Bible, Inerrancy of


Latter-day Saints revere the Bible. They study it and believe it to be the word of God. However, they do not believe the Bible, as it is currently available, is without error.

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Joseph Smith commented, “I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 327).

The Latter-day Saints have a great reverence and love for the Bible. They study it and try to live its teachings. They treasure its witness of the life and mission of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Prophet Joseph Smith studied the Bible all his life, and he taught its precepts. He testified that a person who can “mark the power of Omnipotence, inscribed upon the heavens, can also see God's own handwriting in the sacred volume: and he who reads it oftenest will like it best, and he who is acquainted with it, will know the hand [of the Lord] wherever he can see it” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 56).

As the Bible was compiled, organized, translated, and transcribed, many errors entered the text. The existence of such errors becomes apparent when one considers the numerous and often conflicting translations of the Bible in existence today. Careful students of the Bible are often puzzled by apparent contradictions and omissions. Many people have also been curious about references by biblical prophets to books or scriptural passages that are not currently in the Bible.

In addition to the Bible, Latter-day Saints reverence and study the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the words of modern prophets and apostles. All these sources of eternal truth work together to establish, clarify, and testify of the plan of our Heavenly Father and to bring people unto Jesus Christ.

Latter-day Saints believe in an open scriptural canon, which means that there are other books of scripture besides the Bible (such as the Book of Mormon) and that God continues to reveal His word through living prophets. The argument is often made that to be a Christian means to assent to the principle of sola scriptura, or the self-sufficiency of the Bible. But to claim that the Bible is the final word of God—more specifically, the final written word of God—is to claim more for the Bible than it claims for itself. Nowhere does the Bible proclaim that all revelations from God would be gathered into a single volume to be forever closed and that no further scriptural revelation could be received.

Prophetic Teachings

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