Why Did Joseph Smith Produce a New Translation of the Bible? (Knowhy #628) – powered by Happy Scribe
Joseph Smith loved the Bible.
Though he revered the sacred Scripture, Joseph Smith also knew from the Book of Mormon that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the Book.
So Joseph Smith and his associates began plans to complete translation of the Bible intended to correct many of the errors that had crept into the text and to restore many of the plain and precious truths lost. The Joseph Smith translation is not a translation in the traditional sense. His translation didn’t consist of taking ancient Hebrew or Greek texts and trying to render them into modern English.
Instead, his translation resulted from receiving inspiration while conducting an intensive and word byword study of the Bible, with changes implemented to restore the original intent of the writers and to make the text more understandable to modern readers. Some scholars even suggest that Joseph and his scribes may have consulted one of the biblical commentaries of their day. The changes made to the biblical text can be placed into several categories. First, in some cases, the translation was a restoration of the original text. Second, the JST at times served to restore what was once said or done that was never in the Bible.
Third, on many occasions, the JST served to make the Bible more understandable to modern readers. Fourth, alterations made in the JST served to bring biblical wording into harmony with truths found in other parts of the Bible or in modern revelations. Finally, at times the JST includes changes helpful to modern readers that were not written by the original authors. Misunderstanding what Joseph Smith and his assistants were trying to accomplish can lead us to misconstrue what the Joseph Smith translation actually is and how it can help us gain a deeper comprehension of the Scriptures. On one occasion, Joseph Smith held aloft a Bible and declared, I believe in this sacred volume.
In it, the Mormon faith is to be found. We teach nothing but what the Bible teaches. We believe nothing but what is to be found in this book. The worn and marked pages of his Bible demonstrate the Prophet’s intensive devotion to the Bible, its teachings, and its role as a conduit to the mind of God. And now you would know why.