Heritage of the Scriptures

“Heritage of the Scriptures,” About the Scriptures (2019)

“Heritage of the Scriptures,” About the Scriptures

prophet writing

Heritage of the Scriptures

Since the earliest of times, God has communicated with his people and commanded that those teachings be recorded. These records are the scriptures, and many of these records are available to us today. The scriptures teach us the will of God. True to the Faith teaches:

“When holy men of God write or speak by the power of the Holy Ghost, their words ‘shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation’ (Doctrine and Covenants 68:4). The official, canonized scriptures of the Church, often called the standard works, are the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price” ([2004], 155).

Individuals throughout history have sacrificed, at times with their very lives, to preserve and translate the word of God. Their sacrifices have made the scriptures available to God’s children today and to future generations.

Joseph Smith in Carthage Jail

The 135th section of the Doctrine and Covenants tells the powerful story of the Prophet Joseph Smith as he diligently sought throughout his life to preserve the word of God and make it available to God’s children. From that section we read of the legacy he left:

“In the short space of twenty years, [the Prophet Joseph] has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men. … He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood” (Doctrine and Covenants 135:3).

Today the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the other standard works are widely translated and made available throughout the world. Elder D. Todd Christofferson expressed: “I suppose that never in history has a people been blessed with such a quantity of holy writ. And not only that, but every man, woman, and child may possess and study his or her own personal copy of these sacred texts, most in his or her own language” (“The Blessing of Scripture,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 35).

We are privileged to have so much scripture available to us today, from both ancient prophets and modern. Centuries ago, the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel wrote:

“Take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel … : then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel … :

“And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand” (Ezekiel 37:16–17).

Bible and Book of Mormon

Ezekiel’s prophecy has been fulfilled in our day. President Russell M. Nelson has taught, “Today, Saints living in many nations of the earth gratefully hold the Bible (the stick of Judah) and the Book of Mormon (the stick of Ephraim) bound as one in their hands” (“Scriptural Witnesses,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007, 44).

President Nelson has also emphasized the importance of studying these books together: “The Bible and the Book of Mormon are both witnesses of Jesus Christ. They teach that He is the Son of God, that He lived an exemplary life, that He atoned for all mankind, that He died upon the cross and rose again as the resurrected Lord. They teach that He is the Savior of the world …”

“… I express my profound gratitude for scriptural witnesses. I have seen the mighty change that comes to people who apply the Lord’s teachings in their lives. Such transformation leads to the blessing of eternal life” (“Scriptural Witnesses,” 43, 45).

Scriptures Legacy

Ancient and modern prophets and disciples have sacrificed much to preserve these scriptural witnesses and make them available to us. Today these scriptures strengthen our faith, help us discern the truth, and light our path to move forward.

We can be part of this scriptural heritage by making sacrifices ourselves to study the word of God and to share what we learn with others. As we do so, we honor those who sacrificed to give us the scriptures.

Prophets and apostles often speak about the importance of the scriptures in our lives; some of their teachings can be found in the following resources: