“Have Ye Obtained a Bible Save It Were by the Jews?”

Brant Gardner

These three verses provide the reason for the Lord’s introduction of the “Bible” parallel. The Lord is presenting an argument that has two prongs. The first is that there will be a contention related to those who will not accept a new written communication. The second, and main thrust, however, is to highlight the proper relationship of the Jews and the Gentiles (remembering that for Nephi, the term “Jew” is a collective term for all of the house of Israel).

Verse 4 begins the argument by noting that while the Gentiles will accept and proclaim the text that is received from the Jews (the Old World Jews), they will not accept the Jews themselves. The Lord lays out the historical enmity towards the Jews, and derides the Gentiles for it. The Lord points out the irony that the Gentiles deny the Jews as the source of their Bible, of their salvation, while proclaiming the text received from the Jews as that very salvation. This dichotomy between the source of the revealed knowledge and the current text becomes the focal point for the next verses.

Verse notes that the Gentiles “have cursed [the Jews] and have hated them.” This cursing and hatred has led the Gentiles to neglect the care for the Jews that they are deserving as God’s chosen people. While verse 5 accuses the Gentiles of forgetting the Jews, it also assures us that God has not forgotten them.

Verse 6 highlights the irony of the Gentile position, noting that the “Bible” of which they are so proud comes to them from the Jewish roots. This explicit connection between the promises of God to the Jews (again using the term as a collective) and the existence of the Bible is the foundation for the next phase of the argument.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon