Oh - but first - a disclaimer. I am not a scholar. I am not a student of historians who interpret and modify and make assumptions on scripture, mixed with history. I am simply a reader, and seek inspiration to apply these verses to my life. So I won't be making assumptions and telling what happened that isn't recorded in these verses. I will simply be applying more depth to what I think the verses entail, and what the authors might be trying to express. That's my intuitive goal–to get what the authors wanted me to get. That said...
1 Nephi 1:1 -
I, Nephi, having been aborn of bgoodly cparents, therefore I was dtaught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many eafflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a frecord of my proceedings in my days.
I'm not sure how to start analyzing this in any comprehensive form, besides to share my thoughts.
I find it interesting that the first word out of Nephi's mouth here is "I". He's introducing himself to us. Just like we would introduce ourselves if we were taking a new class, or meeting someone we wanted to talk to. He's talking to us, so he says, basically, "Hi! My name is Nephi." (Ok, maybe it would be more like, "Hello," minus the exclamation point. Or maybe, "I'm Nephi." I don't know if he would be as excited as I am when I meet someone new.) Anyways, beyond that, he tells us some basics.
- I have good, decent, honorable parents.
- My father taught me some of what he knew.
- I've seen a lot of pain in my life. I haven't been sheltered or lived in a bubble of bliss.
- Even so, God saw fit to bless me greatly. In fact, He made evident His goodness and even taught me His mysteries.
- That's why I'm writing. And it's only about my experience, in my lifetime. I'll let others share their story when it's their time to do so.
1 Nephi 1:2 -
Yea, I make a record in the alanguage of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.
Jen's translation: my dad was bilingual. haha! Just kidding. I don't know if that means he spoke Egyptian but was taught Judiasm, or if that means he spoke both languages. (One of my books already makes the assumption that he was bilingual. If you look closely, it doesn't exactly say that. Or maybe it does?) But it does tell me that he knew of the "learning" of his father. While it doesn't say what Nephi's father's profession was, since this book ends up being about God, I will assume he's talking about learnings of his father which were spiritual or religious in nature. I conclude that to mean he was taught the law of Moses, which was practiced at that time (about 600 B.C.). That also tells me he likely followed through and observed the law of Moses. It means he respected the 10 commandments, he observed the law of the Sabbath, and respected life and loved God. Their family likely participated in feasts of the Passover, offered animal sacrifice, and possibly participated in worshipping God in temples. In principle, Nephi tells us his parents were good, and that tells me they were likely loving and generous. They were likely "religious", but also "spiritual". (The two do not always equal each other.) I can assume the "spiritual" part, in that God showed Nephi of his "goodness" and "mysteries", which He doesn't always do to the simply "religious". There is a difference.
As far as the "language of the Egyptians", it would be interesting to fully understand the history of the region, and why the people in Jerusalem (where Nephi first lived at the beginning of this history) were speaking Egyptian. This is where my ignorance shows through a bit. But I'm not too concerned.
1 Nephi 1:3 -
And I know that the record which I make is atrue; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.
- Nephi just testified that what he's about to share is true. It's as if he's swearing under oath, in front of a court, hand on a Bible, that he is about to share the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help him God. :)
- Nephi etched these things into metal plates with his own hand. He also melded, molded, and shaped the plates with his own hands. He found the ore, melted it down, and created these metal pages for the purpose of sharing these things with us. Incredible.
- He shares only things that he knows. There is no doubt involved that maybe he was hallucinating. He isn't living and sharing other people's experiences. Everything he shares, he experienced first hand. And he knew it would be worth the time and effort to share it, because he knew his efforts would not be fruitless. We would get to read his words, 2612 years after his history begins.
These three verses are only part of the first page of this book, but what a ton of information they hold. How fast I skim over things sometimes. Already I know so much about Nephi and his parents. I'm excited to learn more.
And thank you for that introduction, Nephi! It's nice to meet you. Thanks for taking an interest in me and the people who get to read your words.
p.s. - I wonder what Nephi and his parents look like. Maybe I'll find some pictures to hypothesize. That would be fun.