How Does the Book of Mormon Complement the Bible?

Near the beginning of the Book of Mormon, the prophet Lehi tells his son Joseph about a seer who, in a future time, will have “power to bring forth [God’s] word.” This seer will also have power “to the convincing them of [His] word, which shall have already gone forth among them” (2 Nephi 3:11).

The seer was Joseph Smith. The new scripture was the Book of Mormon. And the word of God which had already gone forth was the Bible.

Lehi says that these two books will “grow together” and fulfill the following functions:

  1. “Confounding of false doctrines”
  2. “Laying down of contentions, and establishing peace”
  3. “Bringing [people] to the knowledge of their fathers, and also to the knowledge of [God’s] covenants”

(2 Nephi 3:12)

Near the end of the book, Mormon discusses the relationship between these two volumes of scripture. Speaking to the descendants of the people described in the Book of Mormon, he says: “This [the Book of Mormon] is written for the intent that ye may believe that [the Bible]; and if ye believe that ye will believe this also; and if ye believe this ye will know concerning your fathers, and also the marvelous works which were wrought by the power of God among them” (Mormon 7:9).

As Elder M. Russell Ballard has taught:

We believe, revere, and love the Holy Bible. We do have additional sacred scripture, including the Book of Mormon, but it supports the Bible, never substituting for it…. The Book of Mormon does not dilute nor diminish nor de-emphasize the Bible. On the contrary, it expands, extends, and exalts it. The Book of Mormon testifies of the Bible, and both testify of Christ (“The Miracle of the Holy Bible,” General Conference, April 2007).

Today, I will be grateful for the combined message of the Bible and the Book of Mormon as dual witnesses of Jesus Christ. I will be grateful that the word of God is unified and that different books of scripture complement and reinforce one another.

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