Some Significant Texts of Joseph Smith’s Inspired Version of the Bible

Robert J. Matthew’s first article in the Autumn 1968 issue of BYU Studies dealt primarily with the making of the Inspired Version of the Bible. It considered two major aspects: (1) the preparation of the manuscript notes by the Prophet Joseph Smith and his scribes, and (2) the publication of the printed editions by The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS). This article will discuss a number of passages that are unique to the Inspired Version and also some of the implications in the text that are frequently overlooked.

There are at least three levels at which one may read the Inspired Version. The first and simplest level is to compare it with the King James Version to find the variant readings. The second and perhaps the most informative level is to analyze each variant to determine the actual change in meaning that resulted from the Inspired Version rendition. The third and most difficult level is to examine the Inspired Version not only for content but also for style. This level is not limited to what is said but also involves an analysis of how it is said. The third level is particularly important because it deals with the question of whether the Inspired Version is a restoration of the original text of the Bible. Although not all of the variants in the Inspired Version are suitable for this kind of critical examination, a number of passages are thus suited, and these are highly interesting and even provocative when analyzed. Such passages have characteristics about them which strongly suggest inspiration and even restoration of the original text in some instances.

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