New Testament - Lesson 8
Resource Notes


Note 1 - What Is The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible?


Over the years I have received numerous questions about the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) such as the two below:

Question:  Often in your lesson outlines you mention scriptures found in the Joseph Smith Translation that I do not find in the back of my Bible. (This Bible is about a year and a half old). Where do I go to find the Joseph Smith Translation scriptures that you mention. An example would be in New Testament Lesson 8 where you mention that the first two Beatitudes are missing and then quote them. However when I go to my JST in the Bible I only find Matthew 5:21 and there is no JST addition at the beginning of Matthew 5. I loved reading about these two Beatitudes, but if I mention it to my class I want to be able to show them where they may find it in the scriptures as well. (Carol - Feb 2007)

Question: I have just been called to be the Gospel Doctrine teacher and to say the least I am nervous. Your lessons are great but I do have a question. In trying to make sure that I can back up everything I say, I can not find the Joseph smith translation for Matthew 5:3 and 5:4 in my scriptures or on the official church website. Can you please let me know where you got your information. (Sharon - Feb 2007)

Answer:  A little history is necessary to understand the answer to the above questions. Some basic information on the Joseph Smith Translation is available at LDS.org under the Study Helps - Guide to the Scriptures (see Joseph Smith Translation). The Encyclopedia of Mormonism contains the following information regarding the disposition of the manuscripts:

After Joseph Smith's death in June 1844, the marked Phinney Bible and the 477-page manuscript were kept by his widow, Emma Smith. She permitted Dr. John M. Bernhisel to examine the materials in the spring of 1845 at Nauvoo, Illinois. Bernhisel later reported that he made a complete copy of the markings in the Bible and an extensive but incomplete copy of the manuscript entries (Matthews, 1975, p. 118). The Bernhisel manuscript is in the Historian's Library of the LDS Church in Salt Lake City, but the location of the Bernhisel marked Bible is not known. Emma Smith gave the Phinney Bible and the original manuscript to a publication committee representing the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS Church) in 1866. These are now in the custody of the RLDS Church at Independence, Missouri. (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1-4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow [New York: Macmillan, 1992], 766.)

The RLDS Church (now the Community of Christ) first published the Inspired Version (JST) in 1867, with numerous subsequent printings. I picked up my copy of the Inspired Version at the RLDS bookstore in Independence, Missouri, in 1973. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has never published the full JST. It is my understanding that the Community of Christ (RLDS) owns the copyright. Only excerpts from the JST are included in the LDS Bible.

Where can you obtain a copy of the full Joseph Smith Translation?

Online versions Gospelink.com Online LDS library hosted by Deseret Book (annual fee required for access)
  CenterPlace.org Hosted by Restoration RLDS Church (break off group from the RLDS Church).  Access is free.  I have made a limited comparison of the text to both my hardcopy and my Gospelink copy and there appears to be no difference.
Hardcopy version Herald House Community of Christ bookstore (RLDS)
  Restoration Bookstore Restoration RLDS Church bookstore

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