A scripture study exercise: if we wanted to summarize the overall message of major collections of scripture, what might they be? We’re probably familiar with the “missions of the Church” formula–preach the gospel, perfect the saints, redeem the dead, care for the poor and needy–so, can we find similar missions communicated in books of scripture?
Here’s what I’ve come up with so far, with comments below:
Old Testament : Obey the law
New Testament : Perfect the saints
Book of Mormon : Learn the gospel
Doctrine and Covenants : Build the kingdom
Pearl of Great Price : Seek the Lord
Old Testament: I also considered “keep the commandments” and “follow the prophets.” The first is similar to “obey the law,” but not as inclusive–there’s more to the Old Testament than the “thous shalts” and “thou shalt nots.” Saying to “follow the prophets” resonates with us today, and certainly encompasses a major theme, but the largest idea in the Old Testament is that conforming to God’s whole system of living will bless us.
For believers or skeptics, atheists or theists of all stripes, might this function as a call to arms that everybody could support?
Discern the nature of reality as accurately as possible and, as far as any facts have practical applications, bring ourselves into alignment with them and exercise them habitually.
Sure, that’s just a draft, but I think it gets at the point clearly: we all just want to learn things that are true, and act on them accordingly, to the benefit of ourselves and the larger world, whether those things are secular or spiritual, artistic or scientific, or all of the above.
I’ve been wondering how one could best summarize the overall “mission” of major collections of scripture, in the vein of “preach the gospel” or “perfect the saints.” Of course, this is just a novelty exercise on my part, and in no way does justice to the power of scripture or, for that matter, mission statements (which were mildly criticized at yesterday’s Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, anyway).
Still, here are the best of my ideas so far. This is really just a silly thing that I haven’t put a whole ton of effort into, so feel free to offer better ideas. Ultimately, I suppose any volume of scripture’s mission would best be summarized as “bring souls to Christ,” but I guess the point of this is to focus on sub-missions supporting that one!
Old Testament: Obey the law
New Testament: Serve the Lord
Book of Mormon: Learn the gospel
Doctrine and Covenants: Build the church
Pearl of Great Price: Follow the prophet