On the JST of Romans 2-5

A COMMENTARY ON JOSEPH SMITH’S REVISION OF ROMANS 2-5

Kevin Barney

1. Romans 2:1

Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that thus judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

    Judging is not necessarily a bad thing; we have judges in our legal system for a reason. The JST inserts “thus” (meaning “in such a way,” referring back to the unrighteous judgment described in the previous chapter) to make this point clear.

    Paradigm Classification A-1 (English Paraphrase of KJV Text)

2. Romans 2:16

In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my the gospel.

    A couple of times in this letter Paul refers to “my gospel.” That may be a reference to his particular way of preaching the “good news,” but properly the Gospel is that of Jesus Christ, not of Paul, and to make that distinction clear the JST changes the possessive (“my gospel”) to a more generic definite article (“the gospel”).

     Paradigm Classification A-1 (English Paraphrase of KJV Text)

3. Romans 3:1

What advantage then hath the Jew over the Gentile? or what profit is there of circumcision, who is not a Jew from the heart?

    Starting in Romans 2:17 Paul begins a discourse on Jews and the Law. He writes as a matter of rhetoric to an imaginary Jew and makes the case that circumcision is only of value if one actually keeps the Law, a position that most Jews of the time likely would have accepted. Paul goes on, however, to make the further case that a Gentile (uncircumcised) Christian who does do God’s will is as good as a circumcised Jew, thus suggesting that circumcision is not necessary. “Advantage” is a concept of comparison and distinction; the JST makes the comparison explicitly one of Jew compared to non-Jew (Gentile). In the second clause the JST reiterates Paul’s point that there is no advantage to circumcision unless it is accompanied by obedience to the Law. The JST expresses this point with a lovely expression, “a Jew from the heart,” which is an assimilation to Romans 6:17, “ye have obeyed from the heart.”

    Paradigm Classifications A-1, A-2 and A-4 (English Paraphrase of KJV Text, Suspicion of Italicized Text and Assimilation)

4. Romans 3:2

But he who is a Jew from the heart, I say hath much Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.

    The JST repeats the distinction “a Jew from the heart” from v. 1 (and assimilated from Romans 6:17) as a way of separating rote formalism from sincere belief. Note that Smith seems to veer from Paul’s argument that a righteous Gentile is as good as a circumcised Jew, suggesting that a “Jew from the heart” still has a certain spiritual advantage.

    Paradigm Classifications A-1 and A-4 (English Paraphrase of KJV Text and Assimilation)

5. Romans 3:5

But if we remain in our unrighteousness and commend the righteousness of God, what shall how dare we say? Is God is unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man who fears God)

    In this verse Paul is musing on whether perhaps unrighteousness might actually be a good thing, because by contrast it highlights the righteousness of God, and concludes that that is a very human way of looking at the matter. “If we remain” acknowledges there is always the possibility of repentance and turning from one’s unrighteousness. The JST interprets the expression “what shall we say?” from being a rhetorical question to the strong denunciation of “how dare we say?” (Still a question but no longer really rhetorical). The expression “I speak as a man” means “I speak in human terms (in exploring this hypothetical), from a mortal perspective”; the JST qualifies the statement as Paul speaking from a very particular human perspective, as one who fears God.

    Paradigm Classification A-1 (English Paraphrase of KJV Text)

6-7. Romans 3:7-8

For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie, (as it is called of the Jews,) unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? And and not rather received?, (as we be Because we are slanderously reported,? and as And some affirm that we say ,(whose damnation is just) Let us do evil, that good may come. But this is false. ? whose damnation is just.

    In this section of text Paul is guarding against a possible false conclusion from his argument, namely that it is a good thing for people to sin, because doing so gives an occasion for God to show forth his righteous power. The JST essentially makes Paul’s argument more explicit and forceful. To the proposition “Let us do evil, that good may come,” the JST flatly (and correctly) declares “But this is false.”

    Paradigm Classification A-1 (English Paraphrase of KJV Text)

8. Romans 3:9

If not so, what What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both before, that Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;.

    The introductory words “if not so” (referring to the prior argument Paul has dismantled) clarify the meaning of the question, “What then?” For style Smith changes the word order from “before proved” to “proved before.” The main point of the verse is that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.

    Paradigm Classification A-1 (English Paraphrase of KJV Text)

9. Romans 3:20

For by the law is the knowledge of sin; therefore Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

    The opening words of this verse are an allusion to Psalm 143:2. The JST moves the conclusion drawn from this Psalm passage from the end of the verse to the beginning of the verse to make it more emphatic.

