“Bible’s 400th Anniversary Best Celebrated with More Study, Apostles’ Words Suggest,” Ensign, May 2011, 144
“It is not by chance or coincidence that we have the Bible today,” said Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.1 He explains that the Bible exists because of the obedience of righteous individuals who followed promptings to record sacred experiences and teachings, as well as the faith and courage of others, including translators, who later sacrificed much to “protect and preserve” the Bible.
May 2, 2011, marks the 400th anniversary of the first publication of the King James Version of the Bible. Throughout the world, people are already commemorating the publication of the Bible with symposia, celebrations, concerts, speaking competitions, and more. Members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles suggest another way to mark the occasion: by developing a love for the Bible as we study the life and ministry of the Savior and the words of the ancient prophets and apostles.
“How grateful we should be for the Holy Bible,” Elder Ballard said. “I love the Bible, its teachings, its lessons, and its spirit. … I love the perspective and peace that come from reading the Bible.”2
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles agrees. “We love and revere the Bible,” he said. “It is always identified first in our canon, our ‘standard works.’”3 He reminded us that the Restoration came about because Joseph Smith studied the Bible and exerted faith in the promise made in James 1:5 that God will answer our prayers.
Recalling the events that paved the way for the Restoration, Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke with gratitude for all who made possible the translation and publication of the Bible. Because of their work, the King James Version of the Bible was available for anyone to read—and because it was available to Joseph Smith, the true Church was restored to the earth. “Is it any wonder that the King James Version is the approved English Bible of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today?” Elder Hales asked.4
“We must ever remember the countless martyrs who knew of [the Bible’s] power and who gave their lives that we may be able to find within its words the eternal happiness and the peace of our Heavenly Father’s kingdom,” Elder Ballard said.5
President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, shared a story about viewing a centuries-old family Bible and finding a quote on the title page that said, “The fairest Impression of the Bible is to have it well printed on the Reader’s heart.”6 He follows with this scripture: “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men” (2 Corinthians 3:2).
By knowing and loving the Bible and its accompanying scriptural texts, we can show our appreciation and enjoy the blessings of the Restoration of the gospel.
“Consider the magnitude of our blessing to have the Holy Bible and some 900 additional pages of scripture,” said Elder D. Todd Christofferson. “May we feast continuously on the words of Christ that will tell us all things we should do.”7