In verse 1, look for all the things we learn about Nephi.
1Nephi 1:1 I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.
First, we learn that he had “goodly” parents, or was taught correct principles. This is an important piece of information for us to know. Having a foundation of truth to build upon is essential for anyone to come to a sure knowledge.
Next, we learn that he had seen many afflictions in his life. Trials or tests are part of the learning process we go through in this life to prove us. The test of obedience and sacrifice is made more fully when one is experiencing difficulty, as is illustrated by Job. It is interesting to note the attitude Nephi has about his afflictions as he adds, nevertheless that he was highly favored of the Lord.
Could Nephi have viewed afflictions as part of the process he was to experience to receive a sure knowledge of truth?
Do we view our afflictions and trials as ways we can increase our faith as we come to know the Lord?
Finally we learn that he had come to a “great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God.” This knowledge came to Nephi because of the experiences that he had, allowing him to receive of the Lord. This is made clear because he shares that mysteries, for man, were revealed to him by a higher source than man.
1) of learning true principles by faith, or having a belief
2) then passing through tests which allow us to experience a trial of that faith,
results in the blessing of “great knowledge”, even of the mysteries of God.
I believe that even in the very first verse of Nephi’s record he is trying to help us understand what it will take for us to receive the same “great knowledge” that he has received.
In verses 2-3, look for what we learn about the record.
1 Nephi 1:2 Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.
3 And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.
The first thing we discover is that Nephi makes the record himself, with his own hand. This establishes the fact that Nephi is the creator of the record we are to receive. Even though he explains that it is written in the language of his father, it is still his account of his experiences with the Lord.
The fact that he is the creator of the record allows for the easy transition he makes to testify of the records truthfulness. He states he made it, he knows it is true and adds the reason that he is able to make this bold statement is because of his “knowledge”.
What have we already discovered he “knew” by the description of himself in verse 1?
Not only can we have confidence in Nephi, because he has shared his experience of the process of “knowing”, but we can now have confidence in the record too. We discover that one who “knows” gives us a statement of its truthfulness.
What must we do to have the same knowledge as Nephi does?