Sister Scriptures

Selected references bear striking resemblance to one another.

September 3, 2017

Every once in a while I come across a scripture that, all of a sudden, reminds me of another scripture for the very first time. Usually, after comparing the references I find myself bewildered that I hadn't connected them earlier. It's as if the scripture references were long-lost siblings--I just hadn't ever noticed the family resemblance. For instance:

Helaman 3:35

35 Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.

I recently read that verse and noticed two familiar concepts underpinning the verse:

Can you think of another well-known Book of Mormon reference with those concepts?

Ether 12:27

27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

Even beyond the concepts highlighted above, both scripture references convey very similar ideas. I'll list some the ideas from each verse (Ether 12:27 on the left, Helaman 3:35 on the right):

  1. "And if men come unto me" == "they did fast and pray oft"
  2. "humble themselves before me" == "stronger and stronger in their humility"
  3. "have faith in me" == "firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ"
  4. "then will I make weak things become strong unto them" == "filling their souls with joy and consulation...purifying and the sanctification of their hearts"

Why do you suppose I hadn't made that connection before? Maybe it's because Helaman comes before Ether. The Helaman reference is actually a concrete example of the principles so plainly stated in the Ether reference. Here's another example of a concrete example occuring well before a more succinct rendering (again, by Moroni) of an important principle:

2 Nephi 33:3-7

3 But I, Nephi, have written what I have written, and I esteem it as of great worth, and especially unto my people. For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry.


7 I have charity for my people, and great faith in Christ that I shall meet many souls spotless at his judgment-seat.

What's the principle? Again, Moroni spells it out for us:

Moroni 7:48

48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

Do you see how the 2 Nephi reference is a practical application of the Moroni reference? Moroni does a wonderful job (in both of cases) summarizing the truths found in the words and experiences of those who came before him. His roles as final caretaker and steward of the gold plates are fitting, don't you think?

The scriptures reinforce themselves via wonderful and intricate connections and cross-references. Which ones have you noticed lately?

-Michael Whatcott