Evidence #287 | December 20, 2021

Regular Repetition

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Scripture Central


The Book of Mormon’s frequent use of a parallelism known as regular repetition helps support its Hebrew literary origins.

The corresponding elements in many parallelisms involve the repetition of just a single word. In contrast, the category of parallelism known as regular repetition involves “an identical phrase, expression, or sentence repeated regularly throughout [a] paragraph” or literary unit.1 For instance, In Psalm 46:7–11, the same independent clauses conjoined by a semicolon (bolded below) are repeated within five verses:

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Similar examples of repetition are present in the Book of Mormon. In 1 Nephi 18:2 we find the phrase “after the manner” repeated four times in a single verse:

Now I, Nephi, did not work the timbers after the manner which was learned by men, neither did I build the ship after the manner of men; but I did build it after the manner which the Lord had shown unto me; wherefore, it was not after the manner of men.

Another example, this one involving the phrase “wilt thou” can be found in 2 Nephi 4:31–33:

O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin? May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite! O Lord, wilt thou not shut the gates of thy righteousness before me, that I may walk in the path of the low valley, that I may be strict in the plain road! O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine enemies! Wilt thou make my path straight before me! Wilt thou not place a stumbling block in my way—but that thou wouldst clear my way before me, and hedge not up my way, but the ways of mine enemy.


Dozens of examples of regular repetition can be found throughout the Book of Mormon (see Appendix). Especially when viewed in conjunction with the text’s many other parallelisms, its use of regular repetition helps support the Book of Mormon’s Hebrew origins.

Carl J. Cranney, “The Deliberate Use of Hebrew Parallelisms in the Book of Mormon,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 23, no. 1 (2014): 140–165.

Donald W. Parry, Poetic Parallelisms in the Book of Mormon: The Complete Text Reformatted (Provo, UT: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2007).

Donald W. Parry, “Hebraisms and Other Ancient Peculiarities in the Book of Mormon,” in Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2002), 155–189.

Hugh J. Pinnock, Finding Biblical Hebrew and Other Ancient Literary Forms in the Book of Mormon (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1999). 

1 Nephi 4:12

1 Nephi 4:36

1 Nephi 5:8

1 Nephi 8:16–17

1 Nephi 10:9

1 Nephi 10:19

1 Nephi 11:2–5

1 Nephi 13:29

1 Nephi 13:31–32

1 Nephi 14:2

1 Nephi 14:3

1 Nephi 15:27–30

1 Nephi 16:20

1 Nephi 18:2

1 Nephi 19:6

1 Nephi 19:7

1 Nephi 19:34

1 Nephi 22:4–5

2 Nephi 4:32–33

2 Nephi 6:8–9

2 Nephi 16:2

2 Nephi 25:26–27

2 Nephi 25:28–29

2 Nephi 26:16

2 Nephi 28:7–8

2 Nephi 28:24–27

Jacob 5:38–39

Jacob 5:67–68

Mosiah 1:6

Mosiah 2:9–10

Mosiah 3:25–26

Mosiah 9:5

Mosiah 11:3

Mosiah 11:21

Alma 5:6

Alma 10:17–18

Alma 11:21

Alma 12:7

Alma 24:8–10

Alma 24:14

Alma 30:27–28

Alma 31:30–35

Alma 34:18–24

Alma 44:3–4

Alma 49:20

Alma 52:40

Alma 60:18

Alma 62:41

Helaman 9:2

3 Nephi 8:19

3 Nephi 9:20

3 Nephi 10:5–6

3 Nephi 12:31–32

3 Nephi 27:10–11

Mormon 1:17

Mormon 3:12

Mormon 8:40

Mormon 9:34

Ether 13:17

Moroni 7:12–13

Moroni 9:11–13

Moroni 10:32–33

Literary Features
Regular Repetition
Book of Mormon

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