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At this splendid Christmastime, Book of Mormon Central is pleased to share some gifts that will continue giving all through 2022. As Latter-day Saints around the world begin their study of the Old Testament, we at Book of Mormon Central hope that you can supplement your Come, Follow Me study with these new, free, online resources that we have prepared for studying the Old Testament and the world of the Bible. These gifts are acquired without money and without price as the Book of Mormon directs (2 Nephi 9:50). Like all of the most significant things in life, these gifts will produce blessings commensurate with the heed and diligence you pay to them (Mosiah 1:16). They will help you increase your appreciation for and understanding of the precious word of God (Doctrine and Covenants 1:38).
1. Bible Central
Our first gift is a major new website: Bible Central. With this important new resource that looks at the Bible through the lens of the Restoration, Book of Mormon Central has now built a “Central” for each of the four standard works. Would a biographical dictionary of people in the Old Testament help you keep everyone straight? Bible Central has it. How about a geographical reference of places mentioned in the text? Bible Central has that too. Book and chapter guides? Yes. Links to engaging videos? Absolutely. Bibliographies for further reading if you really want to dig deeply into the Old Testament? You will find them on Bible Central. Come and explore; keep coming back for more enlightenment. Webmaster Jasmin Rappleye and her team have organized a wealth of information on Bible Central that will continue to grow and develop throughout 2022 and 2023.
2. Old Testament Videos in 3 Languages
Our second gift is an outstanding lineup of Come, Follow Me presenters in 3 languages. These are some of the finest teachers in the Church today. This year, in addition to the popular show Come Follow Me Insights with Tyler Griffin and Taylor Halverson, Book of Mormon Central will be producing a daily, 5-minute video series on the Old Testament. With this new daily series, viewers can do their Come, Follow Me study in just a few minutes each day.
In English, we have Taylor Halverson and Tyler Griffin, Marianna Richardson, Lynne Wilson, John Hilton III, Casey Griffiths, and Jasmin Rappleye. In Spanish, we have Pepe Valle, Walter Posada, and Cecy Gastelum, in addition to a terrific kid’s program, Ven Sígueme Kids. In Portuguese, we have Lucas Guerreiro, Eduardo Thomazini, and Marcus Martins. 350,000 families each week make Book of Mormon Central presentations part of their Come, Follow Me devotions.
3. Messages of Christ YouTube Channel
Our third gift is the outstanding YouTube Channel Messages of Christ with its Christmas message on the creation, fall, and atonement. If you love our Savior and Redeemer, you will enjoy spending time with Daniel Smith’s videos. If you appreciate temples, ancient and modern, then Messages of Christ has great content to expand your knowledge about them. If 3D models help you understand the Tabernacle in the wilderness or Solomon’s Temple in more detail, you’ll find plenty of models on Messages of Christ.
4. Free Online Book: Old Testament Cultural Insights
Our fourth gift is a series of short articles by biblical scholar Avram Shannon called Cultural Insights. These delightful nuggets shine light from ancient civilizations on interesting words or phrases in the Old Testament whose meaning is obscure or difficult to understand for most modern readers. Expect many “aha moments” as you come to appreciate Old Testament passages the way ancient Israelites would have understood them.
5. Free, Online Book: The Jesus Christ Focused Old Testament
Our fifth gift is a beautiful monograph by eminent biblical scholar Donald W. Parry entitled The Jesus Christ Focused Old Testament: Making Sense of a Monumental Book. An angel told Nephi that, in the beginning, the Old Testament was “plain and pure, and most precious and easy to the understanding of all men” (1 Nephi 14:23). With Parry as our guide, the Old Testament returns to its original grandeur as the First Testament of our Creator, Lord, and Savior, Jehovah, the Messiah—Jesus Christ. You will never read the Old Testament the same way again after you discover how truly Christological it is.
6. Free, Online Book: The Pearl of Great Price Study Edition
Our sixth gift is a remarkable study edition of the Pearl of Great Price from young scholar Stephen Smoot in collaboration with established scriptural scholars John Gee, Kerry Muhlestein, John Thompson, and Jeff Bradshaw. The study edition presents the text with notes and commentary to help you better understand what you are reading in its ancient historical and cultural context. Much of this content is available in extended form on Pearl of Great Price Central which debuted in August 2019.
7. Free, Online Commentary: Old Testament Minute
Book of Mormon Central and the ScripturePlus app have teamed up with Bible Central to produce a multi-author, biblical commentary for Latter-day Saints. This commentary provides historical, cultural, and doctrinal insights into the beloved stories of the bible, one passage at a time. It follows on the heels of the popular Doctrine and Covenants Minute by Casey Griffiths and the Book of Mormon Minute by Brant Gardner. It will take time to complete this massive project (39 books of the Old Testament!), but we hope that Latter-day Saints can glean valuable insights for their scripture study using this commentary that can be found on ScripturePlus, Bible Central, and the Book of Mormon Central Archive.
8. ScripturePlus App
Our eighth gift is the popular mobile app, ScripturePlus. Imagine the power of Book of Mormon Central, Pearl of Great Price Central, Doctrine and Covenants Central and Bible Central all in the palm of your hand. Imagine the scriptural insights that come when you read a verse of holy writ surrounded by comments, quotes, images, videos, etc. Imagine the convenience of reading plans that help you feast on the word of God in bite-sized chunks. ScripturePlus has all of this and more. For many, ScripturePlus has revolutionized their daily scripture study. It has been downloaded 213,000 times. It has facilitated over 100 million study events. And the best part is that ScripturePlus keeps getting better every day. A team of mobile app developers led by Israel Gonzalez and a second team of content curators led by Daniel Smith release enhanced versions of the app frequently on iPhone, Android, and Kindle. ScripturePlus is currently available in English and Spanish.
9. Come Follow Me App
The ninth gift is the exciting new mobile app, Come Follow Me, from our partners Evan Fitzpatrick and Sheree Nixon at Come Follow Me Foundation. Think you don’t have time or energy for daily scripture study? Think again. You have five minutes each day you can devote to God’s word, and the Come Follow Me app makes it almost effortless. Enjoy moving daily video devotionals from interesting people around the Church and some of the best Come Follow Me content from many sources, including Book of Mormon Central, collected in one convenient place.
These nine gifts will illuminate your path on your journey through life (Psalm 119:105). May your days be merry and bright.
Merry Christmas from Book of Mormon Central!