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Did the Prophet Joseph Smith say anything concerning the value of various books of the Old Testament?

TitleDid the Prophet Joseph Smith say anything concerning the value of various books of the Old Testament?
Publication TypeMagazine Article
Year of Publication1973
AuthorsMatthews, Robert J.
Issue Number10
Date PublishedOctober 1973
KeywordsJoseph Smith Translation; Song of Solomon

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When the Prophet Joseph Smith intently studied the Bible and made his inspired translation, did he say anything concerning the various books of the Old Testament that would suggest either their special importance or lesser value?

Robert J. Matthews: The original manuscript of Joseph Smith’s inspired translation of the Bible contains the terse statement: “The Songs of Solomon are not inspired writings.” (Old Testament Manuscript No. 3, page 97.) Since the manuscript does not contain this type of emphatic declaration about any of the other books of the Bible, the inference is that all the others are inspired writings. For some unknown reason the manuscript of the inspired translation contains no mention of the book of Ecclesiastes, though every other book of the Old and New Testaments is clearly cited with some comment or reference. Failure to include Ecclesiastes was probably an oversight.

I know of no other specific declarations by the Prophet Joseph concerning the relative value of the individual books of the Old Testament while making the inspired translation. He did, however, receive a revelation not to translate the books of the Apocrypha (D&C 91), but these are not in our present Old Testament. The revelations given through the Prophet Joseph solidly proclaim that the Bible is an inspired record written originally by men of God. He said, “I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 327.)

Although all of the books except one have the touch of inspiration about them, obviously some contain greater messages than others. The Prophet’s more frequent use of some books suggests their relative value to us. For example, in his sermons and writings the Prophet quoted from such books as Genesis, Exodus, Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel far more than he did from Kings and Chronicles.


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