What is the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible?
Joseph Smith, the first prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, made a new rendition of the Bible based on the text of the King James Version (KJV). LDS theology holds the "Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly" (Articles of Faith 8). Smith explained that important doctrines had been lost from the Bible and that he had received a divine appointment from the Lord to make a new translation. The process was not a translation from ancient languages. Rather, Smith received revelation from God and made changes in the KJV that range from minor details to fully reconstituted chapters. Joseph began the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) around June 1830 and finished in the summer of 1833. The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS) published the JST in 1867. The LDS Church first included JST excerpts in its 1979 edition of the scriptures. In the process of translating the Bible, Joseph Smith received other related revelations. The JST details the ministries of Enoch and Melchizedek and adds to our understanding of doctrines, including the mission and divinity of Jesus Christ, premortal life, and the innocence of children.
Robert J. Matthews -
Dr. Matthews has been Director of Academic Research for the Department of Seminaries and Institutes.