clbent04

BOM vs New Testament Scripture Study

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I've always wondered why the Book of Mormon has to be prioritized over the Bible in terms of where we as members are directed to focus our time. The New Testament is my favorite when I read about Jesus's life and his apostles. But I almost feel guilty on any given day for wanting to read the New Testament without having read the BOM. This guilt stems from the constant initiatives of the Church to have it's members focus on the BOM in our scripture study. Why not ever have special initiatives for us to focus on the New Testament? Maybe there has been New Testament initiatives, and I just don't know or wasn't paying attention. But I don't recall one time the Church has had us focus our personal scripture studies on the New Testament over the BOM.

I know the Church upholds the BOM as the book that will bring us closest to God, but here's my admission: I feel closer to God reading the New Testament. And I've read the BOM 3x cover to cover.  I've studied it on a daily basis for some time - growing up in the Church, attending Seminary, serving a mission for a year, and personal scripture study beyond that.  I'm not priding myself on the fact I've studied the BOM as much as I have since I know many of you are much more scholarly than I, but more so I'm making the point that I'm not someone who has merely glossed over the BOM in a cursory review in my comparison how I feel when I read the New Testament. 

Is it the Church's initiative that we always place precedence on reading the BOM above reading the New Testament?  Or is it just an every-now-and-then type of initiative.  And why does it seem like as a member of the Church I have to make time to read the Bible outside of what we are specifically instructed to do as members?  Do I understand how the Church wants us to approach scripture study, or am I taking an old initiative of prioritizing our BOM study too seriously?

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The church directs you to read the NT (at minimum) every 4 years as part of Sunday School.  Plus, all the natural cross-references when studying other books or by subjects.  If you especially feel the Spirit by reading the NT, then of course read it!  I personally get a ton out of Isaiah, so I read it more frequently than your average church goer, and that's likewise perfectly great.  

We just had a thread on a similar topic: 

 

Edited by Jane_Doe

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Why feel guilty about reading the New Testament? I just finished the four gospels myself. We are expected to frequently read the Book of Mormon, but we are also expected to read all the other scriptures frequently too! Here is a powerful witness of the wonderous message of the Bible from President M. Russell Ballard in 2007,

"My brothers and sisters, the Holy Bible is a miracle! It is a miracle that the Bible’s 4,000 years of sacred and secular history were recorded and preserved by the prophets, apostles, and inspired churchmen.

It is a miracle that we have the Bible’s powerful doctrine, principles, poetry, and stories. But most of all, it is a wonderful miracle that we have the account of the life, ministry, and words of Jesus, which was protected through the Dark Ages and through the conflicts of countless generations so that we may have it today.

It is a miracle that the Bible literally contains within its pages the converting, healing Spirit of Christ, which has turned men’s hearts for centuries, leading them to pray, to choose right paths, and to search to find their Savior."

This is just part of his talk, but it illustrates what I said. The church expects us to study all of the Scriptures. Just find different ways to work them into your scripture study, but you shouldn't feel guilty about reading the Bible.

Edited by Midwest LDS

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51 minutes ago, Jane_Doe said:

The church directs you to read the NT (at minimum) every 4 years as part of Sunday School.  Plus, all the natural cross-references when studying other books or by subjects.  If you especially feel the Spirit by reading the NT, then of course read it!  I personally get a ton out of Isaiah, so I read it more frequently than your average church goer, and that's likewise perfectly great.  

We just had a thread on a similar topic: 

 

I know NT study is a part of Sunday School study, but never an area the Church specifically directs us to focus on during our personal scripture study. Why is that?

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18 minutes ago, clbent04 said:

I know NT study is a part of Sunday School study, but never an area the Church specifically directs us to focus on during our personal scripture study. Why is that?

I'm confused.  Is studying for Sunday School not count as you personally studying?

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19 minutes ago, Jane_Doe said:

I'm confused.  Is studying for Sunday School not count as you personally studying?

