Our family tries to read a chapter from the Book Of Mormon each night, just before Wyatt goes to bed. I would wager that a good number of you out there that either do this or have attempted it probably have the first few verses of 1st Nephi memorized. The problem is we become inspired and motivated to begin reading as individuals or families and we start and fizzle out and then start again. There is usually some amount of time that goes by making us forget where we ended up so we start over. I am pleased to know that this last attempt for our family has been for the most part very successful and a good gauge of this is getting past the “Isaiah Chapters” that comprise the most portion of 2nd Nephi.
I am no scriptorian by any definition. This post will not contain any commentary or insight that is in any fashion worthy of being bound in a book and found on the shelves of Deseret Book. I have many questions about what is meant by certain passages or why something is written the way it is written. I know a few things, without a doubt. I know that the Book of Mormon is true scripture. It truly is another testament of Jesus Christ. It stands with the Holy Bible as that second witness that Jesus is our Holy Savior. I also know that it was translated by the hand of the Prophet Joseph Smith, through the Holy Spirit whose gift he possessed. That being said, the question I pose here is not one of any amount of doubt I have regarding the utter truthfulness of this passage or the rest of the Book.
My question is based upon a flicker of curiosity that after reading this passage many times, has never appeared. I used this particular scripture on my full-time Mission in Florida on a number of occasions. It is a very familiar part of this Book to me. It just happened that this time through, my mind caught on to something that made me wonder. Again, I clarify that my wondering has nothing to do with my testimony of the truthfulness of this Marvelous Work. The passage just brought this question to mind. I will quote the chapter and then pose my question. (LINK at lds.org)
1 But behold, there shall be many—at that day when I shall proceed to do a amarvelous work among them, that I may remember my bcovenants which I have made unto the children of men, that I may set my hand again the csecond time to recover my people, which are of the house of Israel;
2 And also, that I may remember the promises which I have made unto thee, Nephi, and also unto thy father, that I would remember your seed; and that the awords of your seed should proceed forth out of my mouth unto your seed; and my words shall bhiss forth unto the cends of the earth, for a dstandard unto my people, which are of the house of Israel;
3 And because my words shall hiss forth—many of the Gentiles shall say: A aBible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible.4 But thus saith the Lord God: O fools, they shall have a aBible; and it shall proceed forth from the bJews, mine ancient covenant people. And what cthank they the dJews for the Bible which they receive from them? Yea, what do the Gentiles mean? Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of the Jews, and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles?
5 O ye Gentiles, have ye remembered the Jews, mine ancient covenant people? Nay; but ye have acursed them, and have bhated them, and have not sought to recover them. But behold, I will return all these things upon your own heads; for I the Lord have not forgotten my people.
6 Thou fool, that shall say: A aBible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?
7 Know ye not that there are more anations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the bisles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the cearth beneath; and I bring forth my dword unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?
8 Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the atestimony of btwo nations is a cwitness unto you that I am God, that I remember one dnation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two enations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.
9 And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the asame yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my bwords according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one cword ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my dwork is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.
10 Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my awords; neither bneed ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.
11 For I command aall men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall bwrite the words which I speak unto them; for out of the cbooks which shall be written I will djudge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written.
12 For behold, I shall speak unto the aJews and they shall bwrite it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall cwrite it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto dall nations of the earth and they shall write it.
13 And it shall come to pass that the aJews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews; and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the blost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews.
14 And it shall come to pass that my people, which are of the ahouse of Israel, shall be gathered home unto the blands of their possessions; and my word also shall be gathered in cone. And I will show unto them that fight against my word and against my dpeople, who are of the ehouse of Israel, that I am God, and that I fcovenanted with gAbraham that I would remember his hseed iforever.
My question: Why is the word “Bible” used in this passage? In previous and following chapters and books, this word is never used. Bible is a modern word. In any previous or following references they use words like plates, scrolls, records, sticks and such. This chapter is also written in third-person, as if the Savior is writing or being directly quoted. This is also unique from the nearby chapters. The chapter headings mention nothing of Isaiah being quoted. My follow up question is then: Who wrote this chapter? The obvious answer is Nephi. But is it so obvious?
I have yet to take this question to the One who can answer better than any other. I felt like I should research a little more and see what I can find out before posing the question in prayer. I know that I will be able to receive the correct answer when I do ask the Lord. He’s answered many questions for me and will continue to do so. I simply want to pose this to you, my friends and family. I have asked some on Twitter and in casual conversation. I have gotten some great perspectives. I plan to gather what I can and then formulate a complete inquiry to bring to my Father in Heaven.
I know one other thing that I want to leave here before I post this. I know there are many out there that are unfamiliar and unfriendly toward someone with a testimony of the Book Of Mormon. They might have incomplete knowledge of some of these deeper things. Those of you who might fit into this category, please refrain from commenting here. I would not stifle anyone’s freedom to suggest ideas or thoughts. I just want to avoid any arguing or negative conversation. There are folks out there who feel like the LDS Church is wrong and corrupt. While you are free to think that, please refrain from adding your thoughts here.