June 27


Pattern of Learning in the Scriptures

By Tresta Neil

Called to Learn, Home Education, Key Pattern of Learning

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The scriptures provide us a great pattern for teaching and learning. In 1 Nephi 11 we find both. In this blog I will be focusing on the learning portion, what Nephi experiences because of the pattern.

1 – Want to learn

Nephi desires to see and understand his fathers dream. He responds (acts) on his curiosity by praying, believing the the Lord would make them known unto him and he pondered. (1 Nephi 11:1)

2 – Receive knowledge

Nephi remembers that God is the correct (in this case the only) source to turn to to receive this answer. He is taken away by a spirit and an angel asks, “believest thou that thy father saw the tree?” Nephi answers affirmatively and the spirit responds with, “…thou shalt behold…”(1 Nephi 11:2-4)

3 – Apply knowledge

Nephi is shown an exceedingly beautiful white tree. The Angel asks Nephi what he wants and he asks for the interpretation. The angel says, “look” and he looked. He related to the symbol, asked more questions and took action. (1 Nephi 11:8-11)

4 – Receive understanding


He was shown the virgin Mary bearing the Christ child in her arms. He recognized the principle and is able to answer the angel when he asked, “knowest thou the meaning of the tree?” he responded with, “yea, it is the love of God, …the most desirable above all things.” (1 Nephi 11:12-23)

The pattern of receiving knowledge, applying it and receiving understanding repeats several times. Then the spiral continues as he learns about the interpretation of each of the symbols found in the dream.

5 – Shares understanding

Nephi returns to the tent of his father and, after he receives strength, he speaks to his brothers. (1 Nephi 15:6) They ask, “what meanth this thing which our father saw in a dream? What meanth the tree which he saw?” Nephi then retained his knowledge and understanding by teaching them about the tree of life. (1 Nephi 15:21-22)

6 – Receive wisdom

 Nephi saw and bore record (1 Nephi 11:36) and he bore his testimony to his brothers. After he exhorts his brothers “with all diligence, they did humble themselves before the Lord and he had joy and great hopes for them.” (1 Nephi 16:5) He then states that he, “had been blessed of the Lord exceedingly.” (1 Nephi 16:8)

Throughout Nephi’s life he continued to review and reflect on the experience, he recorded it and taught it to his children. He relied on the revelation given to him.

This act and receive pattern of “Learn – Knowledge – Apply – Understanding – Share – Wisdom” all with revelation and while reflecting and recording is found in many places in the scriptures. Take a look at Ammon, Enos and Alma the Younger. When you know the pattern you can recognize it in many different instances.


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