thing.

Faith is a process (thus, more verb). It is the planting of a seed (belief; and thus more a noun) and the growth of that seed through stages; culminating in knowledge, which is when the body has mastered (fruit) what was planted; in this case what was planted is Christ.

"Faith is a principle of action" - Lectures on Faith 1 https://lecturesonfaith.com/1/   Emphasis added

Quote

 

8 Now faith is the substance [assurance] of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

9 From this we learn, that faith is the assurance which men have of the existence of things which they have not seen; and the principle of action in all intelligent beings.

10 If men were duly to consider themselves, and turn their thoughts and reflections to the operations of their own minds, they would readily discover that it is faith, and faith only, which is the moving cause of all action, in them; that without it, both mind and body would be in a state of inactivity, and all their exertions would cease, both physical and mental.

11 Were this class to go back and reflect upon the history of their lives, from the period of their first recollection, and ask themselves, what principle excited them to action, or what gave them energy and activity, in all their lawful avocations, callings and pursuits, what would be the answer? Would it not be that it was the assurance which we had of the existence of things which we had not seen, as yet?—Was it not the hope which you had, in consequence of your belief in the existence of unseen things, which stimulated you to action and exertion, in order to obtain them? Are you not dependent on your faith, or belief, for the acquisition of all knowledge, wisdom and intelligence? Would you exert yourselves to obtain wisdom and intelligence, unless you did believe that you could obtain them? Would you have ever sown if you had not believed that you would reap? Would you have ever planted if you had not believed that you would gather? Would you have ever asked unless you had believed that you would receive? Would you have ever sought unless you had believed that you would have found? Or would you have ever knocked unless you had believed that it would have been opened unto you? In a word, is there any thing that you would have done, either physical or mental, if you had not previously believed? Are not all your exertions, of every kind, dependent on your faith? Or may we not ask, what have you, or what do you possess, which you have not obtained by reason of your faith? Your food, your raiment, your lodgings, are they not all by reason of your faith? Reflect, and ask yourselves, if these things are not so. Turn your thoughts on your own minds, and see if faith is not the moving cause of all action in yourselves; and if the moving cause in you, is it not in all other intelligent beings?

 

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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2 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

"Faith is a principle of action" - Lectures on Faith 1 https://lecturesonfaith.com/1/   Emphasis added

 

Exactly. Lectures on Faith was definitely part of my arrival on my view. I think somewhere in there it says that faith is a principle of creation, so that's my favorite word more than action, but it's semantics :).

 

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3 hours ago, Maidservant said:

Exactly. Lectures on Faith was definitely part of my arrival on my view. I think somewhere in there it says that faith is a principle of creation, so that's my favorite word more than action, but it's semantics :).

 

Well it's a little hard to create if you do not take action, and have no faith that you can finish it1  ;)

 

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