Chapter 11 is Nephi's preface to his Isaiah section. He explains why Isaiah is so important and then he transcribes Isaiah 2-14 from the brass plates. Earlier, in 1 Nephi, he had included Isaiah 48-9 (see 1 Ne 20-1). Jacob, had quoted Isaiah 50 (see 2 Ne 7). Later, Nephi includes portions of Isaiah 29 (see 2 Ne 27). Nephi's great love for the words of Isaiah comes from the Spirit. Nephi had seen in vision many of the things that Isaiah was prophesying about (see 1 Ne 11-14). Isaiah concentrated on some of Nephi's favorite subjects, the house of Israel and the coming of the Messiah, Behold, my soul delighteth in proving unto my people the truth of the coming of Christ (v. 4).
Of the importance of the prophecies of Isaiah, the Bible Dictionary states:
"Isaiah is the most quoted of all the prophets, being more frequently quoted by Jesus, Paul, Peter, and John (in his Revelation) than any other O.T. prophet. Likewise the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants quote from Isaiah more than from any other prophet. The Lord told the Nephites that 'great are the words of Isaiah,' and that all things Isaiah spoke of the house of Israel and of the gentiles would be fulfilled (3 Ne 23:1-3).
"....The reader today has no greater written commentary and guide to understanding Isaiah than the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. As one understands these works better he will understand Isaiah better, and as one understands Isaiah better, he more fully comprehends the mission of the Savior, and the meaning of the covenant that was placed upon Abraham and his seed by which all the families of the earth would be blessed."
It is the opinion of the author of this website (BLR) that one of the reasons that the chapters of Isaiah were included in the Book of Mormon is because most of the latter-day saints don't read the Old Testament. By including these chapters of Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, members of the Church who have a hard time getting through Genesis will still be familiar with the great prophet, Isaiah. If one includes Mosiah 14 (which contains Isaiah 53) and 3 Nephi 22 (which contains Isaiah 54), the Book of Mormon includes 17 of Isaiah's 66 chapters. For the most part, the Book of Mormon includes the most important of these 66 chapters. Some of the other great Isaiah chapters deal with the Messiah and his Second Coming (see Isaiah 24, 42, 51, 52, 58-66). If we read only those portions of Isaiah that are included in the Book of Mormon, we will miss out on the great and profound prophecies contained in these other chapters. Truly, we need to follow the counsel of the Savior and study the words of Isaiah-even if it means reading the Old Testament. For as the Savior said, ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah (3 Ne 23:1). It should be remembered that Isaiah is the only prophet whom the Lord singled out as a great prophet whose prophecies should be specifically studied.
Nephi recognized the similarities between himself, Jacob, and Isaiah. All three had been privileged to see the Savior, to witness portions of his mortal ministry, and to be given knowledge about how the house of Israel will be gathered home in the last days. Their combined witness declares that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, that the promises of the fathers given to the house of Israel will all be fulfilled, and that God lives, for they had all seen him. As Nephi declares, by the words of three, God hath said, I will establish my word.
Jeffrey R. Holland
"I am suggesting here that Nephi, Jacob, and Isaiah are three early types and shadows of Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martine Harris, if you will-witnesses positioned right at the front of the book where Oliver, David, and Martin would be positioned-that Nephi, Jacob, and Isaiah are the three great ancient witnesses of the Book of Mormon-or more particularly, the first three great witnesses in the Book of Mormon testifying to the divinity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, he who will be the central, commanding, presiding figure throughout the Book of Mormon. Nephi stresses this idea himself when he writes in the eleventh chapter of 2 Nephi: [verses 2-3]." ("For a Wise Purpose," Ensign, Jan. 1996, p. 14)
For Christians, the Law of Moses is often looked to as a type to teach us of Christ. As Paul said, it is the schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ (Gal 3:24). It teaches of things which are holy and things which are not holy, that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean (Lev 10:10). It teaches about the nature of the sacrifice of the Only-Begotten, i.e. firstborn, male, without blemish, etc.
But there are other events which may not be directly related to the Law of Moses which are a type of Christ:
Many other examples could be used. Suffice it to say that the value of the Law of Moses and the other events which point us to Christ is that they help us more fully understand the meaning, implications, depth, and power of the mission and atonement of Jesus Christ.
Nephi teaches us how to get personal benefit out of the scriptures. The scriptures often speak to individuals who were in very different situations than ours, but the principles of the gospel and the fruits of righteousness are the same. We should, therefore, study the scriptures with the intent to apply them to our lives, to imagine that the Lord is speaking directly to us, and to respond to our callings as the prophets of old did.
"Gospel principles do not tarnish with time, nor do they apply with greater effect in one day than in another. The Lord has said, 'What I say unto one I say unto all' (D&C 93:49). The art of gospel teaching is to make timeless principles timely. Nephi did this by taking those prophecies that were made to the entire house of Israel and specifically applying them to his own family, who are part of the house of Israel." (McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 1, p. 149)
Gene R. Cook
"It is absolutely essential to apply the scriptures to yourself...[when] we're searching to apply them to our own hearts is when they really come alive...If you really want to come unto the Lord, if you really want to draw close to Him and find out how He is, how He works, how He thinks, what He counts to be important and what He doesn't, you'll find it in the scriptures." (LDS Church News, Deseret News, Nov. 19, 1988)
"Do you read the Scriptures, my brethren and sisters, as though you were writing them, a thousand, two thousand, or five thousand years ago? Do you read them as though you stood in the place of the men who wrote them? If you do not feel thus, it is your privilege to do so, that you may be as familiar with the spirit and meaning of the written word of God as you are with your daily walk and conversation, or as you are with your workmen or with your households." (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 128 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p.63)