The Word…

“‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.’ (John 1:1-22). From the beginning, God’s word, a lifeline to knowing Him, has been available to all of His children, all who would hear, all who would be willing to follow. For a moment in recent time, my ears fell weak and understanding diminished, and I feared perhaps I could no more hear, but in the darkness there was light still, comfort in His voice, leading me back to His word. I gratefully rejoice for my own blessings, and to know that mine is not the only life blessed, the heavenly gift being available to all my brothers and sisters in Him, sons and daughters all of God. Partaking of the word of God brings us all unto Him.”

Daniel Joseph Malcolm, 21 January 2024

Since childhood I have always loved reading the scriptures. I received my first copy of the King James version of the Holy Bible from my dear mother when I was eight years old, around the time I was baptized. I brought that Bible with me faithfully to Sunday services every week, referencing scripture in Sunday school and striving to be a follower of the Lord. Two or three years later my mother gifted me with a leather-bound copy of the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, additional books of scripture, witnesses of the goodness of God and the divine sonship of our Savior Jesus Christ.

I carried my books of scripture with me, mostly to church meetings, but also at times to school, and any opportunity I might have to learn and share. There were some bullies at church, who came up with “Scripto,” a nickname for me because I always had my scriptures. It was meant to be derogatory, but I did not care much. I loved studying, reading, and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, so it was hard to be offended. Reading the scriptures, learning of our Lord, has been for me a lifetime endeavor for which I have no regret.

I have read the scriptures without fail every day for many years now. I almost always read first thing in the morning before I get out of bed. A chapter a day has brought me light and understanding I otherwise would not know without this practice. It is a great way to start my day and begin my pondering. When we open the door to the Lord, at the start of the day, so much more light is available for us to see, and the temptations to wander away from goodness are more easily suppressed. I have heard a quote from an anonymous author, with which I agree wholeheartedly, “Fill your mind with God’s Word, and you will have no room for Satan’s lies.”

“Fill your mind with God’s Word, and you will have no room for Satan’s lies.”

I have long lived in the peace of daily scriptural nourishment, but about a month ago, my peace was stripped away by a violent accident that injured my body and mind and left me isolated from the comfort I knew in reading God’s word.

I awoke on the third day after the accident in a hospital room, unaware and without memory of the previous days. Taking very good care of me, hospital staff medicated me for my care and healing. My loving family members were close by, but I was severely limited by the extent of my injuries to recognize visitors, and to be able to function in ways which I was normally accustomed. When it came to my recognition, after days without the scriptures, I longed to read again. My dear wife Monica brought me a leather bound copy of scripture, well read and worn to my comfort. I felt further rescued from the tribulation of my injuries, grateful for her effort.

Later that evening, when I was alone, I drew the scriptures near and opened them where I had last read several days earlier. I began in my attempt to read, but then found that the injuries to my head made it impossible for me to understand the words I was attempting to read on the page. I could read some of the words, others looked completely unfamiliar to me, and the meaning and understanding of what the words meant put together was completely lost to me. I despaired as I felt as if I was looking at ancient scrolls of an unknown language. I felt utterly alone.

Unable to kneel in prayer, I simply laid on my bed and cried out to the Lord for divine assistance. I felt as if in thick darkness, almost to give up, but then, even though I could not fully wrap my mind around the Lord’s presence, and still feeling without comfort, the Lord told me in my mind and in my heart that He had not abandoned me, and that everything would be OK. I felt in despair, but knew God’s voice well enough to know that this time would pass, and I would overcome. I slept despairing that night, but in gratitude not to be alone.

In the days that followed, my loving wife and children read from the scriptures to me. I had a very hard time understanding simple words and phrases which I had read many times before, but I was once again hearing the word of God every day, my hope restoring, along with my health under the care of good doctors, nurses, and physical therapists. There was indeed hope in knowing that I would once again enjoy God’s word, feel His Spirit, and share the same.

Two weeks after the accident, I was able to return home, and I have been blessed once again to be able to read on my own, but my understanding comes from the Lord, as it always has. I am so grateful for the holy scriptures and the gift I have to know God’s word, to know my Savior, and His love.

Martin Luther, 1528 (Veste Coburg)

Daily study and learning of the scriptures has long been advocated by ecclesiastical figures as well as good and inspired men and women throughout the ages. I have long been grateful for the life risking effort on 31 October 1517 of German priest and theologian Martin Luther, who nailed his “95 Thesis” to the Wittenberg Church door. His 62nd declaration declares the preeminent place in value of the word of God for all willing to hear. “The true treasure of the church is the most holy gospel of the glory and grace of God.” The gospel of Jesus Christ is the very word of God, and most treasured asset of any religion, organization, congregation, family, or individual seeking to come unto Christ, or to bring others with. It was Godly inspiration that inspired a man like Martin Luther to make such a decree, and others to follow.

