1 The Miracle of the Holy Bible Elder M.

Russell Ballard Of the Quorum of the Twelve "We believe sincerely and f ully in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His revealed word through the Holy Bible." Brothers and sisters, the Holy Bible is a miracle! It's a miracle that the 4000 years of sacred and secular history of this book have been recorded and preserve d by the prophets, apostles and religious inspired. It's a miracle that we have a vigorous doctrine, principles, poetry and stories of the Bible, but, above all , is a wonderful miracle that we have available an account of the life, ministry and words of Jesus, who was protected during the Dark Ages and amid the conflic ts of countless generations, that we have them today. It's a miracle that the Bi ble contains literally in its pages the Spirit of Christ, which converts and hea ling that touches the hearts of men centuries ago, leading them to pray, to choo se the right path and engage in the pursuit of their Savior . The name of the Ho ly Bible has a reason for being. It is sacred because it teaches the truth is sa cred because it warms us with his spirit, holy because it teaches us to know God and understand His way of acting with men, and sacred because over its pages, t estifies about the Lord Jesus Christ. Abraham Lincoln said of the Bible: "This g reat book (...) is the best gift God gave to man. All the good the Saviour gave to the world was recorded in this book. Without it, we could not distinguish rig ht from wrong "(Speeches and writtings, 1859-1865 [1989], p. 628). It is no acci dent or coincidence that we have the Bible today. People just were inspired by t he Spirit to record both the sacred things which they saw as the inspired words they heard and uttered. Other dedicated people have been inspired to protect and preserve these records. Men like John Wycliffe, the courageous William Tyndale, and Johannes Gutenberg were induced, in spite of great opposition, to translate the Bible into the language that people understand and publish it in books for everyone. I believe even the scholars of the court of King Jaime received spirit ual influences in his work of translation. 2 The Middle Ages - or the Dark - it was really dark because the light of the go spel was hidden from the people. There were no apostles or prophets, nor access to the Bible. The clergy hid the deeds of the people and gave them no access to them. We owe much to the many brave martyrs and reformers like Martin Luther, Jo hn Calvin and John Huss who demanded freedom of worship and consultation of the holy books. William Tyndale gave his life because he believed deeply in the powe r of the Bible. He said: "The nature of God's word is such that anyone reading o r hearing, explained and debated, it will immediately begin to make that person better, until it reaches perfection" (S. Michael Wilcox, Fire in the Bones: Will iam Tyndale - Martyr, Father of the Bible Português [2004], p. xv). The honest and diligent study of the Bible does make us better people every time, and we mu st always remember the countless martyrs who knew his power and gave their lives so that we could find the words they contain the path of eternal happiness and peace of the kingdom of our Heavenly Father. Although these early Christian refo rmers were in agreement about many things, eventually diverge at various points of doctrine. This resulted in the organization of numerous Christian denominatio ns. Roger Williams, another former champion of religious freedom, came to the co nclusion that "there existed on Earth a Church properly established and no perso n authorized to administer the church ordinances, nor could there be until new a postles were sent by the great Head of the Church whose coming he expected "(see William Cullen Bryant, ed. Picturesque America, or The Land We Live In, 2 volum es [1872-1874], pp. 1-502). Tens of millions of people developed faith in God an d Jesus Christ to seek the truth in the Bible. Countless are those who had nothi ng but the Bible to guide and nurture their faith. Due to the efforts of reforme rs, the Bible became a common household object. "The word of God came to be read in light of the family hearth as much as the humblest of the most affluent" (Jo hn A. Widtsoe, in Conference Report, April 1939, p. 20). Millions of families ha

