By Eric Johnson
There are many verses I like to use when I am witnessing to Mormons. Here are the 10 of the most common verses I cite regularly. I will provide the KJV rendering of the verse and, in about 100 words, explain how each can be used.
- Isaiah 43:10: “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.“
Isaiah chapters 43 through 46 speak clearly about the nature of God. According to this passage, God claims that He is the first and He is the last. There is, He says emphatically, no other God that He knows. If Mormonism is correct and God has a body of flesh and bones—indeed, LDS leaders have taught he once existed as a human in another realm—wouldn’t the omniscient God of the universe know the God whom He once worshiped? Other good verses in these chapters include 44:6,8 and 45:18.
- Psalm 90:2: Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.
Here the Psalmist states emphatically that God has always been God “from everlasting to everlasting.” While someone might try to claim that this verse is using the word “everlasting” to mean from the beginning of the universe to the end of the universe, this is a unique interpretation and not how faithful Jews and Christians over the centuries have understood it. God is more than an advanced human being; for Christians, this is blasphemous. He has always been God who created both time and the universe. God is much bigger than you or I!
- Deuteronomy 6:4: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.
Adherents to the monotheistic religions believe in just one God. (In Mormonism, there is a potential for millions of gods, with millions more being created regularly!) This idea is so important that this verse was cited by Jesus in Mark 12:29 before He answered the question about which commandment was most important. If there is only one God, then how could there be gods on other worlds? How can sinful human beings think that they have the potential to become gods? According to the Bible, there is only one true God, with plenty of impostors.
- John 8:58: Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
A connection between Jesus as the second Person in the Trinity needs to be made. In his discourse from John 8, Jesus told the Jewish leaders that He existed before Abraham. How is that possible? Jesus is certainly referencing Exodus 3:14 where God answered Moses’s question, “Whom shall I say sent me?” God responded, “I am who I am.” Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh, which is how the Jewish leaders understood His words since they attempted to stone Him for what they considered blasphemy. (Other great verses include John 1:1,14, 20:28; Col. 1:15-17, 2:9).
- Matthew 1:21: And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.
If Jesus incarnated to be nothing more than a good moral teacher (which many claim), there would be no miracle. The law certainly shows what we’re supposed to do. We know what we’re supposed to do. Yet we can’t do it! Jesus offers His people something that could not be earned on their own merit: forgiveness of sins. While the world’s religions insist that “salvation” is based on what each person does (i.e. attaining good karma in Hinduism, keeping the Five Pillars of Faith in Islam, getting baptized and married in a Mormon temple, etc.), Jesus provided eternal life by becoming a man and then paying the ultimate sacrifice, once for all.
- Hebrews 10:14: For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
According to the Book of Hebrews, Jesus fulfilled the major offices Mormonism claims for itself today: Prophet (1:1-2) as well as the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods (5:10, 7:24). His death was the sacrifice that had been foreshadowed by animal sacrifices in the Old Testament temple (10:10). As the writer of Hebrews states, it was through this one offering that Jesus “perfected” believers. This state of perfection doesn’t come through personal efforts, but only by what was accomplished on the cross. Works can never earn a person a right standing before God.
- Ephesians 2:8-9: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
This explains how salvation is a “gift of God.” According to Paul, this comes solely by faith, not works. When confronted with this verse, Latter-day Saints often will cite James 2:20, which says that “faith without works is dead.” When this happens, explain how you agree 100% with James. And Paul does as well. Works are important…in sanctification, not justification. In fact, right after he said that it’s by grace, not works, that saves a person, Paul adds in verse 10 that “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
- Titus 3:5: Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.
This verse works well with Ephesians 2:8-9. When it comes to works such as baptism, helping the poor, donating money, etc., we can all agree that these are good. When examples like these are referenced, ask, “Would you consider these ‘works of righteousness’?” The Mormon typically will agree. Then read Titus 3:5. Mercy is not getting what we do deserve (eternal punishment, Rom.6:23), while grace is getting what we don’t deserve (salvation). According to Paul, it is impossible to earn salvation. Rather, Jesus paid it all. Receiving this free gift is all that is required.
- Romans 3:28: Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Imagine, there’s nothing a person can do to affect his or her own salvation! This idea goes against the grain of the typical human’s intellect. “It can’t be that easy,” it may be argued. It wasn’t, as it cost God everything. At the same time, just how many good works are necessary according to Mormonism to attain a status of salvation? Aren’t all the commandments supposed to be kept? How often? Most Mormons will admit that all of them are required. If that’s the case, then who is capable of accomplishing this? The answer: Nobody. Faith, not works, provides eternal life.
- Jeremiah 17:9: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Mormons will often disregard evidence and trust heir internal feelings, claiming they know the Book of Mormon is true, Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God, and the Mormon Church is led by prophets and apostles of God. When you ask them how they know, they will usually respond, “Because I have prayed about it and have received a testimony.” The problem is that the Bible never commands Christians to rely on a testimony that contradicts the Word of God. In Acts 17, the Bereans were called noble because they searched the scriptures. So should we.
What would your Top 10 list look like? Consider committing some of these verses to memory and I can guarantee they will be helpful in explaining some of your points!
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