I read once a statement I will paraphrase by President Spencer W. Kimball that although higher education is of great importance to all who seek progression in career and opportunity, our spiritual education should come first, for there is always time and benefit in learning of God.

President Spencer W. Kimball

U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt would agree. He once said, “A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.” As a university educated man who has benefited much over many years for the education with which I was blessed, and for which I am very grateful, I too agree wholeheartedly. Gospel knowledge and wisdom as read in the scriptures, revealed by prophets, and witnessed by the Holy Ghost, has greater value and power in blessing lives than all the secular books filling every library ever erected. In the word of God contained is the very instruction and testimony of the saving sacrifice of the Savior Jesus Christ, available for the salvation of all mankind.

President Teddy Roosevelt

True wisdom of men and women who have achieved high position in life to serve others has more strictly come from the word of God, than the thoughts of man. U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who in his younger years recorded Bible stories, and scripture reading for the daily study and benefit of any who wished to listen declared, “Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.” I met the man in 1980 and enjoyed a private conversation with President Reagan when I was 18 years old in 1981, and I can tell you that he was a man who valued the wisdom of God over worldly understandings.

Official Portrait of President Ronald Reagan 7 February 1981

The Reverend and American evangelist Billy Graham, ordained southern Baptist minister, was also one to recognize the importance of daily scripture study, even over the study of words of his own he dedicatedly preached. “The very practice of reading the Bible will have a purifying effect upon your mind and heart. Let nothing take the place of this daily exercise.” While Reverend Graham invited millions to attend and listen to the hundreds of Crusade sermons that he gave over a generation, he recognized that daily personal scripture study was essential above any other priorities.

The Reverend and American evangelist Billy Graham, April 11, 1966 by Warren K. Leffler

As a devoted follower of Jesus Christ and faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I too believe in the daily study of scripture, the power of the Holy Ghost to inspire and reveal, and modern revelation from God through the servants of the Lord. I believe the Bible to be the word of God. I also believe the Book of Mormon, to be the word of God, and another testament of Jesus Christ. Like studying the ancient scripture revealed to the prophets of old from Adam, Moses to Isaiah, and written by the disciples of Jesus Christ in His day, I believe that there are heavenly promises connected to reading the Book of Mormon that bless our lives. President Thomas S. Monson invited, “I implore each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day. As we do so, we will be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven’s help in our lives” (General Conference, April 2017).

President Thomas S. Monson

President Marion G. Romney taught, “I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ —will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness” (General Conference, April 1980).

President Marion G. Romney

In reference to the study of Christ and His laws through scripture, and specifically the Book of Mormon, President Russell M. Nelson taught, “I promise that as you ponder what you study, the windows of heaven will open, and you will receive answers to your own questions and direction for your own life” (General Conference, October 2017).

President Russell M. Nelson

I add my own personal witness to these, that Jesus is the Son of the Eternal God, the Savior of the World, and that His word can be discovered, and should be daily explored in the pages of the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon. For the past two years, I have weekly testified of the veracity of the word of God from the Old and New Testaments of our Lord in the Holy Bible. The heavens are not closed. They did not close when Adam fell, nor after the days of Moses, they have remained open to God’s people whenever His people would hear His call and follow. The Lord’s people recorded His word in the Old World, in Ancient America, and do so even now, testifying of Christ, and inviting discipleship.

If we study daily His word the very windows of heaven will open and the blessings of heaven will be poured out upon us in ways told and untold. The fullness of God’s everlasting gospel has power in word and spirit to bring readers closer to Christ than by any other means. Mine is a firm witness that Jesus is the Christ, that He atoned for all mankind. May God bless you as He has blessed all who have followed the admonition to place Christ at the very center of our lives. We can do so through the prayerful daily study of the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon. In the coming year, as in years passed, I look forward to sharing with you my own discoveries in the study of God’s word. I am grateful that today I am able to read the scriptures once again, feel the Spirit of God, and do so alive and well in body and spirit. I look forward to growing together as followers of Jesus, of His word. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Daniel Malcolm is an entrepreneur, journalist, photographer, husband to Monica and father of twelve. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is a witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His Atonement.