“Thou Fool That Shall Say”

Alan C. Miner

According to an article by Kevin Barney, at the end of the first decade of this century, Thomas Brookbank, a one-time associate editor of the Latter-Day Saints' Millennial Star, published some articles on Hebrew idioms that suggested that enallage, meaning the substitution of the singular for the plural or vice versa for rhetorical effect, is present in the Book of Mormon. As Brookbank explained it, "when more than one was to share in a thought, or sentiment, the plural was sometimes used to show that the single individual chiefly in mind was not the only one to whom it was applicable, and, conversely, when more than one was to be included, the singular could be substituted for the plural to show, among other things, that those to whom the thought or command, etc., was directed were not viewed collectively only, but as individuals also, who separately composed the mass." 2 Nephi 29:3 reads, "And because my words shall hiss forth--many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible."

The Lord then responds to the Gentiles (plural) in verses 4 and 5, as numerous verbal clues attest. Finally, in verse 6, the Lord says, "Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?"

Here the singular "thou" appears to be an example of enallage, driving home the foolishness of the idea to anyone who would entertain it. [Kevin L. Barney, "Enallage in the Book of Mormon," in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, F.A.R.M.S., Spring 1994, pp. 113, 116, 140]

“Thou Fool That Shall Say”

Matthew Brown comments, What of the argument that the Bible contains the complete word of God and there is, therefore, no need for further scripture? The Bible itself provides clear evidence that it is not complete since it mentions scriptural texts that are now missing. The "lost" books of the Bible include:

Book of the Covenant (Exodus 24:7)

Book of the Wars of the Lord (Numbers 21:14)

Book of Jasher (Joshua 10:13; 2 Samuel 1:18)

Book of the Acts of Solomon (1 Kings 11:41)

Book of the Manner of the Kingdom (1 Samuel 10:25)

Book of Nathan the Prophet (1 Chronicles 29:29; 2 Chronicles 9:29)

Book of Shemaiah the Prophet (2 Chronicles 12:15)

Book of Jehu (2 Chronicles 20:34)

Book of Samuel the Seer (1 Chronicles 29:29)

Book of Gad the Seer (1 Chronicles 29:29; 2 Chronicles 2:29)

Visions of Iddo the Seer (2 Chronicles 9:29; 12:15; 13:22)

The Sayings of the Seers (2 Chronicles 33:19)

Prophecy of Ahijah (2 Chronicles 9:29)

Acts of Abijah (2 Chronicles 13:22)

Acts of Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:22)

Lost Epistle to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 5:9)

Lost Epistle to the Ephesians (Ephesians 3:3)

Lost Epistle to the Laodiceans (Colossians 4:16)

Lost Epistle from Jude (Jude 1:3)

Lost Book of Enoch (Jude 1:14-15)

In addition to these lost books of scripture, there is presently no biblical text that records the prophecy that Jesus Christ would be "called a Nazarene" (Matthew 2:23). Nor do we presently possess another important prophecy concerning the Son of God. "Thus it is written, that Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead" (Luke 24:46, emphasis added). The apostle Luke informs us that before he penned his own book "many . . . eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word" had "taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us" (Luke 1:1, emphasis added). Where are these records? Does the Bible at least provide us with a complete record of Christ's earthly ministry? Certainly not. The apostle John informs us that "there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written" (John 21:25), emphasis added; see also John 20:30). And what of the Savior's post-resurrection teachings. The Bible testifies that Jesus spent 40 full days, after He had arisen from the grave, instructing His disciples on things "pertaining to the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3). Where are the records of these important truths?

So is it accurate to say that the Bible contains the final word of God? No, certainly not. In the Book of Mormon the Lord lays out the fallacy of such an idea. "Thou fool, that shall say: 'A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible.'" (2 Nephi 29:6). [Matthew B. Brown, All Things Restored: Confirming the Authenticity of LDS Beliefs, pp. 185-186]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary