The First Mention of Christ in the Book of Mormon

I taught a Book of Mormon class at Brigham Young University summer 2012.  During one of the classes, we had this teaching moment.  I explained that the Book of Mormon focuses on Jesus Christ.  Indeed, “Christ” is mentioned more than 300 times in the Book of Mormon.

Dr. Halverson, “Where is the first use of the name “Christ” in the Book of Mormon?”

Students, after some searching, “2 Nephi 10:3.”

Dr. Halverson, “If Christ is the central figure of the Book of Mormon, why isn’t the name “Christ” used until 78 pages in to the Book of Mormon?  We are nearly 15% through the Book of Mormon and this is the first time that the name “Christ” is used!  Why?”

Students, practicing careful reading, “Because Jacob explains ‘for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name.'”

Dr. Halverson, “OK, great.  But why didn’t Jacob know Christ’s name before that time?”

Students, stumped by the question, “We don’t know.”

Dr. Halverson, “The word “Christ” is Greek.  The same term in Hebrew is “Messiah” which Jacob and Nephi use on a number of occasions.”

Students, “Ohh, Nephi and Jacob didn’t know Greek.  They would not have used a Greek word to talk about Him when they came from a Hebrew speaking culture.  They would have used other names for Him from their own language and culture.”

Dr. Halverson, “Exactly. That is why the phrase “Lamb of God” is so often used by Nephi.  He didn’t know Christ’s name in Greek and so Nephi used a title from his Hebrew background that referred to Jesus Christ.  It wasn’t until Nephi’s brother Jacob reveals the name “Christ” that suddenly the phrase “Lamb of God” falls out of use (used 25 times before Jacob’s revelation and only 6 times afterwards) and “Christ” becomes one of the primary terms used to name Him.”

About Taylor Halverson

I love learning. I love connecting. I love interdisciplinarity.
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