Saturday, June 4, 2011

Of pearls, margin marks, and giants

In my scripture study I’ve been doing something new that I haven’t done before. I’ve been trying to pick out exactly what is in the Pearl of Great Price that is an addition to what is in Genesis. I want to know what really makes it a “pearl of great price.”

Here’s what I've been doing:
  1. When I start a new chapter in Moses, I compare it to what is in Genesis.
  2. In Genesis, I put a '<' in the margin where more was revealed to Joseph Smith.
  3. In Moses, I draw a line in along the margin of all the text also found in Genesis so that I can tell at a glance exactly where Joseph Smith’s revelations start and end. (This makes it so that I don't have to keep flipping back and forth between the two accounts.)
  4. Then I start asking myself questions about the newly revealed parts like, “What does this have that made it something Heavenly Father wanted us to know?” “Why is this information in here?” “What does this imply that Genesis didn’t?”
Sometimes it looks like the added stuff is almost an afterthought, but when I sit and think about it for a while, I begin to see things I never thought of before.

I’ll give you a small example. In Genesis 6:4 says, “There were giants in the earth in those days” That’s all we are told, that they existed. In Moses 8:18 it says, “And in those days there were giants on the earth, and they sought Noah to take away his life; but the Lord was with Noah, and the power of the Lord was upon him.”

So Genesis tells us there were giants. We think, Wow! Giants! And we are impressed. But Moses adds that those giants wanted to kill Noah, which is not very impressive behavior. It this point I started wondering, Why is this in here? What can this teach me? It came to me: Those men were physical giants, yet they were spiritual midgets. Pygmies, as it were.

The cool thing was that even though Noah had giants trying to assassinate him, the Lord was with him and gave him power. I can’t help but wonder if there’s a David-and-Goliath type story behind that, or a Nephi-versus-Laban type story, or a Jesus-passed-out-of-the-midst type story. Whatever it was, we learn being a spiritual giant trumps being a physical giant.

So I have two questions for you:
  1. Regarding the study method I have described, have you done this before? If so, what did you learn?
  2. Concerning spiritual giants, how would you complete this sentence?: “A spiritual giant is one who____________.”


Gdub said...

I did this with the sections of Isaiah found in the Book of Mormon. However, I went by individual words, so, unique words or phrases were highlighted in a paperback copy of the Book of Mormon and in my Old Testament. In my copy of the OT, I also put marks to distinguish where something was missing. It was quite informative.

Michaela Stephens said...

Good job! I've done that too! Isn't it interesting?