It could be the same thing, but I think there’s often a general distinction in the Church of preparing for your classes and personal scripture study

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1 minute ago, clbent04 said:

It could be the same thing, but I think there’s often a general distinction in the Church of preparing for your classes and personal scripture study

Doesn't have to be.  Obviously the SS schedule is pretty set, and if you have some other personal need of study you should do that too (out of whichever resource is needed).  Or you could just have them be one in the same.  

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1 hour ago, clbent04 said:

I've always wondered why the Book of Mormon has to be prioritized over the Bible in terms of where we as members are directed to focus our time. The New Testament is my favorite when I read about Jesus's life and his apostles. But I almost feel guilty on any given day for wanting to read the New Testament without having read the BOM. This guilt stems from the constant initiatives of the Church to have it's members focus on the BOM in our scripture study. Why not ever have special initiatives for us to focus on the New Testament? Maybe there has been New Testament initiatives, and I just don't know or wasn't paying attention. But I don't recall one time the Church has had us focus our personal scripture studies on the New Testament over the BOM.

I know the Church upholds the BOM as the book that will bring us closest to God, but here's my admission: I feel closer to God reading the New Testament. And I've read the BOM 3x cover to cover.  I've studied it on a daily basis for some time - growing up in the Church, attending Seminary, serving a mission for a year, and personal scripture study beyond that.  I'm not priding myself on the fact I've studied the BOM as much as I have since I know many of you are much more scholarly than I, but more so I'm making the point that I'm not someone who has merely glossed over the BOM in a cursory review in my comparison how I feel when I read the New Testament. 

Is it the Church's initiative that we always place precedence on reading the BOM above reading the New Testament?  Or is it just an every-now-and-then type of initiative.  And why does it seem like as a member of the Church I have to make time to read the Bible outside of what we are specifically instructed to do as members?  Do I understand how the Church wants us to approach scripture study, or am I taking an old initiative of prioritizing our BOM study too seriously?

The Church's initiative is to bring all members unto Christ, that through Christ we become like the Father and receive all the Father hath. The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. Let's make a minor, but important distinction. The Lord has given revelation that a man will draw closer to him by reading the Book of Mormon than any other book of scripture. The Church is the vehicle by which this revelation was/is distributed to all the sons and daughters of God. We also have modern day prophets who have declared that we shouldn't let a day go by without reading from the Book of Mormon.

The question, real question, is then, "Do I exercise sufficient faith in this declaration from the Lord that I will draw closer to him through study of the Book of Mormon? Yes or no. If not, then we should be praying for the same heart and mind.

In saying this, the scriptures tells us that we should live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. For some, their patriarchal blessing may give counsel to read a particular book of scripture often. How this individual decides to honor both counsels is between them and the Lord.

We also accept that the Lord can personally be directing an individually to study other books of scripture more. I remember after reading the Book of Mormon a number of times the spirit impressing upon my mind and heart to read the New Testament. As @Jane_Doe already mentioned, the Church doesn't neglect other scriptures as each scripture is given 1 year of study in the Church, which should be in our personal study. How a person follows the impressions given by the Lord to his heart and mind, is between them and the Lord.

As to this question then, "Or am I taking an old initiative of prioritizing our BOM study too seriously?" That is between you and the Lord.

This however can not be denied. We will draw closer to God by reading the Book of Mormon than any other book of scripture. These are the Lord's words. Do we trust he knows what he is talking about? Or do we think ourselves more wise than his counsel and declaration?

If one thing I know to be true, we cause ourselves more anxiety in the gospel than we should. The gospel is truly simple, but imperfect humans try to complicate simple truths (I include myself in that statement).

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If you're reading the scriptures daily, you're more than half way there. If you're actually studying the scriptures daily, feasting upon the word, then you are doing very well. You are reaping the blessings of scripture study.

