adding to or taking away
the words of the Bible(?)
Critics of The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints have often commented that these verses in the Book of Revelation (Rev.
22:18-19) demonstrate that no revelation beyond the Bible
was intended by God, and therefore the Book of Mormon is false. Apparently
these critics are unaware that for many years members of the Church of Jesus
encountered this argument. It is easily answered. In correspondence with a woman who claims to have
a Masters degree, Dr. Daniel C.
Peterson (FARMS) once again briefly responds to the issue with the following comments:
[Our critic comments:]
The Bible is very specific that anybody who adds to it is in danger of eternal fire.
I assume that you refer to Revelation 22:18-19. This is such a tired old chestnut -- I must receive at least a message a week
from some self-appointed anti-Mormon crusader on this subject -- that I can scarcely bear to read about it again, let alone to
write about it. So I'll be brief:
The Bible as such did not exist when the book of Revelation was written.
The individual books of the Bible circulated independently as scrolls. The Bible never refers to itself as "the Bible," because it does not know itself as such.
Because, of course, it did not exist as such during the time of its writing.
Accordingly, the book of Revelation did not come at the end of the "Bible" in the first Christian centuries -- because it could not have done so -- and, thus, Revelation 22:18-19 could not
possibly be referring to the rest of the Bible. It is merely a warning to unscrupulous scribes against tampering with the words
of Revelation itself. Such tampering was a significant problem in antiquity, when books circulated in small numbers of
easily-modified hand-written manuscripts, and such warnings are not uncommon.
To which we (SHIELDS)
add that essentially the same statement (as that in Revelation) is made
in Deuteronomy and Proverbs:
Ye shall not add unto the word which I command
you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep
the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.
And again in Proverbs:
Every word of God is pure: he is a
them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words,
lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. (Proverbs 30:5-6)
Using the same logic promoted by critics, one would
then be forced to tear everything out of the Bible after Deuteronomy
or Proverbs, and throw it away. Such an idea is nonsense.
We hope that our critics will stop wasting
our time (and theirs) with such a
tired and easily answered argument.