LDS Articles of Faith, Part XXXVI
Article 8, LDS Scripture, Bible, Part 3
The eighth LDS Article of Faith says, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.” Our previous blogs have discussed the LDS view of the Bible which deals with more than its translation. LDS authorities have questioned whether we really have the true message given by God since we don’t have the original manuscripts of the writers of the books of the Bible. LDS also claim wicked men inserted or deleted things they wanted changed. We responded to those claims in our last blog. We also responded to LDS questioning the translation of the Bible for about 200 years when they claim to have prophets with the “gift of translation by the power of the Holy Ghost.” If their prophets have that power, why hasn’t one of them translated the Bible correctly? Don’t they care whether we have an accurate translation? Or do LDS need to say that the Bible is mistranslated in order to get people to believe in their own books of scripture? We also discussed the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) of the Bible. Smith claimed to have the gift of translation and he “translated” the entire Bible in just three years from the only “original” document he had, which was the 1611 King James Version of the Bible! But LDS only publish a very small portion of the JST in the margins and appendix of their official King James Version of the Bible. So, LDS actions really don’t support their claims!
Mormons aren’t the only ones who have attacked the Bible. Some secularists and evolutionists have attacked it out of ignorance because they never read it or looked at the evidence for its contents. Others don’t want to be accountable to God, so they say they don’t believe in Him. Some are intellectual elites who think they are smarter than those who believes the Bible. But there are logical reasons to believe what the Bible says is true. It is a real history of real people. Israel is a real place and its people have a history that is verified not only in the Bible but in records of surrounding nations and by archaeology. Over 5,000 ancient places mentioned in the Bible have been found in the place where the Bible said they were! Thousands of artifacts have been found by archaeologists and not one contradicts what the Bible says! William F. Albright, a respected archaeologist, said on pages 123 and 124 of his book Archaeology of Palestine, “Archaeology, after a long silence, has finally corroborated Biblical tradition in no uncertain way.” Albright was involved in finding many artifacts that verify the Biblical record. One example of how archaeology proves critics of the Bible wrong is that inscriptions in Hittite hieroglyphics were found at Boghatz-Keui. Bible critics had claimed there was no evidence that Hittites mentioned in Genesis 5:9; 36:2; 49:30 etc. actually existed, so they said the Bible was an unreliable myth. But now, not only were the Hittite inscriptions found at that location but also an entire ancient Hittite city was unearthed along with many Hittite artifacts! Many books and articles tell of other ancient places being found by archaeologists while they used the Bible as a guide to find them!
The fact that the Bible is historically and geographically accurate does not prove the spiritual experiences it records, but it does provide a reason to look more closely at those records. The Bible was more advanced in many areas than the science of that time. For example, Isaiah 40:22 says, “It is He (God) who sits upon the circle of the earth.” That was written about 712 B.C. long before scientists said the earth was round. And Job 26:7 says, “He (God) hangs the earth upon nothing.” That was recorded about 1,500 B.C. and centuries before scientists realized that the earth was not sitting on a foundation of some kind! In 125 A.D. Hipparchus said there were 1022 stars and about 200 A.D. Ptolemy said there were 1026 stars. But Job 33:22 said in about 1520 B.C.: “The host of heaven cannot be numbered” Only recently have scientist and astronomers admitted that what Job said is more accurate!
Many Bible critics claimed Abraham in the Old Testament never really existed and was a late Jewish story made up to help give Jews an ancient history. Abraham’s story began in Ur of the Chaldees according to Genesis 11. But Ur wasn’t found for many years, so skeptics said there was no such place. Then Rawlinson found it and in it was a library that showed Abraham and his predecessors could read and write! Archaeologists have also found the name Abraham as well as names of Haran and Nahor which are names mentioned in the Bible with Abraham’s story. Many critics of the Bible also claimed that people in Moses’ time didn’t know how to read or write, so the Pentateuch could not have been written by Moses. Then the Tel-el-Amarna Tablets were found in Northern Egypt and among them were letters from persons in both Egypt and Palestine written long before Moses’ time! So, critics can’t question Moses authorship of the Pentateuch by saying “He didn’t know how to read or write”! Moses was brought up in Pharaoh’s house where he would have had access to the best education available at that time. Many of the critics of the Bible are biased hypercritics who really don’t want to believe what the Bible says, so they attack it anywhere they can.
By comparing the Bible with other “sacred writings” it is easy to see the difference. In the sacred writings of the Hindus it says, “Millions upon millions of cycles ago, this world came to be. It exists in several stories, and the whole mass is held upon the heads of elephants, with their tails turned out, and their feet resting on the shell of an immense tortoise, and the tortoise on the coil of a great snake; and when the elephants shake themselves, that makes the earth to quake.” Egypt led the world in science for a long time, yet her best scholars taught some strange things. Some taught that the heavens and earth originated out of a kind of pulp, and men came into being out of the slime of the Nile River. Other Egyptian scholars said this earth was hatched from the wings of an egg. If that kind of information was in the Bible, no one would believe it today. But the content of the Bible is believable because it is in harmony with the latest true science and it is a real history of real people and places.
Fulfilled prophecy is also evidence that supports the Bible. Some skeptics claim Jesus tried to fulfill Old Testament prophecies of a coming Messiah, but some prophecies would be impossible for Him to fulfill. The prophecy in Micah 5:2 says, “But thou Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting.” And Isaiah 7:14 says He would be born of a virgin. Jesus had no way to control where He was born or who His mother would be! Isaiah 53 is a good picture of Jesus dying for our sins. No one would voluntarily want to be put to death just to try to fulfill an ancient prophecy!
Next time we will discuss the Book of Mormon