The Holy Bible is a book of scripture that tells the Lord’s interactions with His people over the course of 4,000 years.
The Bible has long been a foundation of the Church of Jesus Christ—even before the Church was restored to the earth. Joseph Smith, the first latter-day prophet and President of the Church and the person who restored the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth, grew up studying from the Bible; it was the main source of his informal home education on the farm in the early 1800s. While he was grappling with questions about which church to join, he turned to the familiar book. He knew what he had to do when he read from the Bible, James 1:5: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” This promise brought Joseph to his knees in prayer and eventually brought about the Restoration of Christ’s true Church.
James’ promise is not just for Joseph Smith, it’s for everyone. We believe ancient prophets of God recorded on its pages divine revelation. We’re promised by God that if we study and pray about the scriptures, their truthfulness and application to our lives will be made clear to us (see Moroni 10:4).
We study the scriptures, including the Bible and Book of Mormon during weekly Sunday School. This thoughtful and repeating form of study fosters rich, integrated insight into God’s revealed word and helps Church members appreciate how consistent God has always been in teaching His children.
The Bible and Book of Mormon complement one another. For example, the writings of Isaiah, Moses, and Malachi appear in both the Old Testament and in the Book of Mormon, the latter of which draws, in part, from ancient Israelite records preserved by the prophet Lehi. The restored Church of Jesus Christ finds powerful precedent for its teachings in the Bible. For example, the New Testament underscores the restored Church’s teaching about the birth, life, ministry, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Priesthood authority, which was returned to earth for the Restoration of the Church, is detailed in New Testament scripture, as are many elements of Church organization and missionary work.
We turn to the Bible to guide and enhance our lives. In 1983, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints highlighted the role and value of the Bible to Church members, testifying that when we read “reverently and prayerfully, the Holy Bible becomes a priceless volume, converting the soul to righteousness. Principal among its virtues is the declaration that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, through whom eternal salvation may come to all. . . . [All are encouraged to] go to the fountain of truth, searching the scriptures, reading them in our homes, and teaching our families what the Lord has said through the inspired and inspiring passages of the Holy Bible” (“News of the Church,” Ensign, May 1983, 86).
An earlier prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Heber J. Grant, said, “All my life I have been finding additional evidences that the Bible is the Book of books, and that the Book of Mormon is the greatest witness for the truth of the Bible that has ever been published” (“The President Speaks: Excerpts from the Utterances of Heber J. Grant,” Improvement Era, Nov. 1936, 660). Indeed the two books of scripture are viewed as integrally complementary to each other, the one serving to clarify and enhance the teachings found in the other, with both illustrating that all of God’s dealings with man are important—including those recorded after the Bible. As James 1:5 reminds us, revelation is one of the greatest gifts ever given by God to seekers of wisdom. Alongside other Christians, we begin that search for wisdom by prayerfully studying the Bible to gain increased inspiration and insight.
People read books to learn, to answer questions, to enjoy a good story, and to improve themselves. And perhaps no book provides these benefits as well as does the Holy Bible.
Whether read as a work of literature or of scripture, the Bible’s theme is clear: God, our Heavenly Father, is involved in the lives of His children on earth. From the story of the Creation in Genesis to the miracles performed by Jesus Christ recorded in the New Testament, the Bible gives evidence of God’s interest in His children. Countless people throughout the Bible have been witness to God’s majesty and miracles. Following the teachings found in this record of divine interventions enables us to know God, learn from the lives of His followers, and better understand His will.
God wants His children to study, understand, and follow the teachings of His Son, Jesus Christ as found in the Bible. It is not surprising, then, that even the books in the Bible written hundreds of years before Christ’s birth testify of our Savior. In the Old Testament, He was known as Jehovah and the Great I Am. The New Testament recounts His birth and His life among the most humble of people and circumstances. But it also testifies of His majesty. It records His death—and His Resurrection. And it prophesies of His return to earth to reign again. Jesus Christ Himself told His followers, “Search the scriptures; for . . . they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39).
All prophets have testified of Christ—in the centuries before His birth, during His life, and today.
Many of the teachings in the Bible are familiar to Christians. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe the Bible to “be the word of God” (Articles of Faith 1:8), and we treasure the truths found within it—many of which are repeated in the Book of Mormon.
As Paul explained, the scriptures are “made known to all nations for the obedience of faith” (Romans 16:26). The message of the Holy Bible is meant for all humankind. It is a message of Jesus Christ. It is a message of hope. It is a message for all the world.