3 Nephi 8:21. Candles
The Book of Mormon speaks of candles, which did not exist in ancient America (3 Nephi 8:21; 12:15).
Though the terms “candle” and “candlestick” are frequently used in the King James version (KJV) of the Bible (e.g., Exodus 25:31; Job 18:6), candles as we know them were not in use in ancient Israel. Instead, they used oil lamps, which were less known in seventeenth-century England, when the KJV was translated. The KJV renders the Hebrew term “candle” 9 times, but in 42 other passages translate it “lamp.”
One of the two Book of Mormon passages in which the word “candle” is used (3 Nephi 12:15) is Christ’s sermon to the people assembled in the city of Bountiful, which generally parallels the KJV wording for the New Testament sermon on the mount. In translating the Nephite record, Joseph Smith employed the common KJV term.[i] The English term “candle” derives from a Latin word meaning “to shine.”
[i] For a discussion, see my book Defining the Word: Understanding the History and Language of the Bible (American Fork: Covenant, 2006).