Abraham 1:2

One of my favorite scriptures is Abraham 1:2, which I think lays out a great plan for a life well lived, a life of active holiness.  Here’s the text:

And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.


There is an awful lot in there.  Consider the nature of the things Abraham set as his goals: he wanted emotional blessings (happiness and peace and rest), physical blessings (numerous posterity), mental blessings (great knowledge), and spiritual blessings (to be a follower of righteousness and a prince of peace). 

He tells us in this verse that he specifcally worked on these goals with certain activities that were designed to help him accomplish what he wanted, and that those exercises all boiled down to two things: keeping the commandments, and growing in the priesthood by utilizing it to perform ordinances for others (to “administer the blessings of the fathers”).  Also important is Abraham’s insistence on holding to true, orthodox tradition (he mentions three times that he wants to be like the “fathers,” and he also mentions three times that he wants to make sure he does everything in the proper manner: he wants the “right to be ordained,” he then becomes a “rightful heir,” and the verse ends by celebrating that he does hold the “right” belonging to the “fathers”).  He even lists among his goals that he himself wants to be a father of many nations. 

Here’s a chart showing my understanding of the verse:

What Abraham wanted

How Abraham got it

1. Greater happiness and peace and rest  → 1. Sought for the blessings of the fathers

2. Sought for the right to be ordained to administer the blessings of the fathers (priesthood)

2. To be one who possessed great knowledge  →

3. To be a greater follower of righteousness  →

4. To possess a greater knowledge  →

5. To be a father of many nations  →

6. To be a prince of peace  →

7. To receive instructions  →

8. To keep the commandments of God  →

3. Had been a follower of righteousness

4. Became a rightful heir, a High Priest


So when the Lord tells us to “do the works of Abraham,” (D&C 132:32) it seems that the proscribed program is fairly clear: keep the commandments and participate in priesthood ordinances.

2 comments on “Abraham 1:2

  1. I think it was Nibley who pointed out that the “works of Abraham” all center in the temple as the three facsimiles in the Book of Abraham attest.

    I also think it a fascinating idea that although Abraham was a High Priest, he still sought for his “appointment unto the Priesthood according to the appointment of God unto the fathers concerning the seed” (Abraham 1:4).

  2. Greg, no argument there. The verse 4 goal seems to me to be a reiteration of the thrust of the verse 2 material, especially as it cpatures the most important umbrella goal of that vast mission–having an eternal family (where you rightly refer to the temple). Perhaps verse 4 also relates to having one’s calling and election made sure? Just speculating.

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