Viewpoint: The Incomparable Value of Scriptures
From the Church News
Years ago, a 10-year-old girl received a gift from a woman who told her, “This is a very special book. Take care of it. Treasure it.”
The girl eagerly opened the little book. “Why are some words printed in red?” she asked as she looked at one of the pages. Her older friend said, “Because they are important. They are words that Jesus spoke.”
“Really? Jesus said this?” the child asked, pointing to a verse.
“Yes,” her friend said.
The girl was amazed. At any time, she could open the book and look for what Jesus had said. In the years that followed, she discovered that the person who had given her the gift was right: It was a special book. A red-letter edition of the New Testament, it was small enough to fit in a pocket; she sometimes carried it around with her. Although she didn’t understand everything she read in it, she treated it with care and treasured it all through her childhood. It was one of the few tangible things for which she mourned as an adult when a fire destroyed it along with a portion of her home.
After she joined the Church when she was a teenager, she discovered treasures beyond the red-letter edition of the New Testament: the Old Testament, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.
All of us ought to recognize the incomparable value of these scriptures.
Through the pages of the Old Testament, we learn of the Creation and are given the Ten Commandments that, even today, have not been rescinded. We read of prophecies pertaining to the coming of the Messiah.
In the New Testament, we read of the angel’s annunciation to Mary and of Jesus’ birth at Bethlehem. The accounts recorded by Matthew and Luke provide enough details so that we, too, can marvel with shepherds and wise men at His glorious birth in humble surroundings.
With the turning of each page, a magnificent account of a great life unfolds to us. We find few references about the boyhood of the Christ child, who “grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom” (Luke 2:40). Through printed words, we see Him as a Man among men who ministered to the meek and lowly. We read of how He gave strength to weak limbs, bestowed sight to blind eyes, and restored life to bodies that lay dead.
In the New Testament, we can find nourishment in Jesus’ offering of the bread of life. We can slake thirst forever by drinking from the well of living waters to which He guides and invites us to partake.
In different books, chapters and verses of the New Testament, we gain added knowledge of His mortal life and ministry. We learn of the kind of love that surpasses all understanding, of the qualities of mercy and demands of justice as we read of His atoning sufferings in the Garden of Gethsemane, sacrifice on the cross atop Golgotha’s hill, and resurrection from the garden tomb.
Through the pages of the New Testament, we are tutored along with His apostles to whom He gave counsel and admonitions before His death and issued divine commissions after His resurrection.
While the New Testament leaves out many details of the Savior’s life, it is still the most thorough record known of His mortal mission and ministry. However, we are blessed to have a companion volume of scripture, the Book of Mormon—Another Testament of Jesus Christ, that also tells of the Savior.
Also, in the Book of Mormon we find examples of people who had pure faith. Even if the book contained just the words reflecting the tender mercies of the Resurrected Savior, especially as recorded in Third Nephi, we would have a treasure beyond measure.
In the October 1993 general conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “I thank the Almighty for my testimony of the Book of Mormon, this wonderful companion to the Holy Bible. The test of the book is in its reading. I speak as one who has read it again and again and tasted of its beauty and depth and power.
“I have read again and again the closing testimony of Moroni, including these challenging words:
“ ‘And I exhort you to remember these things; for the time speedily cometh that ye shall know that I lie not, for ye shall see me at the bar of God; and the Lord God will say unto you: Did I not declare my words unto you, which were written by this man, like as one crying from the dead, yea, even as one speaking out of the dust? …
“I thank the Lord ... that I will not have to wait to meet Moroni before I know the truth of his words. I know this now and have known it for a long time by the power of the Holy Ghost” (“My Testimony”).
In the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, we can read sacred words pronounced in this, our own, dispensation. We learn of a prophet who, just a few generations removed from our own day, received revelations that broke the seal of heaven. Through these sacred texts we are privileged to read the Lord’s words given to the world through the Prophet Joseph Smith, an instrument in bringing forth the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our treasure trove increases each time we read the scriptures in personal study, participate in Sunday School, or other classes that focus on them. Gems of truth, even pearls of wisdom, enrich our lives with each reading.
If we study in seriousness the scriptures that have been given to us, we will learn of those teachings and precepts that will bring us closer to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and to God, the Eternal Father.