Changed LDS Scripture/Part 33

By: Marvin W. Cowan; ©2012
The Mormon apologists who defend the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) claim that it clarifies the biblical message. But Bible scholars disagree and point out that Smith often misses the message that is in the context and replaces it with a different subject.

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Romans 8:10

The Mormon apologists who defend the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) claim that it clarifies the biblical message. But Bible scholars disagree and point out that Smith often misses the message that is in the context and replaces it with a different subject. Smith did that in the JST of Romans 8:10 when he wrote, “And if Christ be in you, though the body shall die because of sin, yet the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” That is not unbiblical, but it is not what this context says. The King James Version (KJV) of Romans 8:10 says, “And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin, But the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” So, the context is about “walking [or living] in the Spirit instead of the flesh,” as Romans 8:4-5 also says.

Smith made a few more minor changes in the JST of Romans 8 and then in Romans 8:30 he wrote, “Moreover, him whom he did predestinate, him he also called; and him whom he called, him he also sanctified; and him whom he sanctified, him he also glorified.” Compare that with the KJV or any good translation and you will see that Smith changed a plural pronoun (them or those) to a singular pronoun (him). The JST of Romans 8:28 uses plural pronouns, so why do verses 29-30 use singular pronouns when they refer to the same people?

Smith’s JST also changed “justified” to “sanctified” in verse 30. Those two words are from two entirely different Greek words and they have very different meanings. Sanctification means to set apart from the sinful world for a holy purpose. Justification is a divine act of God by which a sinner who has trusted Christ as Savior is judicially declared to be righteous and acceptable to God. The most “sanctified” person who ever lived is still not holy enough to enter heaven unless he is first “justified” by the “Justifier” as Romans 3:23-28 clearly says.

The KJV and JST of Romans 10 are exactly the same except verse 16 the KJV is verse 18 in the JST which puts verses 16, 17 and 18 in the JST in a different order from the KJV. LDS use the old KJV Bible which transliterates Old Testament proper names so that Isaiah is Esaias in the New Testament and the JST does that too. The JST of Romans 10:18 (v. 16 in the KJV) says, “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?” That is a quotation from Isaiah 53:1, but Smith apparently didn’t know that “Esaias” was really “Isaiah” transliterated. So, he claimed that the Lord told him in Doctrine & Covenants 84:12-13, “Esaias received it (Priesthood) under the hand of God. Esaias also lived in the days of Abraham, and was blessed of him.”

Romans 10:20-21 in the KJV and JST are the same and say, “But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All the day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” That is a quotation from the KJV of Isaiah 65:1-2. But the JST of Romans 10:20 (above) is supposed to be quoting the JST of Isaiah 65:1 which says, “I am found of them who seek after me; I give unto all them that ask of me; I am not found of them that sought me not, or that inquireth not after me.”

Notice that Romans 10:20 contradicts Isaiah 65:1 which it supposedly quotes! Did God, who “knows all things” (1 John 3:20), misquote Himself? Esaias is Isaiah, so he did not live during Abraham’s time as Doctrine and Covenants 84:12-13 said. Abraham lived more than a thousand years before Isaiah! Modern English translations of the New Testament use the word “Isaiah” instead of the Greek transliteration “Esaias” when referring to Isaiah.

Smith apparently also thought Elias was a different man than Elijah even though “Elijah” is just transliterated as “Elias” in the New Testament. The JST of Romans 11:2-4 says, “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Know ye not what the Scripture saith of Elias? How he maketh complaint [KJV= intercession] to God against Israel, saying Lord they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.” Romans 11:2-4 is the same in the JST and KJV except verse two in the JST has the word “complaint” instead of “intercession” like the KJV.

This text is quoting from the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 19:13-18 which is the same in the JST and KJV. But in Doctrine and Covenants 110:12-13 Smith recorded a vision that he said he had in the Kirtland Temple which says, “After this Elias appeared, and committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, saying that in us and our seed all generations after us should be blessed. After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us….” Smith also said in Doctrine and Covenants 27:6-9 that after God sent the Angel Moroni to him, He also sent Elias, John the Baptist and Elijah. So, Smith said that Isaiah and Esaias were two different men and so were Elijah and Elias. Smith claimed that God inspired what he wrote, but didn’t God know who these men were? If Smith was mistaken about these men, can he be trusted to teach the way to eternal life?

More can be read about the JST in chapter 9 of Part Way to Utah: The Forgotten Mormons by Paul Trask. We will continue our discussion of the JST next time.

Read Part 34


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