Joseph Smith’s “Translation”

The Bible was revised by Joseph Smith because of a direct commandment from the Lord. That effort is referred to as a “translation” although it did not involve what any of us would regard as that. It was a revision and expansion of the text made by revelation.

In the same year the Book of Mormon was published, a revelation on 9 December 1830 commanded a new version of the Bible be undertaken. The product was described as how the Bible would look from the Lord’s bosom: “And a commandment I give unto you that you [Sidney Rigdon] shall write for him [Joseph Smith], and the scriptures shall be given, even as they are in my own bosom, to the salvation of my own elect[.]” T&C 18:6

Later that same month the Lord interrupted the work, and referred to it as a “translation”: “A commandment to Sidney and Joseph, saying, Behold, I say unto you that it is not expedient in me that you should translate any more until you shall go to the Ohio[.]” T&C 20:1 This is referring to the work being done on revising the Bible to conform to what was in the Lord’s bosom.

Once in Ohio a revelation on 4 February 1831 directed that “Joseph should have a house built in which to live and translate.” T&C 25:3. Again, this is the Bible project.

Five days later another revelation commanded that the teachers in the church should teach the “scriptures which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon.” It goes on to mention that teaching must be “directed by the spirit” and cautioned “if you receive not the spirit, you shall not teach[.]” This was to be followed “until the fullness of my scriptures are given.” T&C 26:5 The phrase “fullness of my scriptures” was a reference to the revised Bible underway.

On 7 March 1831 a revelation allowed the Bible revision to shift from the Old Testament to the New Testament. That revelation made an extensive explanation of the Lord’s teaching to His Jerusalem disciples (which would substantially alter part of Matthew). After clarifying what Christ told those disciples, the Lord states, “it shall not be given unto you to know any further than this until the New Testament be translated, and in it all these things shall be made known.” T&C 31:13 Compare Matthew 11 with T&C 31 in the new scriptures and you will see how the Lord’s revision clarifies and improves New Testament material.

In an October 1831 conference, Joseph declared: “God had often sealed up the Heavens because of covetousness in the church. Said the Lord would cut his work short in righteousness and except the church receive the fullness of the scriptures they would yet fall.”

All prior efforts to publish the revised Bible, which is sometimes called the “Inspired Version” and sometimes called the “Joseph Smith Translation,” have failed to faithfully follow Joseph Smith’s work. The new scriptures are the most accurate and complete text of the Bible coming from the Lord’s bosom.

As I have been reviewing the new scriptures I have been pleased, edified and astonished at the value they provide for the Lord’s elect. Although I do not claim any “elect” status, I am grateful to eavesdrop on the Lord’s communication to them. If I am attentive enough, perhaps I may inch a little closer to that.

All of the new scriptures, including the revised Bible, are available for free on-line at Paperback copies are available through Amazon. The materials are also now available for handheld platforms.