Is the Bible All the Word of God We Have?
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe “the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God (Articles of Faith 8). We love the Bible, but we believe that the Lord speaks to all of his children and many of their written words have been recorded as scripture. We also believe that the Lord continues to speak to his prophets today and their words are scripture (Doctrine and Covenants 1:37-38). Thousands of years prior to the publication of the Book of Mormon, the Lord knew that when that many would try to disprove the Book of Mormon by saying that the Bible was all that is needed. He told an ancient American prophet:
And because my words shall hiss forth—many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible.
Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?
Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?
Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.
And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.
Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.
For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it.
And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews; and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews. (2 Nephi 29:3-13)
Many Christians will point out that John in his book of revelation said that anyone that adds to the Bible would be cursed. (Revelation 22:18) but John was referring to the prophecies contained in that one book, not the entire bible. The Bible as we have it was not published until hundreds of years after John’s revelation was published. If what John wrote about adding to the bible is to be taken literally to mean the bible, then we would have to discard everything after the writings of Moses because he said the same thing about his writings (Deuteronomy 12:32). It is foolish to limit the Lord’s ability to call prophets and speak to us and give us revelation to help us with our needs today.
The Book of Mormon is a second witness to the divinity of Jesus Christ. The title page declares that it was:
Written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation—Written and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed—To come forth by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof—Sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile—The interpretation thereof by the gift of God. . . to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever—And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations. (Book of Mormon – Title Page)
The Bible as we have it today has been changed many times and was subject to mistranslation and interpretation by those who wrote the ancient texts. John Wycliffe was the first to completely translate the Bible into English in the 14th century. William Tyndale was the first to print the Bible in English in 1525. King Henry VIII commissioned the “Great Bible” that was taken mainly from Tyndale’s version of the old and new testaments. Several other versions of the bible were also published (the Geneva Bible and the Bishop’s Bible are two examples). In 1604, King James I commissioned the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, made up of 47 scholars, to publish a new translation of the Bible and in 1611 the King James Bible was published and became the official version used by most Christian churches. The purpose of the King James Bible was to overcome the “perceived problems of earlier translations”. Each of these Bible versions differed in which books were included in the compiled texts. (History of the King James Version)
Because the Bible was subject to the interpretations of the men that translated the texts, errors and misinterpretations were included in the bible. The Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God and is correct and without error. The Prophet Joseph Smith said that “the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than any other book”. (Why is the Book of Mormon the Most Correct of Any Book on Earth?)
Back to my original question – is the Bible all the word of God that we have? My answer is no. The scriptures testify that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. If that is true then if he called and spoke to prophets anciently why would he not do so today? Our testimony is that he does speak through his prophets today and those words are recorded and published as scripture. Not only do we have the Bible, but we have the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ. We also have the Doctrine and Covenants (which is a compilation of the revelations given to the Prophet Joseph Smith) and the Pearl of Great Price which contains the writings of Moses and Abraham and other writings from the Prophet Joseph Smith.
All of these prove that “I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?” (2 Nephi 29:7)
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