A photograph capturing a stack of Bibles with the Book of Alma conspicuously absent, symbolizing the intriguing question surrounding its exclusion from the Bible.

Why Is The Book Of Alma Not In The Bible?

The Book of Alma is one of the books contained within the Book of Mormon, which is considered sacred scripture in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, it is not included in the canonical Bible used by most other Christian denominations.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Book of Alma is not considered part of the biblical canon by most Christian groups because it is unique to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was first published in 1830, long after the biblical canon was established.

In this comprehensive article, we will examine the origins and history of the Book of Alma, its teachings and themes, and reasons why it is not considered biblical canon by most Christian groups.

What is the Book of Alma?

The Book of Alma is one of the books that makes up the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is considered scripture in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement.

However, it is not part of the biblical canon used by most other Christian faiths.

Part of the Book of Mormon

The Book of Alma is part of the Book of Mormon, which Latter Day Saints believe is a record of God’s dealings with some of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas. Along with the Bible, the Book of Mormon is considered scripture in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Book of Mormon is organized into 15 different books, including the books of 1 Nephi, 2 Nephi, Jacob, Mosiah, Alma, Helaman, 3 Nephi, 4 Nephi, Mormon, Ether, Moroni and others. The Book of Alma is one of the longest books, with 63 chapters.

Named after Alma the Younger

The Book of Alma chronicles the ministry of Alma the Younger and his descendants. Alma was one of the first judges of the Nephites after they abandoned their monarchy. He later became the first high priest and founder of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon.

Alma the Younger is one of the most pivotal characters in the Book of Mormon. His dramatic conversion story, in which he repents after seeing an angel, is told in Mosiah 27. The Book of Alma describes his later leadership and sermons to the Nephite people.

Covers about 38 Years of Nephite History

The Book of Alma covers a period of around 38 years, from about 120 BC to 82 BC according to Latter Day Saint chronology. During this time, Alma the Younger, his sons Helaman, Shiblon and Corianton, and later Helaman’s son Nephi lead the Church and teach the people.

There are many stories and events contained in the Book of Alma, including wars between the Nephites and Lamanites and the appearance of Jesus Christ to the Nephites after his resurrection. Ultimately, the Book of Alma recounts a turbulent time in Nephite history centered around Alma’s ministry.

Key Events and Teachings in the Book of Alma

Alma’s conversion and ministry

The Book of Alma begins with the story of Alma’s conversion from persecuting the church to becoming one of its great leaders. As a young man, Alma was one of King Noah’s priests but had a miraculous vision that led him to repent and join the prophet Abinadi’s followers (Mosiah 17-18).

After escaping persecution, Alma becomes the founder and first high priest of the Church of God. His Christ-centered ministry aims to invite others to exercise faith, repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit.

Missionary journeys of the sons of Mosiah

Four of Mosiah’s sons–Ammon, Aaron, Omner and Himni–go on what the Book of Mormon calls “missions to declare the word among the Lamanites” (Alma 17). Ammon serves selflessly and with great zeal among the Lamanites in the land of Ishmael, converting many.

Aaron teaches the Amalekites about Moses leading the Israelites and Christ’s Atonement. These missionary efforts introduce the His gospel to parts of the ancient Americas it had not yet reached.

Rise of the Zoramites

As the church expands in Zarahemla, the Zoramites–a dissenting group–build a Rameumptom (holy stand) to profess that they are elected and saved while all others will perish. Alma heads up preaching in Antionum to bring them back (Alma 31).

This episode shows how pride can infect religion when God’s grace is misunderstood as favoritism.

Wars between Nephites and Lamanites

The righteous Captain Moroni leads the Nephites to victory by raising the title of liberty (Alma 46). However, later, many Nephites turn away from that same liberty and fall into debt (Alma 53). According to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this underscores how spiritual and economic freedom are connected.

Years War Details
About 90–77 BC Initial victory years under Captain Moroni
About 74 BC Amalickiah gains rule over the Lamanites
About 63–56 BC Major Nephite losses; Helaman leads “two thousand stripling warriors”

Teachings on faith, repentance, atonement, resurrection

Alma chapter 32 contains teachings about exercising “even a particle of faith” when faced with truth (Alma 32:27). He also teaches his sons Helaman and Corianton more about Jesus Christ’s central roles in repentance, redemption from sin, and resurrection of all mankind (Alma 36–42).

This doctrinal foundation from The Book of Alma still shapes Latter-day Saint teachings today.

When and How the Book of Alma was Written

Dictated by Joseph Smith in 1829

The Book of Alma is believed to have been dictated by Joseph Smith in 1829 as part of the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith claimed to have translated the Book of Mormon from golden plates that contained ancient records written by prophets in the Americas.

