Source:Echoes:Ch8:3:Oldest Bible texts and Book of Mormon

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The Oldest Bible Texts Fit the Book of Mormon Pattern

The Oldest Bible Texts Fit the Book of Mormon Pattern

It is interesting that the earliest extant manuscripts containing biblical text fit the same pattern as the Book of Mormon. One of these manuscripts was written on small metal scrolls, another was written in a reformed Egyptian script, and a set of biblical manuscripts was concealed for future recovery.18

The earliest known manuscripts containing biblical text were found in 1980 in a tomb in Jerusalem. Dating from the end of the seventh century BC (the time of Lehi), they consisted of two rolled-up silver leaves inscribed with the priestly blessing found in Numbers 6:24–26.19

The second oldest known manuscript citing a Bible text is the fourth-century BC Amherst Papyrus 63, discussed earlier, which includes a quote of Psalm 20:2–6. Though the language of the text is Aramaic (a close relative of Hebrew that the Jews had adopted after the fall of Jerusalem in 587 BC), it is not written in the Aramaic alphabet but in Egyptian demotic script, a type of cursive or reformed Egyptian.

Third in age among known Bible manuscripts are the Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered between the years 1947 and 1956. The oldest of these, a copy of the book of Exodus (denominated 4Q17) discovered in 1948, was written in the middle of the third century BC. Like the Book of Mormon, the Dead Sea Scrolls were concealed in the earth to come forth at a later time.

The fact that the three earliest known manuscripts with Bible text are, respectively, written on metallic plates, written in a reformed Egyptian script reflecting an underlying Semitic language, and hidden away for future discovery demonstrates that the Book of Mormon fits an ancient pattern.[1]


  1. John A. Tvedtnes, "Ancient Texts in Support of the Book of Mormon," in Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon, edited by Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, and John W. Welch (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 2002), Chapter 8, references silently removed—consult original for citations.