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Third Hour

5 Insightful Footnotes In The Scriptures You Probably Overlooked

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I get it. If your scripture study is anything like mine, there's a good chance you spend little to no time checking out the seemingly countless number of footnotes found within each chapter of the standard works. But, believe it or not, they were created for an inspired purpose. In fact, dozens of brilliant Latter-day Saints—including Bruce R. McConkie, Thomas S. Monson, and Boyd K. Packer spent thousands of hours compiling them. Elder Boyd K. Packer commented that the completion of the footnotes, cross-references, etc., was further fulfillment of the prophecy made in the Old Testament that the stick of Judah (the Bible) and the stick of Ephraim (the Book of Mormon) would become one. They help link scriptures together and provide important clarifications and insights on many scriptures. Also, Elder Packer emphasized that each of these books tied together represent a significant database of the Savior's life and teachings. "These references constitute the most comprehensive compilation of scripture information on the mission and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ that has ever...

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It is the case that the footnotes are not all of equal value: Some are profound, some are obvious, some are trite, and some are wrong. But on the whole, I find the scriptural references to be excellent, the work of dozens and scores of faithful Saints reading and making margin notes through the ages, from which I get to benefit. I find the Topical Guide classifications to be helpful, though less so than the references. The explanatory notes and linguistic notes are also very helpful, especially in the Bible. (In the Book of Mormon, they're purely conjectural, e.g. NHM. Not useless, but more of a "by the way, here's a Hebraist view of this word or passage.") And the JST references in the Bible are great, though it would be nice to have some parallel JST with the changed words highlighted or something of the sort.

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I am a big fan of the footnotes. When reading in the Bible, I often read all the JST footnotes. The references I usually check when I feel I'm missing something. There have been several times in Sunday School when such a check came up with something highly relevant to a classmate's question.

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