    Paradigm Classification A-1 (English Paraphrase of KJV Text)

10. Romans 3:24

Therefore being Being justified freely only by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

    Adding the word “therefore” at the beginning of the verse explicitly connects this conclusion as a logical progression from the prior argument. Although “freely” and “only” are two separate concepts, both are consistent with Pauline theology in this letter.

    Paradigm Classification A-1 (English Paraphrase of KJV Text)

11. Romans 3:28

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith alone without the deeds of the law.

    As in Romans 3:24, adding the word “alone” as a qualification of “faith” is consistent with Pauline theology.

    Paradigm Classification A-1 (English Paraphrase of KJV Text)

12. Romans 3:30

 Seeing it is one that God, which shall will justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.

    The deletion of “it is one” appears to have been influenced by the italics. The JST often changes the English future tense from “shall” to “will.”

    Paradigm Classifications A-1 and A-2 (English Paraphrase of KJV Text and Suspicion of Italicized Text)

13. Romans 4:2

For if Abraham were justified by the law of works, he hath whereof to glory in himself; but not before of God.

    Greek ergon “works” is being used in a technical sense, so “the law of works” is a proper clarification (compare the NET here, which similarly has “by the works of the law”). The JST also makes the distinction between Abraham and God more explicit (spurred in part by the italics).

    Paradigm Classifications A-1 and A-2 (English Paraphrase of KJV Text and Suspicion of Italicized Text)

14. Romans 4:5

But to him that worketh seeketh not to be justified by the law of works, but believeth on him that who justifieth not the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

    The JST fleshes out the spare statement  “worketh not” with the more explanatory  “seeketh not to be justified by the law of works.” The change from “that” to “who” is a modernization in style. The clause “but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly” is a confusingly overliteral translation (which is why the JST inserts a “not” here). Clearer would be something like the NET: “but believes in the one who declares the ungodly righteous.”

    Paradigm Classification A-1 (English Paraphrase of KJV Text)

15. Romans 4:6

 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without the law of works,

    KJV “without works” does not quite communicate the point; better would be NET “apart from works”; i.e., not just good deeds generally but “works” in a technical theological sense, which the JST clarifies with “the law of works.”

    Paradigm Classification A-1 (English Paraphrase of KJV Text)

16. Romans 4:7

Saying, Blessed are they through faith whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

    This passage is a quotation from Psalm 32:1. Even though this is a quotation which one would normally not interrupt with material extraneous to that quotation, here the JST inserts “through faith” to completely align the quotation with the theological point Paul is making here.

    Paradigm Classification A-1 (English Paraphrase of KJV Text)

17. Romans 4:16

Therefore it is ye are justified of faith, that it might be by and works, through grace;, to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that them only which is who are of the law, but to that them also which who are is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,

The changes in the first two lines were spurred by the italics, and those in the last two lines are modernizations. Theologically Smith slips in an “and works” that was not a part of Paul’s text here, as Smith is largely agreeing with Paul’s theological discourse in Romans but is not quite on the same solifidian page as Paul is.

Paradigm Classifications A-1, A-2 and A-3 (English Paraphrase of KJV Text, Suspicion of Italicized Text and Modernization)   

18. Romans 5:3

And not only so this, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

    This change was spurred by the italics. The NET similarly begins the verse “And not only this. . .” as do a number of other modern translations.

    Paradigm Classification A-2 (Suspicion of Italicized Text)

19. Romans 5:13

(For until before the law, sin was in the world: but yet sin is not imputed when there is to those who have no law.

    The JST modifies this text with a number of synonymous (or near-synonymous) expressions: until—> before, but—> yet, when there is no law—> to those who have no law.

    Paradigm Classification A-1 (English Paraphrase of KJV Text)

20. Romans 5:14

Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. For I say that through the offense, death reighneth over all.

    The JST adds a sentence assimilating to the words “death reighned” early in the passage and summarizing the point with a more broadly worded theological statement.

    Paradigm Classification A-1 and A-4 (English Paraphrase of KJV Text and Assimilation)

21. Romans 5:15

But the offense is not as the offence, so also is the free gift, for the gift aboundeth. For, if through the offence offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is hath abounded by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

    This rewording does not seem to intend a different meaning of the passage but aims to make the meaning of the a fortiori argument clearer. The sense is well captured by the NET: “But the gracious gift is not like the transgression. For if many died through the transgression of the one man, how much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one man Jesus Christ multiply to the many!”

Paradigm Classification A-1 (English Paraphrase of KJV Text)

22. Romans 5:16

And not as, it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was is by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences offenses unto justification.

    This revision was spurred both by the italics and the modernization of a British spelling.

    Paradigm Classifications A-2 and A-3 (Suspicion of Italicized Text and Modernization)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.