Reasons for Latter-day Saints to read the Old Testament #1: Jesus commands it

I’ve always loved the scriptures. I particularly remember loving the stories of the Bible even before my family joined the Church, so it has been a little troubling to me to hear some members say that it isn’t necessary for Latter-day Saints to read the Old Testament. Obviously that isn’t doctrine, but I’ve heard far too many say it to think it was just an individual idea (which it isn’t, unless we’re talking about Marcion). Up till now I’ve mostly contented myself with extending individual commitments to read the Old Testament whenever someone says that to me, but obviously the idea keeps spreading somehow, and I’m also sure there’s many more who, while they’d never say something like that, simply haven’t read the Old Testament at length (even, as I’ve mentioned before, if they’re following the Sunday School reading plan).

So I’d thought I’d start writing a series of short reasons why latter-day saints should read the Old Testament, beginning with today’s:

And now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah.
For surely he spake as touching all things concerning my people which are of the house of Israel; therefore it must needs be that he must speak also to the Gentiles.
And all things that he spake have been and shall be, even according to the words which he spake.
(3 Nephi 23:1–3)

Here we find the risen Saviour, having just quoted Isaiah and other Old Testament prophets at length, commanding the people at Bountiful to read them. He then adds his witness that everything Isaiah spoke will be fulfilled, both to Israel and to the Gentiles (i.e us). He quotes it, commands us to read it, and confirms it is true. Which makes Isaiah one of the few books ever that, if you printed it as a paperback and put it in a bookshop, could have the blurb on the back saying “as recommended by the Son of God!”

Do we need a greater recommendation than that?

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3 thoughts on “Reasons for Latter-day Saints to read the Old Testament #1: Jesus commands it

  1. Wow. I’m shocked that some feel that way. Like you said, Jesus has commanded us to study the scriptures. “Scriptures” includes the Old Testament. How would we know so much about these prophets if we didn’t read about them? Christ even wants us to study Isaiah, especially. Where do we find most of his words? In the Old Testament. Based on what I’ve read of his words in the New Testament and the Book of Mormon, I WANT to study Isaiah. I keep setting a goal to study the OT, but I never get beyond Leviticus.

    • I find myself a tad surprised about it too at times,and you’re quite right. Good luck with your Old Testament reading – I think in your position I’d be tempted to skip Leviticus for the time being. Not that it doesn’t have some good stuff in (it does), but since unlike the Book of Mormon the Bible isn’t a unitary work, one virtue is that many of the books are relatively self-contained and one can go back to them!

  2. Pingback: Revisiting Deuteronomy #1 | David's random ramblings

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