I was inspired by Kristine’s post to think about prooftexts. My nomination is 2 Timothy 3:16:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
The prooftexting part comes when this verse is used (and it frequently is) to argue that all scripture is inspired. There are several problems with this:
(1) See Article of Faith #8. We simply don’t believe that all scripture (as it now stands) is inspired by God.
(2) Without quibbling about when (or by whom) this verse was written, it was obviously written before the New Testament was canonized. Therefore, it is an open question as to what the word ‘scripture’ means in this verse. (Note: the Greek word translated ‘scripture’ is graphe, which can mean ‘sacred writing,’ or, more simply, ‘writing.’)
(3) The Greek for the first phrase can be legitimately translated as “All scripture that is inspired by God is profitable . . .”
(4) All of the above could, I suppose, be debated. But what’s harder to ignore is the JST:
And all Scripture given by inspiration of God, is profitable…
The JST suggests to me that the rest of the sentence describes the qualities of scriptures that are inspired and acknowledges that some of what we call scripture is not inspired. I’m not someone who likes to hop up and down and insist that big chunks of scripture are uninspired, but I think that when it comes to things like 1 Timothy 2:15, we need to be willing to call a spade a spade and say, ‘this is false doctrine.’
Given all of the above, I think the use of 2 Timothy 3:16 to suggest that all scripture is inspired is beyond the realm of possibility. While most LDS probably aren’t aware of (2) and (3), ignoring (4) speaks, I think, of either downright laziness or bad motives.
I don’t think it is coincidental that both this passage and the one Kristine mentioned are used to bolster a belief in inerranacy (mine, of the scriptures, Kristine’s of Church leaders). There is a desire here to find inerrancy; is this, perhaps, the ‘clinging’ in 1 Nephi 8:24 that leads to people falling away as opposed to the ‘continually holding’ down in verse 30 that leads to the tree of life?
So . . . what are your (least) favorite prooftexts?