Changed LDS Scripture/Part 35

By: Marvin W. Cowan; ©2012
Mormons say their God is all-knowing or omniscient. But if He is, why did He inspire some biblical texts in the “Joseph Smith Translation” (JST) so that they contradict other texts? There are many minor changes in 1 Corinthians 7, but we will discuss only those that change the meaning.

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Mormons say their God is all-knowing or omniscient. But if He is, why did He inspire some biblical texts in the “Joseph Smith Translation” (JST) so that they contradict other texts? Both the JST and the King James Version (KJV) of Romans 11:6 say, “And if by grace, then it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace; otherwise work is no more work.” The context of this verse includes the five verses before it where the apostle Paul said a “remnant” of Israelites believers were saved by the grace of God. Grace is a gift that God gives because of His love and mercy, not because someone worked to earn it. It is like a Christmas gift that is given because the giver wants to give it, not because the recipient earned it. When someone works for a salary and receives a check, the check is not a gift. That is the difference explained in this verse by the JST.

But the JST of Romans 4:16 says, “Therefore ye are justified of faith and works, through grace,” which contradicts Romans 11:6. Justification is a legal act by God that justifies the believing sinner because of God’s grace and Christ’s atonement and not because of our works. Good works in the Christian life are a result of having been saved by God’s grace, not the means by which we are saved as Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 3:5-6 clearly state. Jesus is called “Savior” because HE saves us!

The KJV of 1 Corinthians 6:18 says, “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without (outside) the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” But the JST says, “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man committeth is against the body of Christ, and he who committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” First Corinthians 12:27 says “the body of Christis the church. Every sin that man commits is not against the church, so the JST is misleading. If “the Lord” inspired the JST, why didn’t He clarify this? First Corinthians 6:18 in both the KJV and JST is about the sin of fornication which affects a person’s own body. Verse 16 says, “He who is joined to an harlot is one body,” so he is one too! Sins mentioned in verses 9 and 10 like idolatry, thievery, coveting etc., are “outside of the body,” and don’t affect a person’s body the same way fornication does.

There are many minor changes in 1 Corinthians 7, but we will discuss only those that change the meaning. In 1 Corinthians 7:1 the KJV says, “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote to me, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.” But the JST says, “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote to me saying, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.” The JST says it was the Corinthians who said “it is good for a man not to touch a woman.” But the original Greek text was written as a letter and didn’t have verses. It shows the content in verse 2 continues what Paul began in verse 1. Smith saw that it was Paul’s message in verse 2, so in the JST it says, “Nevertheless, I say to avoid.…” Smith wouldn’t need to add “I say” if he hadn’t inserted the word “saying” in verse 1. The ending of 1 Corinthians 7:9 in the JST also says, “It is better to marry than that any should commit sin.” That isn’t bad doctrine, but it is not what the text says. The KJV says, “It is better to marry than to burn.” Modern translations say “It is better to marry than to burn with passion,” which is the real meaning. Didn’t “God” know that when He inspired the JST?

In 1 Corinthians 7:25-40 Paul instructs both married and unmarried Christian men and women how they should treat each other during that time of persecution. Verse 28 in the KJV says, “But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless, such shall have trouble in the flesh; but I spare you.” The JST deleted “and (the second word), and changed “but I spare you” to “for I spare you not,” which is the opposite of what Paul said.

The original Greek text supports the KJV not the JST. Paul mentioned the “present distress” or persecution of Christians in verse 26, and in verse 28 he said that those who were married during that time would have trouble caring for each other. He was warning them in order to spare them from the problems it would cause. But Smith’s JST sounds like Paul wanted them to have trouble!

The KJV of 1 Corinthians 7:29 says, “But this I say, brethren, the time is short; it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none.” But the JST says, “But I speak unto you who are called unto the ministry. For this I say, brethren, the time that remaineth is but short, that ye shall be sent forth unto the ministry. Even they who have wives, shall be as though they had none; for ye are called and chosen to do the Lord’s work.” The italicized words are not in the KJV or in any real translation of this text. First Corinthians 1:2 says this epistle was written to the saints or believers in Corinth, not just to those in ministry. When read in its context, it doesn’t make sense for verse 29 to apply only to those in ministry when all Christians were facing the same persecution.

The KJV of 1 Corinthians 7:38 says, “So, then, he that giveth her (the virgin in verse 37) in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.” The JST reads the same except for replacing the pronoun “her” with “himself” in both places. Read in the context of the verses before and after verse 38, that makes no sense. Why would “he” have to give “himself” in marriage? Several other minor changes are in this context, but none show evidence of inspiration by an all-wise God.

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The Complete Joseph Smith Translation of the New Testament, edited by Thomas A. Wayment, published by Deseret Book in 2005 has more on the JST.

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