Seven Parts of Every Covenant – Victor Ludlow

Dr. Victor Ludlow, Professor of Ancient Scripture at BYU

Dr. Victor Ludlow, Professor of Ancient Scripture at BYU

Yesterday Dr. Victor Ludlow presented an address about covenants at BYU Education Week.  It was reported on by Sean Walker at BYU NewsNet, from which I reference the elements below.

In his presentation Dr. Ludlow explained what a covenant is and how it has been used throughout history in making promises between man and God, and also between man and man; in addition to religious covenants, these types of agreements are also used to seal secular and political deals.

Dr. Ludlow listed seven elements that are part of every covenant-making process (not necessarily in chronological order):

  1. Begins with a preface to explain the covenant and those involved.
  2. Historical context of covenant is explained.
  3. Stipulations are given, or what each party agrees to do.
  4. Ritual act, or some symbolic occurrence that shows that each party has entered into the covenant.
  5. Rewards and punishments, or blessings and cursings, for obeying or breaking the covenant.
  6. Witnesses must be present.
  7. The covenant continues for a determined length of time. Covenants with God that can be for “even eternity.”

When studying any covenant, whether secular or spiritual, it would be good to break it down into these seven elements in order to better understand it, particularly if you are the one entering into the promises.


  1. Mark Greene
    Posted August 20, 2008 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    In connection with Victor Ludow’s talk about covenants, an interesting study is the covenant of Captain Moroni in Alma 46 of the Book of Mormon.
    1. The historical preface and context of the covenant Alma 46:1–10
    2.The name of the covenant was “the title of liberty” Alma 46:13
    3. The reasons for the covenant Alma 46:12,20
    4. The stipulations of the covenant: Alma 46:20–21
    5. Those making the covenant were called “Christians” because they took on them the name of Christ. Alma 46:15,18
    6. The flag as a sign of the covenant Alma 46:19
    7. The “rending their garments in token” of the covenant Alma 46:21
    8. The penalty for breaking the covenant Alma 46:21–22
    9. The historical precedence and connection to an older covenant still in force Alma 46:23–27
    10. The witness of the covenant Alma 46:29
    Wow! This is a fascinating look at a covenant for temple study.

  2. Posted August 20, 2008 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    Excellent example of the covenant pattern, Mark! Thank you for sharing this.

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