3 Nephi may be the most important part of the Book of Mormon, and Alma may be the most literary, but the oft-ignored and maligned book of 2 Nephi is actually my favorite. To see why, consider this brief outline categorized by genre:
- chapters 1-3: patriarchal blessings
- chapter 4: blessings and a psalm
- chapter 5: narrative
- chapters 6-10: sermon on scriptural exegesis and the Atonement
- chapters 11-24: scripture quotations with modifications from KJV text
- chapters 25-26: exegesis and prophecy based on quoted material
- chapter 27: prophecy flexibly adapting yet another scripture quotation
- chapters 28-30: prophecy
- chapter 31: exposition summarizing the doctrine of Christ
- chapters 32-33: testimony
2 Nephi is a book for scripture nerds!
The Book of Mormon overall is mostly narrative, yet 2 Nephi only gives us one single chapter of that. The rest covers the gamut of inspired poetry and prose: blessings, psalms, sermons, quotations, interpretation and application, prophecy, teaching, and testimony. It’s a greatest hits of scriptural genres! A cornucopia of religious writing, a veritable little library unto itself!
And look at the topics covered! We get one of the Book of Mormon’s best sermons on the Atonement, we get our best look into the heart of Nephi with his poetry, and we get the clearest exposition of basic gospel doctrine outside of the Savior’s teachings later in the book.
2 Nephi is a joyous celebration of scripture study itself. It’s all about a way of life based on the sacred written word.
What more could anybody want? :)