1 And now, I, Nephi, speak concerning the prophecies of which my father hath spoken, concerning Joseph, who was carried into Egypt. [These are not included in our current Bible.]
2 For behold, he truly prophesied concerning all his seed. And the prophecies which he wrote, there are not many greater. [Perhaps only Adam, and the words of the Brother of Jared.] And he prophesied concerning us, and our future generations; and they are written upon the plates of brass. [The previous chapter, Lehi’s references to Joseph, was regarding their posterity.]
3 Wherefore, after my father had made an end of speaking concerning the prophecies of Joseph, he called the children of Laman, his sons, and his daughters, and said unto them: Behold, my sons, and my daughters, who are the sons and the daughters of my firstborn, I would that ye should give ear unto my words. [Only his grandchildren of Laman.]
4 For the Lord God hath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; and inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence.
5 But behold, my sons and my daughters, I cannot go down to my grave save I should leave a blessing upon you; for behold, I know that if ye are brought up in the way ye should go ye will not depart from it.
6 Wherefore, if ye are cursed, behold, I leave my blessing upon you, that the cursing may be taken from you and be answered upon the heads of your parents. [a beautiful merciful act of the Lord]
7 Wherefore, because of my blessing the Lord God will not suffer that ye shall perish; wherefore, he will be merciful unto you and unto your seed forever. [This was an act of faith on Lehi’s part, he received revelation to this and acted upon it.]
8 And it came to pass that after my father had made an end of speaking to the sons and daughters of Laman, he caused the sons and daughters of Lemuel to be brought before him.
9 And he spake unto them, saying: Behold, my sons and my daughters, who are the sons and the daughters of my second son; behold I leave unto you the same blessing which I left unto the sons and daughters of Laman; wherefore, thou shalt not utterly be destroyed; but in the end thy seed shall be blessed. [Lehi truly loved his children and grandchildren.]
10 And it came to pass that when my father had made an end of speaking unto them, behold, he spake unto the sons of Ishmael, yea, and even all his household.
11 And after he had made an end of speaking unto them, he spake unto Sam, saying: Blessed art thou, and thy seed; for thou shalt inherit the land like unto thy brother Nephi. And thy seed shall be numbered with his seed; and thou shalt be even like unto thy brother, and thy seed like unto his seed; and thou shalt be blessed in all thy days. [A testament to the loyalty of Sam. Not much is spoken about Sam in the record, but he trusted in his brother Nephi and lived righteously.]
12 And it came to pass after my father, Lehi, had spoken unto all his household, according to the feelings of his heart and the Spirit of the Lord which was in him, he waxed old. And it came to pass that he died, and was buried. [He grew older and had he not given the blessings when he did, it would have been difficult to do it.]
13 And it came to pass that not many days after his death, Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael were angry with me because of the admonitions of the Lord. [Nephi had confronted them regarding their actions, which were sinful in the sight of God.]
14 For I, Nephi, was constrained to speak unto them, according to his word; for I had spoken many things unto them, and also my father, before his death; many of which sayings are written upon mine other plates; for a more history part are written upon mine other plates.
15 And upon these I write the things of my soul, and many of the scriptures which are engraven upon the plates of brass. For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them [Nephi continually thinks upon the words written by the prophets and the revelations.], and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children. [Nephi does much writing after reaching the promised land.]
16 Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard. [After someone has conversed with angels and the Lord, it is difficult to have a single day go by where you do not ponder upon what you have seen and heard. It never leaves you.]
17 Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities. [This is such an honest reflection of Nephi’s heart. Our bodies are weak and it is a frustration that we cannot always be perfect in every thought and desire. If anyone thinks that a prophet is perfect in every moment they do not understand. The Lord knows this too. I have often expressed my frustration to the Lord for my weakness and he he simply smiles and assures me that he understands. It is only through Him that we can be made clean. He chooses us to do His work according to our faith, which is the desire we have to seek His revelations and to act upon them.]
18 I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me. [Every righteous servant is accompanied by familiar spirits of the Adversary which tempt us according to our weakness.]
19 And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted. [These spirits will remind us that we are weak and unworthy, yet we must trust in the Lord.]
20 My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep. [Remember what the Lord has done for you and why you are of great worth.]
21 He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh. [The baptism of fire you received.]
22 He hath confounded mine enemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me. [The protection from both physical and spiritual enemies.]
23 Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time. [Answers to prayers via revelation, visions, and dreams.]
24 And by day have I waxed bold in mighty prayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high; and angels came down and ministered unto me. [The gifts of the Spirit, including the ministering of angels.]
25 And upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been carried away upon exceedingly high mountains. And mine eyes have beheld great things, yea, even too great for man; therefore I was bidden that I should not write them. [Nephi ascended to the Throne for his full Second Comforter, Calling and Election Made Sure.]
26 O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions? [If the battle is won by Him and for me, why should I sorrow?]
27 And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy? [Nephi does a serious self reflection of his own weaknesses of the flesh. All men and women have weakness because of the flesh. This can include food, sleep, laziness, anger, jealousy, sexual appetites, bitterness, false judgment, impatience, and an endless host of appetites. However, the Lord knows our weakness and looks upon the heart as the seat of our desires. As we work toward harnessing these desires and temper of our flesh, we allow the Spirit to work upon us and we find peace to our souls.]
28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul. [Overcoming sin is like awakening from a slumber. We rise up, leaving behind the sin and get to work. It is comfortable to stay where we are, but the Lord is calling YOU to awaken.]
29 Do not anger again because of mine enemies. [Don’t allow others to determine your peace.] Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions. [Do not lose faith.]
30 Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation. [Praise God during your afflictions, remember His promises to you.]
31 O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin? [Ask the Lord for that which you desire.]
32 May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite! [When we fully submit to the Lord’s will for us Satan has no more power over us.] O Lord, wilt thou not shut the gates of thy righteousness before me, [open the gate of revelation] that I may walkin the path of the low valley, that I may be strict in the plain road!
33 O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! [fill me with the Holy Ghost] O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine enemies! Wilt thou make my path straight before me! Wilt thou not place a stumbling block in my way—but that thou wouldst clear my way before me, and hedge not up my way, but the ways of mine enemy. [Stumbling blocks are often there to teach us or because we did not hearken to the Spirit. This may be part of the process the Lord gives us to learn faith. It doesn’t necessarily mean we have sinned, yet it is appropriate to ask the Lord to remove them as we do His work.]
34 O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm. [This is the single most important advice that a prophet of God will give you from any of the previous six dispensations – Trust in the Lord.]
35 Yea, I know that God will give liberally [without restraint] to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss [true intentions]; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.
This chapter is a good synopsis of how Nephi feels about himself and the process of coming to know the Lord. If we can honestly access ourselves as Nephi, we will have a very realistic view of what it takes to have a prophetic relationship with the Lord as he did.
The entire Book of Mormon is a series of witnesses of different prophets sharing their experiences for how they came to know the Lord. The words of Nephi by themselves carry a complete blueprint for how to come unto Christ. The forthcoming witnesses simply add upon it.