That said, there is a reason we have been encouraged to make the Book of Mormon the centerpiece of our scripture study. That was not true two hundred years ago, when the Book of Mormon wasn't available. It well may not be the case two hundred years from now, if our Lord's millennial reign has commenced. But for now, for us, that's the book of scripture given specifically to us to help us.

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This is my thoughts on the topic, but NOT doctrine, or even really a strong opinion, just some thoughts I have upon reading it.

The Book of Mormon is a central item to every individuals testimony who believes that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints is the correct church with the true gospel on this earth.  This is because, if the Book of Mormon is true, than Joseph Smith was a prophet.  If Joseph Smith was a prophet chosen by the Lord, than what he did was ordained by the Lord.  This means that the priesthood truly was given to him and the church established is the Lord's church and the gospel is the true gospel.

If we lose our testimony of the Book of Mormon, it is a catalyst that will start our lack of faith in the gospel taught in the Church as well.

We gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon by the Holy Ghost.  As we read the Book of Mormon, hopefully we are sensitive enough to recognize the Holy Ghost testifying of it's truthfulness to us every time we read it.  If not, continued perseverance in reading it hopefully will bring that Spiritual guidance upon us.  This has the effect of continuously letting the Holy Ghost testify to us that the Book of Mormon is true, hence renewing our testimony every time we read it.

This is why reading the Book of Mormon is so important.  We renew our faith and reinvigorate our testimonies when we read the Book of Mormon.  It constantly allows us to have that renewal of that feeling and testifying by the Holy Ghost to us of it's truthfulness on a daily basis.

This does not mean that the other scriptures are not important.  They are vital to our spiritual growth.  The New Testament in particular gives us the life and teachings of the Lord.  In this, we can further strengthen our testimony of the Lord.

However, the difference of why we read the Book of Mormon and the New Testament is one that is foundational to our faith.  The words of the Lord are also found in the Book of Mormon.  While the New Testament gives us a testimony of the Lord, it is utilized by many other churches and at times some of their teachings as well as that of the world, tries to tear us down and destroy our faith in the gospel.  This is why the Book of Mormon is another testimony.  It is the mouth of two or three witnesses.  The Book of Mormon and the Holy Ghost testifying of it to us can give us that peace of mind that the teaching found in the New Testament are the teachings that we find in the gospel proclaimed in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints.

If you have a rock solid testimony of the Book of Mormon, by default you will desire to read and learn the New Testament and other scriptures.  You will never fall from the gospel.

However, if you do not have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, all  manner of other voices can crowd in to disparage the faith we practice, and place their own ideas of what the Bible means in the foundations of men instead of Heaven.  Thus, by having that Testimony of the Book of Mormon and constantly renewing it, we can stand firm against the temptations that would lead us out of the church and into the world.

I think THIS is why the Book of Mormon is so important to us that we should read and study it every day.  If you can do nothing else, I would say to read the Book of Mormon.  Ideally you set apart enough time to read the Book of Mormon for that renewing of your faith, as well as other scriptures.  If done in this manner, as you read the New Testament you will also feel the Spirit and have a testimony born of the Spirit about the truthfulness that we have a Lord and Savior and the teachings he gives us in the New Testament.

Just my thoughts on the OT.

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@clbent04 

I love to read.  For example, in my youth I read an encyclopedia and an unabridged dictionary (more than once).  I did this to compete (unsuccessfully) with a brother that has a photographic memory.   I should also explain that reading is difficult for me because I am dyslexic.  This information is being provided so those of you that it is not obvious – I organized thoughts differently than most even though I have a most difficult time understanding that others do not see what I see or vice versa.

Not only do I read the standard works but my studies include a great deal of what the world calls scholarly commentary.  Do not be alarmed, I understand well the folly of mingling scriptures with the philosophies of men.  Besides my personal studies – I love sharing things I learn with others.  The passing of my father was a great loss to my studies.  My exceptionally brilliant brother remains perhaps my greatest study ally along with my beloved wife that greatly dislikes scholarly study and lives astonishing righteously almost entirely on emotion and spiritual awareness.  One study I find fascinating is the process recorded in history through which the Bible was determined, preserved and published. 

