3 Nephi 17:8 Why “I See?”

3 Nephi 17:8 Why “I See?” April 8, 2022

This morning as I read 3 Nephi 17:8, a phrase stuck out in a way I hadn’t noticed before: I see.

For I perceive that ye desire that I should show unto you what I have done unto your brethren at Jerusalem, for I see that your faith is sufficient that I should heal you.

I see that your faith is sufficient. Why see? Why not one of the other senses, like feel, or even words like know or believe?  

Girl using fingers as glasses I see
Photo by Edi Libedinsky on Unsplash

I had the thought to look up See in Webster’s 1828 dictionary to learn what the word meant during Joseph Smith’s lifetime.  The definitions fascinated me and definitely not only answered my question about the applicability of the word see in that verse and context, but expanded my understanding of it.


verb transitive. [Latin sequor, and Eng. essay, are all from the same radix. The primary sense of the root is to strain, stretch, extend; and as applied to see, the sense is to extend to, to reach, to strike with the eye or sight.]

1. To perceive by the eye; to have knowledge of the existence and the apparent qualities of objects by the organs of sight; to behold.

2. To observe; to note or notice; to know; to regard or look to; to take care; to attend, as to

the execution of some order, or to the performance of something.

3. To discover; to descry; to understand.

4. To converse … with.

5. To visit; as, to call and see a friend.

6. To attend; to remark or notice.

7. To behold with patience or sufferance; to endure.

8. In Scripture, to hear or attend to.

9. To feel; to suffer; to experience.

10. To know; to learn.

11. To perceive; to understand; to comprehend.

12. To perceive; to understand experimentally.

13. To beware.

14. To know by revelation.

15. To have faith in and reliance on.

16. To enjoy; to have fruition of.

SEEverb intransitive

1. To have the power of perceiving by the proper organs, or the power of sight.

2. To discern; to have intellectual sight; to penetrate; to understand; with through or into; as, to see through the plans or policy of another; to see into artful schemes and pretensions.

3. To examine or inquire.

4. To be attentive.

5. To have full understanding.

In 3 Nephi 17:8 Jesus Christ truly sees in every sense of the word

For I perceive that ye desire that I should show unto you what I have done unto your brethren at Jerusalem, for I see that your faith is sufficient that I should heal you.

Jesus Christ truly does see and invites me to see, too! I’m so grateful for Him and the chance I have to explore and expand my understanding of His characteristics.

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