- the accompanying challenge
- free printables of the scripture or related challenge for display in the home
- family home evening lessons for all types of families
- ideas for using the scripture in a talk or lesson
You can find all of the resources at A Year in the Scriptures.
The scripture for April 2017 is 2 Nephi 2:6-8.
6 Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.
7 Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.
8 Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.
Ideas for accomplishing the challenge:
This challenge consists of two parts, one easily accomplished and the other the work of a lifetime.
To approach the second part of the challenge, consider this 16-day journal experience to help us seek after a deeper understanding and testimony of the atonement of our Savior.
There are sixteen journal prompts shared here, designed to guide your reflection on the atonement.
If you begin April 1, you will conclude on Easter Sunday.
In my life so far, the times I have best applied the atonement fully have been when…
The atonement covers our sin, sickness, infirmity, and pain. Right now, the thing most meaningful to me is the atonement’s power to …
The part of the atonement I feel understand best is …
The part of the atonement that feels most incomprehensible to me is …
If I am completely honest with myself and God, the depth of my testimony of the atonement is … What it should be? Weaker than it has been? Stronger than ever?
The one thing I could do to deepen my testimony of the atonement that would make the most difference is …
When I consider the power of the atonement in my life, the words that best describe how I feel are …
The atonement is often described as “infinite and eternal.” To me, this means …
The scriptures say that Christ “offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit” (2 Nephi 2:6). What does it mean to me to have a broken heart and a contrite spirit?
Elder Devn Cornish said, “What a terrible thing to believe mistakenly that sin will be happiness and that repentance will be easy, for one of the terrible consequences of sin is the loss of the Spirit.” What is the hardest part of repentance for me?
“Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4). What are griefs and sorrows the Lord has borne for me? What are some I am insisting on carrying myself that I could surrender to Him?
Whom do I need to forgive to more fully allow the atonement to work its miracle in my life?
The Bible Dictionary describes the atonement as “reconciliation of man to God.” It makes it clear that man is the one who distances himself from God, not God distancing Himself from man. What are the most common ways I distance myself from God? When do I most feel Him reaching out to me?
Elder C. Scott Grow taught, “We access the Atonement through repentance. When we repent, the Lord allows us to put the mistakes of the past behind us.” What do I need to change in my life to have better access to the atonement?
Elder Grow also taught, “Through His Atonement, He heals not only the transgressor, but He also heals the innocent who suffer because of those transgressions.” What has someone done to me that I have not fully used the atonement to heal from? What peace am I lacking that the atonement offers me?
As I have pondered the atonement of the Savior over the past two weeks, how have my feelings grown or changed? What am I going to do differently as a result of my changed feelings and knowledge?
Family Home Evening Ideas
There is an FHE lesson on the atonement in the Church’s FHE manual. These take a little bit of time to read through, yet it’s often worth it, especially as they have the adjustments for the little ones in the lesson.
Either make copies of the activity Remembering Jesus Christ (March 2005 Friend) for each family member or cooperate as a family to complete one framed picture. For each section of the frame, name a way you can better remember the Savior.
The story of the Seminary teacher’s object lesson with donuts and the atonement is an older story, yet if your teens haven’t heard it before, it conveys a powerful message. The story is long enough that it would be a sufficient stand-alone lesson.
Compare The Purifying Power of Gethsemane by Elder Bruce R. McConkie (watch below or click here to read)
Discuss or reflect on the talks with these questions:
- What are the similarities and differences in the approach each apostle took to the atonement?
- Select a line from each talk that you think captures the essence of the message.
- How does each talk add to your understanding and testimony of the atonement?
If you’re interested, you can read the incredibly moving backstory of Elder McConkie’s talk, written by his son, Joseph Fielding McConkie here.
For Lessons and Talks
- These verses (and through verse 13) are Lehi’s counsel and teaching to Nephi’s younger brother, Jacob, the firstborn in the wilderness. Jacob’s own discourse will be chapters 6 – 10.
- This is one of the most profound chapters of doctrine in the Book of Mormon. We find the clearest teachings about the atonement in this chapter, 2 Nephi 9, and Alma 34.
- Verse 6:
- Christ is able to redeem us because he is full of grace (or, as the Bible Dictionary explains, “divine enabling power”). He is the only one because He alone is righteous enough to be completely full of grace.
- Verse 7:
- The phrase “ends of the law” refers to end in the sense of “objective” or “purpose,” as in, “To what end?” In the KJV, this word in Greek is telos, translated as “end” or “purpose” or “aim.”
- A definition of “contrite” from 1828 (so the meaning Joseph Smith would know) is: “Literally worn or bruised. Hence, broken-hearted for sin; deeply affected with grief and sorry for having offended God; humble; penitent; as a contrite sinner.”
- Richard G. Scott: “This absolute requisite of a “broken heart and a contrite spirit” prescribes the need to be submissive, compliant, humble (that is, teachable), and willingly obedient” (General Conference, April 1997). [Referring to verses 6 & 7: “For the proud and haughty, it is as though there were never an Atonement made” (General Conference, April 2010).
- Ezra Taft Benson: “Godly sorrow is defined as a sorrow that leads us to repentance. Godly sorrow is a gift of the Spirit….It is a sharp and keen awareness that our behavior caused the Savior, He who knew no sin, even the greatest of all, to endure agony and suffering. Our sins caused Him to bleed at every pore. This very real mental and spiritual anguish is what the scriptures refer to as having a “broken heart and a contrite spirit.” Such a spirit is the absolute prerequisite for true repentance.” (General Conference, October 1989)
- Verse 8:
- Separate out “merits, and mercy, and grace.” What does it mean to rely on the merits of Christ? The mercy of Christ? The grace of Christ?
- This is one of the few places in the scriptures where we see a direct connection between taught doctrine, in this case the atonement, and the specific action everyone is to take, in this case missionary work.
- “Wherefore” as a conjunction (as used here) means “as a result of which.” So, this verse reads, “As a result of this redemption/atonement, how great the importance…”
- If you would like additional resources on the atonement, these two talks are outstanding: