By Frank Jamerson
(Mormons believe that the Bible was corrupted and that their writings are superior to the Bible. It is useless to talk with them about the contradictions between the Bible and the Mormon writings because they have already had their confidence in the Bible undermined. The following outline was prepared to present to two Mormons. They listened, but had no response – not even a quibble.)
A. The Bible claims to be God’s word (2 Tim. 3:16,17; 2 Pet. 1:3,20,21; Jn. 16:13; 2 Jn. 9).
B. The truth was “once delivered” (Jude 3; cf. Heb. 9:27). C. The books were authoritative, and considered to be so, when they were written (1 Cor. 14:37; 1 Jn. 4:6).
1. “One thing must be emphatically stated. The New Testament books did not become authoritative for the Church because they were formally included in a canonical list; on the contrary, the Church included them in her canon because she already regarded them as divinely inspired, recognizing their innate worth and generally apostolic authority, direct or indirect. The first ecclesiastical councils to classify the canonical books were both held in North Africa at Hippo Regius in 393 and at Carthage in 397 but what these councils did was not to impose something new upon the Christian communities but to codify what was already the general practice of these communities” (The New Testament Documents – Are They Reliable? by F.F. Bruce, p. 27).
2. “The books of the Bible possess their own authority and indeed had this authority long before there were any councils of the church” (How We Got The Bible, by Neil Lightfoot, p. 82).
3 “If it is no later than the middle of the second century when the apostles’ letters became widely read in public meetings, it is no later than the last half of that century when substantial lists of the New Testament books appear” (Lightfoot, p. 84).
4. “It is necessary to emphasize that no church through its councils made the canon of Scripture. No church – in particular the Roman Catholic Church – by its decrees gave to or pronounced upon the books of the Bible their infallibility. The Bible owes its authority to no individual or group. The church does not control the canon, but the canon controls the church” (Lightfoot, p. 87).
A. How the Bible came to us:
1. Manuscripts (copies in the same language):
a. Vatican (or Codex B) – a fourth century manuscript, housed in the Vatican Library since 1481. (It contains 759 pages of the finest vellum on which most of the Old and New Testaments are written.)
b. Sinaitic – discovered at Mt. Sinai. It dates to the fourth century and contains most of the Old and all twenty-seven books of the New Testament. It was discovered by a German, named Tischendorf, in 1844-1859, and then put in the Imperial Library, St. Petersburg, Russia; but in 1933 was sold to the British Museum for half a million dollars. (Note: We could as reasonable say “the Russians gave us the Bible,” as we could “the Roman Catholics gave us the Bible.”)
c. Alexandrian – dates to the fifth century. It was taken from Alexandria, Egypt to the British Museum in 1627. Ten leaves are missing from the Old Testament, 25 from the beginning of the New, and two from John and three from 2 Corinthians.
d. The Dead Sea Scrolls – discovered in 1947 and dated to the second century B.C., scrolls were found of every O.T. book except Esther. A complete manuscript of Isaiah was found. These manuscripts simply confirmed the accuracy of what we already had.
e. There are over 4,500 manuscripts, or partial ones, of the New Testament. The large number of manuscripts leads to a large number of “variations” (such as mis-spelled words, letter reversals, or a dropped line), but the large number of manuscripts help scholars determine the genuine text, and no doctrine is affected by these “variations.”
2. Ancient Versions (Translations):
a. The gospel preached on Pentecost in different languages (Acts 2:4,6) needed to be translated into different languages after it was written by Spirit-guided men. (Note: Translating a manuscript cannot corrupt the manuscript. If the Greek New Testament exists, and it does, it could be translated by anyone and it would not “corrupt the text” from which the translation was made!)
b. The Old Syriac – a language spoken in regions of Syria and Mesopotamia, was found in 1892. It contains manuscripts of the Gospels and is dated back to the second century.
c. The Old Latin Version – about twenty copies exist and it dates back to about 150 A.D.
d. Latin Vulgate – a revision of the Old Latin version, made in 384 (the Gospels) and finished later. “Perhaps 10,000 copies of the New Testament in the Latin Vulgate exist” (Lightfoot, p. 43).
