Is the Bible the [block]0[/block]?
Critics of Mormonism have long claimed that the Book of Mormon cannot be true scripture since the Bible contains all of God’s word. They often cite the closing verses to The Revelation of John which reads:
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book (Revelation 22:18-19).
At first glance this seems to say that nothing can be added to the Bible, especially since it appears in the last chapter of the New Testament as we have it today. However, when one looks more carefully at the text itself and at the origins of the Bible, it becomes clear that John was referring to his book, that is, the Book of Revelation.
The first thing we should note is that the original Greek wording used here for book is biblios, which translates as book, where as the word Bible, which comes from Greek as well, comes from the plural of biblios, biblia, meaning books. The Bible is composed of the inspired writings of prophets compiled into books written over thousands of years and compiled in the second and third centuries after Jesus Christ. In fact, the Revelation was written in around A.D. 90 and John himself wrote his Gospel in around A.D.110, so he obviously had no trouble writing more inspired scriptures. We should also note that Moses said the same thing thousands of years earlier. In Deuteronomy we read:
Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you (Deuteronomy 4:2).
Moses was obviously talking about the words he had spoken to them which were recorded in the five book of Moses (the first five books of the Old Testament), just as John was talking about his book. No human by himself is authorized to add to or take away from the scriptures. God, however, can and does continue to inspire His prophets to speak inspired words.
It is also important to note that during New Testament times, many people were writing letters and gospels of their own without authorization and some even lied and claimed to be apostles. The Apostle Paul mentioned this in one of his epistles:
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him that you be not soon shaken or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us … (2 Thes. 2:1-2).
Paul was apparently worried that false scriptures were being spread among the early Christians. John likely knew about these false scriptures as well and so he added a warning to his book that God would judge anyone who tampered with it. John closed his account of the life of Jesus with these words:
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen (John 21:25).
He obviously believes that there are many more teachings and deeds of Jesus Christ. The scriptures used by Mormons, the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants, are some of those additional accounts. The Book of Mormon says this:
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 (2 Nephi 29:7-9)