One ancient scripture deliberately left out of the Bible (Old Testament) is the Book of Enoch.  This is interesting to me because this ancient scripture is the most quoted of all ancient scripture by Christ and those that left us the legacy of the New Testament.  Historically it was argued that the Book of Enoch was written after the New Testament and was just a copy of things recorded in the New Testament.  For about 2,000 years the Book of Enoch has been discarded by Bible scholars as an unworthy forgery to be included - even though the Book of Enoch is mentioned directly and then quoted as scripture in the Book of Jude.  The notion that the Book of Enoch was a unnecessary copy of New Testament teachings was proven completely false and a deception with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scriptures and the discovery of a Enoch text that predates Jesus by over 300 years.

It is part of my opinion that I cannot prove conclusively – but I believed the Book of Enoch was deliberately slandered and excluded from the Bible because early traditional Christians wanted to change historical understanding and create the impressions that the teachings of Jesus were new, unique and never before heard.  The reality is that nothing Jesus taught was unique and new.  

Some say that they love learning from Jesus directly from what he spoke.  I do not want to diminish that desire but we Latter-day Saints should understand that divine testament, including laws, ordinances and covenants have never changed and are the same today as they were when Adam was taught the gospel and plan of salvation (laws ordinances and covenants) as a mortal.  The word of G-d is the same weather it comes directly from G-d or through his servants that speak with the power and Gift of the Holy Ghost.

It is my personal witness that there is no study of scripture or the things of Christ that cannot be made more complete or “perfect” without the Book of Mormon.  There is no spiritual guidance, hope or witness of Christ that can deliberately exclude the Book of Mormon and have divine blessing and reassurance of the truth.   One can read and love the teachings of the New Testament (or any good book) – but without the Book of Mormon that love of teachings will be incomplete and diminished.

 

The Traveler

Edited by Traveler

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Personally, you study whatever it is you want to study. I study by reading passages and writing trivia questions. Because I have five categories, I rotate studying. Why? I want questions from all five categories, and I can't get them if I study just one. The five categories are Bible, Book of Mormon, Church History, New Testament, Old Testament, and Wild. Granted, that's six, but the sixth is a combination of old and new testaments. (The Wild category is questions that don't fit the others.)

I'll study one area or particular story. In fact, this morning at church, I studied the story about the wise men and then Joseph's trip to Egypt. I decided to study New Testament by looking at the number of questions from each category and finding that New Testament is the lowest, so I'll study there and write questions. I will keep going until I wonder what I should study next. I'll then see what category is the lowest and go from there. Sometimes, I will come across something that's interesting and branch off and study that.

Frankly, you study whatever scripture you want to study. I don't want to focus on just one book. Just let the spirit guide you on what to study, especially if it's difficult on what to study. I learn a lot by writing trivia questions, too. Remembering them, however, is a different story, but when I read over the questions, I will see if I can remember the answers without looking.

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I come from an evangelical background and I perfectly understand your appreciation of the New Testament!  Since I'm new to the LDS faith I don't know what the "church guidelines" are as far as scripture study goes.  

Speaking only for myself, what I like to do is divide my scripture study into three parts:  1) LDS scriptures; 2) Bible Study; 3) Teachings of church leadership.

I find it most helpful when I am able to contrast and compare similar scriptures in the Book of Mormon with those in the Bible.  See Ephesians 2:8 and 2 Nephi 25:10 - it really helps me develop a better understanding of the whole.

Reading/listening to the teachings of Church leaders has been helpful (as well as theologians like CS Lewis) because these men and women and God have insights and a way of explaining doctrinal principals in a new light.  I have really appreciated the talks from Elders Uchtdorf and Holland as they have a way of explaining LDS doctrine (that I'm still learning) in a way that is easy to understand while remaining impactful.

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