C. Apocryphal Books:
1. Catholics accept the 27 books that we accept in the New Testament plus twelve of fifteen “apocryphal books” in the Old Testament. The Catholic Church has not removed anything from the Bible. In fact, they added twelve books to the Old Testament that should not be there!
2. Simon Greenleaf, lawyer, in Testimony of the Evangelists gave several principles for determining the genuiness of a document.
a. “Every document, apparently ancient, coming from the proper repository or custody, and bearing on its face no evident marks of forgery, the law presumes to be genuine, and devolves on the opposing party the burden of proving it to be otherwise.”
b. “In matters of public and general interest, all persons must be presumed to be coversant, on the
principle that individuals are presumed to be conversant with their own affairs.” (Those who multiplied the copies of the New Testament are presumed to know what they were copying.)
c. “A proposition of fact is proved, when its truth is established by competent and satisfactory evidence.”
d . “The credit due to the testimony of witnesses depends upon, firstly, their honesty; secondly, their ability; thirdly, their number and the consistency of their testimony; fourthly, the conformity of their testimony with collateral circumstances.”
3. Why we reject the apocryphal books:
a. They were never included in the Hebrew canon of the Old Testament (Jesus and the apostles, as
well as other Jews to whom the law was given, did not accept them).
b. They were not accepted by such Jewish writers as Philo and Josephus (first century), the Jewish
c. They do not show evidence of the qualities of inspiration. Great portions are fictitious and contain historical and geographical errors (see Lightfoot, p. 92).
d. Various books were read in religious meetings, then, as now; but that does not prove that they were inspired.
D. Mormon Testimony:
1. The Book of Mormon says: “For behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts
which are plain and most precous; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away. . . . Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God . . . because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, and exceeding great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them” (1 Nephi 13:26,27,30).
2. The “great and abominable church” never had possession of the manuscripts of the Bible, therefore could not have “removed” things. This assertion is plainly contradicted by the facts.
3. The Articles of Faith of the Mormon church contradict the claim:
a. “It is evident, then, that from a time nearly three hundred years before Christ, the Old Testament has been current in both Hebrew and Greek; and this duplication has been an effective means of protection against alterations” (p. 242).
b. “Since the latter part of the fourth century of our current era, there has arisen scarcely a question of importance regarding the authenticity of the books of the New Testament as at present constituted. During these centuries the New Testament has been accepted as a canon of scripture by professed Christians” (p. 245).
c. On page 248 it says: “perhaps, many precious parts have been suppressed or lost, while some corruptions of the texts may have crept in, and errors have been inadvertently introduced through the incapacity of translators, the volume as a whole must be admitted as authentic and credible. . “
E. God’s Testimony:
1. Christ promised the apostles that the Holy Spirit would “guide them into all truth” (Jn. 16:13). If He did, then all truth was revealed through the apostles. If He did not, then Jesus did not tell the truth.
2. Paul said that any doctrine other than that delivered through the apostles would bring the curse of God upon its teachers (Gal. 1:8,9).
3. Jesus said the word of God would not pass away (Mk. 13:31).
4. Peter made the same promise, through inspiration of the Spirit (1 Pet. 1:25).
A. The Roman Catholic did not, and could not have, removed things from the Bible.
B. Some Mormons give a list of books mentioned in the Bible and claim they are “lost.” If the Book of Mormon was to “restore” them – where are they? (Not one of their list is found in the Book of Mormon!)
C. Others claim that some doctrines were removed from the Bible – not whole books. What is the doctrine, and where is it “restored” in the Book of Mormon?
D. Any doctrine in the Book of Mormon that is not in the Bible is wrong (Gal. 1:8,9). Any doctrine in the Book of Mormon that is right is already found in the Bible.
E. Not everything Jesus did was written, but the things written are sufficient to give us life (Jn. 20:30,31).
Guardian of Truth XXXI: 7, pp. 200-201
April 2, 1987