Journal of Book of Mormon Studies


New Testament, New World, Book of Mormon, Sermon on the Mount


In the Old World Jesus taught, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled" (Matthew 5:6), yet in the New World he says, "Blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost" (3 Nephi 12:6). Attention, understandably, has been given to the differences, large and small, between the Sermon on the Mount as recounted in the New Testament and the similar sermon given in the New World. At times, we note slight shifts in emphasis (here in the New World, for example, Jesus makes this promise to "all"), more complete understandings (we are filled specifically with the influence of the Holy Ghost), and so on. And these differences raise compelling questions about the possibility that plain and precious truths were lost in translation in the Bible but are restored again in the Book of Mormon. The differences might also suggest the importance of a shifting context that moves Jesus to vary his speech. One wonders if one version is more authoritative than the other. But there is an additional question the two accounts of Christ's sermon raise. What do readers make of the fact that in most cases the wording is exactly coincident? What might that signify?