The Book of Alma is said to be the record of Alma the Younger and his descendants. According to Joseph Smith’s account, he dictated the Book of Mormon over a period of about 3 months while looking at a seer stone placed in a hat to block out light.

Part of the Book of Mormon first published in 1830

After Joseph Smith finished dictating the Book of Mormon in 1829, preparations were made to publish the work. The complete Book of Mormon, including the Book of Alma, was first published in Palmyra, New York in 1830 by E. B. Grandin.

This first edition contained over 500 pages and was titled The Book of Mormon: An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon, Upon Plates Taken from the Plates of Nephi.

Book of Mormon presented as translation of ancient records

From its first publication, the Book of Mormon was presented by Joseph Smith as a translation of actual ancient records engraved on golden plates. Smith claimed an angel named Moroni revealed to him the location of the buried plates and enabled him to translate their “Reformed Egyptian” language.

However, critics have long questioned whether Smith actually had ancient plates or whether the Book of Mormon’s origins were inspired rather than historical.

Scholarly debates over historicity and authorship

The question of whether the Book of Mormon and the Book of Alma represent genuine ancient histories or modern compositions has been debated since 1830. Critical scholars point to anachronisms, textual analysis, and lack of archaeological evidence as reasons to doubt the Book of Mormon’s literal historicity.

Apologist scholars argue that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence and that further discoveries may vindicate the Book of Mormon. While Mormon scholars debate the issue, most non-Mormon scholars do not accept the Book of Mormon as a work of ancient American history.

They generally view Joseph Smith as the author, not the translator, of the Book of Mormon.

Reasons the Book of Alma is Not Part of the Biblical Canon

Developed separately from the biblical canon

The Book of Alma was written sometime between 100 BC and 420 AD by authors who lived on the American continent, completely separate from the Middle Eastern origins of the biblical texts. While the Book of Mormon references some biblical names and stories, it developed completely independently of the formation of the Christian and Hebrew biblical canons.

The biblical canon largely developed between 400 BC and 200 AD, with its content solidified by the 5th century AD. The Book of Alma simply emerged too late and from the wrong cultural context to be considered for inclusion in the biblical canon according to most scholars.

Not considered authoritative scripture by most Christian groups

Outside of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and some other denominations within the Latter Day Saint movement, the Book of Alma is not regarded as authoritative scripture. Most Christian faith groups do not accept Joseph Smith’s teachings that he translated golden plates written in “reformed Egyptian” hieroglyphs around 1829 AD.

While Mormons view the Book of Alma and other books in the Book of Mormon as holy scripture, most Christian groups and biblical scholars remain unconvinced by the historical evidence supporting these claims.

This skepticism has excluded the Book of Alma from consideration for the biblical canon by most denominations.

Views differ on Joseph Smith’s role as translator/author

There is disagreement over whether Joseph Smith was truly translating an ancient record or was the actual author of the Book of Alma. According to Mormon tradition, Smith translated the writings of ancient American prophets who migrated from Jerusalem.

Other scholars theorize that Smith composed the Book of Alma himself, either knowingly or inadvertently by drawing from his own life experiences and exposure to the King James Bible. This uncertainty over Smith’s role makes it difficult for non-Mormon groups to accept the Book of Alma as ancient scripture.

While Mormons revere Smith as a prophet, most mainstream Christian groups view him as a 19th century teacher unconnected with the biblical record.

Canon largely fixed many centuries before Alma written

The Christian biblical canon had largely taken its present-day form more than a millennium before Joseph Smith was born or the Book of Alma was written down. While Catholic and Eastern Orthodox canons were fixed by the 5th century AD, the Protestant canon became established from the 16th to 18th centuries.

So by at least the early 19th century, the biblical canon was long settled when the Book of Mormon emerged. This makes the historical gap far too large for a work like the Book of Alma to be considered part of the Bible according to most scholars and church leaders.

Overall, the Book of Alma developed independently, too late, and was too disconnected from the biblical record to ever be included in the canon according to mainstream Christian views.


In summary, the Book of Alma contains important stories and teachings central to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but it is not found in the biblical canon accepted by most Christian denominations.

This is because it originated in the 19th century as part of the uniquely Latter-day Saint scripture called the Book of Mormon. While Latter-day Saints view the Book of Alma as ancient scripture translated by Joseph Smith, most other Christian groups do not accept this view or Smith’s authority in presenting new scripture.

The biblical canon had already been established many centuries earlier. Thus, profound differences over the origins, historicity, and validity of the Book of Mormon account for the exclusion of the Book of Alma from the biblical canon used by most Christian groups today.

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