ve gathered to seek the Church of Jesus Christ through his Bible study. One of t hose families in the early nineteenth century in upstate New York, was that of J oseph Smith Senior. One of the sons was named Joseph Smith Jr. and studied the B ible to know which of the many names corresponded to the Church that Jesus Chris t organized.€He was inspired by the words of the Bible to pray for more light a nd spiritual knowledge of God. Determined to seek the wisdom promised in the hol y scriptures, Joseph knelt in humble prayer early in the spring of 1820. Oh, wha t marvelous light and truth were distilled over him that day when he saw the glo rious manifestation of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Again, God call ed a prophet, as it did in the days of Noah, Abraham and Moses. We should be imm ensely grateful for the Holy Bible. In it we learn not only about the life, teac hings and doctrines of Christ but on His Church, His Priesthood and the organiza tion that He established and called the Church of Jesus Christ in ancient times. We believe that Church, and believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-d ay Saints is that same Church, restored to the earth in its fullness and with th e same organization and the same priesthood. 3 Without the Bible, we would not have knowledge of His Church in the past, nor would we have the fullness of His gospel today. I love the Bible. I love his tea chings, its lessons and its spirit. I love the deep and incisive stories of the Old Testament and its great prophets, who testified about the coming of Christ. I love to travel and apostolic miracles recorded in the New Testament and the ep istles of Paul. But above all, love the eyewitness accounts of the words, exampl e and the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. I love the perspective and peace that come from reading the Bible. Brothers and sisters, I'm sure many of you ha d the experience of hearing people say that "Mormons are not Christians because they have their own Bible, the Book of Mormon." For anyone with this kind of mis conception, we say we believe in our Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and the aut hor of our salvation, and we believe in the Holy Bible, revere, and love. In fac t, we have additional sacred scripture, including the Book of Mormon, but it sup ports the Bible and never replace it. Jesus taught: "Search the Scriptures, beca use (...) are they which testify of me" (John 5:39). These words bring insight a nd inspiration to all who sincerely wish to know and understand the truth about Jesus Christ. The scriptures are lavish in history, doctrine, reports, sermons a nd testimonies that focus primarily on the eternal Christ and His mission for th e physical and spiritual children of our Heavenly Father. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that "all Scripture is God-breathed and profitable" (II Timothy 3:16). We love the Bible and other scriptures. This may cause surprise to some who may not know that we believe the Bible is the re vealed word of God. She is one of the pillars of our faith, a strong testimony o f the Savior and the continuing influence of Christ in the lives of people who w orship and follow Him. The more we read and study the Bible and its teachings, w e see more clearly the doctrinal foundations of the restored gospel of Jesus Chr ist. We tend to love the scriptures, to which we consecrate our time. Maybe we n eed to balance our study, to love and understand all scripture. You young people , especially, do not underestimate or devalue the Holy Bible. It is the record o f the holy and sacred life of the Lord. The Bible contains hundreds of pages mor e than all our other scripture combined. It is the foundation of all Christianit y. We do not criticize or belittle the beliefs of others. Our great responsibili ty as Christians is to share all that God has revealed to all His children. Who is affiliated to the Church does not abandon his faith in the Bible, but stronge r. The Book of Mormon does not weaken, does not diminish or overshadow the Bible . Rather, he expands, it expands and exalts. The Book of Mormon testifies of the Bible, and both testify of Christ. The first testament of Christ is the Old Tes tament of the Bible, which predicted and prophesied the coming of the Savior, Hi s sublime life and His liberating Atonement. 4 The second testament of Christ in the Bible is the New Testament, which record s His birth, His life, His ministry, His gospel, His Church, His Atonement and H is Resurrection, as well as the testimony of His apostles. The third testament o

f Christ is the Book of Mormon, which also predicted the coming of Christ, it co nfirms the biblical account of His Atonement saving and then reveals the resurre cted Lord to visit the other hemisphere of the Earth. The subtitle of the Book o f Mormon, a mission statement elucidating the cover of each copy is: "Another Te stament of Jesus Christ." Each of these three testaments is a part of the grande r and indivisible word of the Lord revealed to His children. They contain the wo rds of Christ,€with which we were admonished to banquetearnos to prepare us for eternal life (see 2 Nephi 31:20). Anyone who thinks one party is more important or true than the other will be losing a lot of beauty and fullness of the canon of ancient scripture. And if anyone thinks that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do not believe in Jesus Christ or the Bible, the Chu rch must seek to understand the meaning of his name and power of your message. I am puzzled when someone questions the church's belief in the Bible and our posi tion as Christians. The name of the Church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latt er-day Saints. In our last general conference, here in this building, church lea ders quoted the Bible nearly 200 times. The church is organized and works exactl y as the Church established by Christ and His apostles in the New Testament. Sea ted on the stand today are the prophet and apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. I bear solemn witness that we believe fully and sincerely in the Lord Jesus Christ and His revealed word through the Holy Bible. We not only believe in the Bible, but also strive to follow its precepts and to teach his message. The message of our missionaries is Christ, His gospel and His Atonement, and the scriptures ar e the text of that message. We say to everyone: "We offer them our love and invi te them to come. Let us share all that God revealed. " Brothers and sisters, we must help all people, including our own members, to understand more fully the po wer and importance of the Holy Bible. The Bible contains scriptures that lead us - us and all humanity - to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. That God grant us the desire and ability to accept and live His teachings. It is my humble prayer in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen