Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Reasoning for Additional Scripture

Most Christian religions believe that the Bible is God's only scripture. But in our religion we believe that God continues to reveal His word today, and that there can be other additional scripture. We believe that all scripture will work together to testify of Christ, and to testify of the truths of God.

The Book of Mormon records some of God's word on the issue of additional scripture. I recently re-read this passage of scripture, and was impressed by several points made.

Additional scripture helps in the gathering of scattered Israel:

God begins in 2 Nephi 29 by giving some of the reasons for addtional scripture. He reminds us that part of the reason for bringing forth scripture is to fulfill covenants He made, that scattered Israel would be gathered. In addition, the writers of the Book of Mormon had prayed that God would one day gather again their own posterity if they dwindled in unbelief. The Book of Mormon was written for our day, and specifically for the descendants of ancient American prophets, to help them come unto Christ. It is interesting to watch the conversion of people in Central and South America as they read the record of their ancestors. They accept the gospel whole heartedly, and turn their lives to Christ. The Book of Mormon has been a great tool in helping to gather scattered Israel.

Is the Bible enough?

Continuing on in 2 Nephi 29, God questions those who say there is no need for more scripture than a Bible. He makes the point that the Bible came from the Jews, but the world at large, Christians included, largely ignore the sacrifice made by the Jews to preserve the scriptures for us:

"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.

But thus saith the Lord God: O fools, they shall have a Bible; and it shall proceed forth from the Jews, mine ancient covenant people. And what thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them? Yea, what do the Gentiles mean? Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of the Jews, and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles?

O ye Gentiles, have ye remembered the Jews, mine ancient covenant people? Nay; but ye have cursed them, and have hated them, and have not sought to recover them. But behold, I will return all these things upon your own heads; for I the Lord have not forgotten my people."

(2 Nephi 29: 3-6)

God then goes on to give reasons for the necessity of additional scripture.

Reason for additional scripture #1: There are many nations and people in the world who all deserve scripture.

"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?" (2 Nephi 29:7)

Some could argue that the Bible is for all nations, so other scripture isn't needed. But as we have seen, millions of people have died without a knowledge of the Bible. As Peter taught, "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." (Acts 10:34)

Reason #2: The Law of Witnesses

As we learn in the Bible, there is a law of witnesses that states that "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." (2 Cor. 13:1). In 2 Nephi 29, God states that another purpose of additional scripture is to act as a second, or third witness.

"Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is awitness 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." (2 Nephi 29:8)

Reason #3: Gods words never cease.

Although many Christians today believe that God no longer speaks to man, we believe that God continues to manifest His will through modern prophets, and that He has commanded prophets through the ages, in many places throughout the world, to write His word. Some of those scriptures we have, and others are yet to come forth.

"9And 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.

10Wherefore, 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."

Reason #4: Men will be judged by the scripture and commandments they receive.

11For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written.

12For 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.

13And 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 losttribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews.

I am thankful that God continues to speak today, and that He remembers the covenant made to Abraham, that He would remember his seed forever. Through the Bible and the Book of Mormon, many people are accepting the gospel of Jesus Christ, and covenanting once again to follow God's ways. Through these two books of scriptures, scattered Israel is once again being gathered, and brought unto Christ. I look forward to the day that additional scripture is revealed, and look forward to having additional witnesses of Christ.

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