Some anti-Mormon critics have pointed out that the Book of Mormon uses specific and unique phrases from the Bible several dozen times. They’re wrong, of course.
The Book of Mormon uses specific and unique phrases from the Bible several hundred times.
This amazing presentation by a BYU scholar at a recent conference on the complex language of the Book of Mormon goes into this. There’s no concrete explanation for how this phenomenon is to be accounted for: for the faithful, we don’t know exactly how so many of these non-quotation uses appear in the Book of Mormon; for the critics, since there’s so much subtlety and deep understanding evident in the phrasing (and it in no way helped any hypothetical hoax), there’s no way to simply write this off as lazy copying.
But we can speculate about the why of the situation. At the end of his presentation, Dr. Frederick cites Mormon 7:8-9 and notes that the Book of Mormon does in fact turn us to the Bible and strengthens belief in it.
Therefore repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus, and lay hold upon the gospel of Christ, which shall be set before you, not only in this record but also in the record which shall come unto the Gentiles from the Jews, which record shall come from the Gentiles unto you. For behold, this is written for the intent that ye may believe that; 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.
I’d like to offer a hearty amen to that, and go a bit further.
B.H. Roberts noted in chapter 3 in book II of New Witnesses for God that one of the evident purposes of the Book of Mormon was “to be a witness for the truth of the Bible, to establish its authenticity, and its credibility.”
I think we as Latter-day Saints pay too little attention to this truth and thus, sadly, too little attention to the Bible. Maybe it’s because the Book of Mormon is original to us, and thus we feel a special bond with it. Maybe it’s because the Book of Mormon is so powerful, and we feel nothing else can equal that power, so why bother? Maybe it’s because our leaders have so strongly emphasized studying our keystone scripture, and some members have erroneously taken that as an implied diminishing of other scriptures, including the Bible.
Anyone caught in those traps should study Elder Ballard’s magnificent 2007 General Conference talk, “The Miracle of the Holy Bible.”
The Bible is a miracle. It’s amazing. It’s powerful. It’s spiritual and it’s important and it’s true. I love the Bible. The Nephite prophets and our Latter-day prophets obviously love it, often quoting from it and teaching us to study it. Thanks be to God for it.
I’ve seen far too many smart, active Latter-day Saints who have very little Biblical literacy, even actively avoiding it. But the words of our beloved Book of Mormon make this clear: if we believe the Book of Mormon, we will study and live and love the Bible.
And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles [the Book of Mormon], shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb [the Bible], and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.
–1 Nephi 13:40
But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word [the Book of Mormon] unto the seed of thy loins—and not to the bringing forth my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them [the Bible].
–2 Nephi 11:3