Scriptures Are Our Textbooks for Life

Inspired Speaking and Writing from the Lord's Prophets is Considered Scripture

Since 1979 the Church has used its own edition of the King James Bible that includes chapter headings, footnotes and cross-references to other Latter-day Saint scriptures. Photo courtesy of © 2011 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

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When Heavenly Father inspires His prophets to speak or write something, it becomes scripture. We are expected to listen, read, study and ponder the scriptures.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS/Mormon) accepts four books as scripture: the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.

Together, these four books are called the standard works.

When our living prophets are inspired to speak to us, their words are also considered scripture. LDS members should make scripture study a daily activity. All scripture is our textbook for living our lives. And, just like school, there will be a final test called judgment.

The Bible

Divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament, the Old Testament foretells the birth and ministry of Jesus Christ and the New Testament documents it.

The Old Testament covers many centuries of time, starting with the creation. Latter-day Saints consider many things in the Old Testament fulfilled or superseded. Jesus Christ was the great and last sacrifice. This ended the Mosaic law, which required rituals and ceremonies foreshadowing it. However, there are still many inspired teachings that are still relevant for our day.

The New Testament covers a compact time period; including events immediately preceding Christ's birth and concluding a short time after his death and resurrection.

Christ's teachings and his example of how we should live our lives, is the best guidance we have on living the higher law that Christ instituted.

There are many different translations of the Bible. LDS use the King James Version almost exclusively. However, modern prophets have clarified and explained some teachings through their inspired instruction to us.

These clarifications and explanations can be helpful, since uninspired translations have introduced errors over time.

The Book of Mormon

Heavenly Father chose and empowered prophets among the people living on the American continent. He also sent inspired teachings through them. The Book of Mormon is the record of those prophets and teachings.

Though written by these ancient people, the record is meant for us in our day. Translated by Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon documents Christ's visit to the America's after his resurrection. Unsullied by uninspired translations, it is the most correct book we have today on earth.

The Book of Mormon contains the fulness of Christ's gospel and is the keystone of our religion. For this reason, it has unusual significance for us now. We consider it the most correct book in existence today.

The Doctrine and Covenants

Joseph Smith, the first modern prophet of this last dispensation, received further inspired instruction from Heavenly Father. These divinely inspired writings, visions and instruction are collected in what is referred to as the D&C.

Other divinely inspired material was added by subsequent prophets. Much of this material reveals additional truths that were either lost to time or is relevant only to our day.

It is intended to prepare the people, and his newly reestablished church, for the second coming of Jesus Christ.

The Pearl of Great Price

A compilation of materials, the Pearl of Great Price contains the inspired writings divinely translated from papyrus found in Egyptian catacombs, inspired writings previously lost but restored to Joseph Smith, other inspired writings by Joseph Smith and the Articles of Faith.

The book also contains excepts from church history, as well as inspired additions to the current Bible that were lost due to uninspired translations.

The Pearl of Great Price is distinct for what it adds to our understanding of the creation of the world.

Words of Living Prophets

Since we believe that Heavenly Father continues to inspire his current prophets, the inspired teachings and writings of current church leaders is considered scripture.

Twice a year, Mormons gather to hear inspired counsel in General Conference. Proceedings are then published in the Ensign, a church magazine, as well as on the Church's official website.

Modern, inspired counsel is not limited to just General Conference. However, conference usually results in the greatest outpouring of it.

How Should Knowing All This Change My Life?

We should constantly study and live all the teachings contained in scripture, wherever it is found.

Scripture study should be an important daily activity for us.

We should look for answers to our life's problems in the scriptures.

We should pay attention to teachings from General Conference, as well as other current teachings, because this is modern scripture.

Next: The Life and Purpose of Jesus Christ