Thursday, July 2, 2015

A tidbit of testimony from the JST

This year I have been studying the Inspired Version Bible (also called the "Joseph Smith Translation").  Although the King James Version is the official Bible used by the church, I have often been curious of the differences.  Since Elder Bruce R. McConkie praised the IV and said it was "a thousand times over the best Bible now existing on earth" I obtained a side-by-side IV vs. KJV comparison Bible from the Community of Christ's publishing house, Herald.  So far I've seen some enlightening changes, and I'd like to share one that I found during my morning Bible study with you:

Today I was in Luke 22.  First compare verse 31:

"And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:" (Luke 22:31, KJV)
and then:

"And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired you, that he may sift the children of the kingdom as wheat." (Luke 22:31, IV)

This made me curious about the ancient process of sifting wheat.  I wanted to understand that symbolism to get deeper into the meaning of the verse.  What I found, however, was less an understanding of the sifting of wheat (well, I did find that, and I get it now) and more a testimony of Joseph's calling as a revelator.  The commentaries I found when discussing this verse said that the original Greek indicates that the "you" in "that he may sift you as wheat" is plural.  Just reading the KJV, I would've thought it was talking about Simon (Peter), not a group. So, Joseph Smith indicated that it is plural by saying "the children of the kingdom" rather than "you".  So at first I remembered that Joseph Smith studied ancient languages for a time, and it validated the fact that his studies were good.  But then, I learned something - Joseph translated the New Testament Gospels in 1831-33.  This was years before he began a study of the ancient languages (and, come to find out, he may not have studied Greek at all, only Hebrew in 1836).  From what I read (I could be wrong) Joseph went through Genesis and the Gospels first.  He went through these books from beginning to end, revising the text by revelation.  I doubt that Joseph, who at this point was a 4th grade educated 26 year old, knew what the original Greek said.

So, here are two conclusions:

a.) Joseph Smith was truly an inspired revelator, and revised this verse because he was inspired by God to understand that "you" meant "the children of the kingdom" and not Simon Peter.
b.) Joseph Smith used logic to understand that when you are sifting, you are sifting many things and not one thing.

Either way, I would never have come to either conclusion, but given what I already know about Joseph, I believe that it was option a, and this is just another drop in the bucket of testimony.


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