On the JST of Romans 8-10

A COMMENTAR4Y ON JOSEPH SMITH’S REVISION OF ROMANS 8-10

Kevin Barney

1. Romans 8:8

So then they that are in after the flesh cannot please God.

    The KJV here is an overliteral translation of the Greek text. Since all human beings by very definition live “in” the flesh, this verse seems to say it is impossible for any human being to please God. The JST solves this problem succinctly by assimilating “in the flesh” to “after the flesh” (kata sarka from v. 4), which indeed conveys the correct nuance. The Anchor Bible recognizes this problem and therefore similarly renders “So those who live by the flesh. . . .” Other modern translations typically have something like “in the realm of the flesh” or “in the life of the flesh.” CEB has “who are self-centered.”

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

2. Romans 8:9

But ye are not in after the flesh, but in after the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

    The changes here correlate with that made in Romans 8:8 as described immediately above. NIV for instance has “in the realm of the flesh” and “in the realm of the Spirit.”

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

3. Romans 8:10

And if Christ be in you, though the body is dead shall die because of sin; but yet the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

    Paul is making a word play on two meanings of pneuma that are not clearly distinguished in the KJV translation. That word can mean Holy Spirit (i.e., Holy Ghost), which is the meaning the word has in 8:9 above, or it can mean one’s personal spirit within one’s body. In this verse pneuma seems to partake of both senses. When Paul speaks of the body being dead because of sin, he obviously does not mean that literally in a physical sense. The JST puts that expression into a concessive future in order to make it literally correct.

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

4. Romans 8:11

But And if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

    Although the conjunction de is most commonly rendered “but,” it can also be translated “and” as the JST has it here. I count 18 modern translations that use “and” here (such as the NIV) and there are others that use something comparable like NET “moreover.” 

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

5. Romans 8:13

 For if ye live after the flesh, unto sin, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live unto Christ.

    The JST immediately follows “after the flesh” (Greek kata sarka) with “unto sin,” which is meant to be a definitional explanation of what “after the flesh” means. The expression “ye shall live” needs to be contrasted in some way with the “if ye live” at the beginning of the verse, so the JST adds “unto Christ” as an explanatory gloss.

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

6. Romans 8:18

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared named with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

    The Greek literally just says “are not worthy”; “compared” is added for sense, but since it does not correspond to a word in the Greek text per KJV practice that word is italicized. Smith deletes the italicized word (as he often does), but feels the need for something to take its place, and so he inserts “named” here instead.

    Paradigm Classification A-2 (Suspicion of Italicized Text)

7. Romans 8:20

For the creature was made subject to vanity, tribulation not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same it in hope,

    The Greek word here is mataioteti (worthlessness, frustration, futility, emptiness, purposelessness, transitoriness), but KJV “vanity” can have a very different, almost trivial, connotation in English, and so the JST substitutes something more serious with “tribulation” (BDAG renders this passage “the creation was subject to frustration”). The change from “the same” to “it” was based on the italics.

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

8. Romans 8:25

But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience we do wait for it.

    The word order “do we” is archaic; in modern English it sounds as though one is asking a question. The JST pushes the verb back and flips the order to “we do,” which is more of a statement than a question. Most modern translations simply have “we” here without the auxiliary “do.”

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

9. Romans 8:29

For him whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the his own image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

    The changes in this verse arise from an ambiguity in English. The relative “whom” is in the objective case, but it does not inflect for number and so it could be either singular or plural. We need not guess which is correct, however, as the underlying Greek hous does inflect for number and is a plural. So the intended antecedent to “whom” is the “them” mentioned twice in the preceding verse (“to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”). Smith takes it as singular, referring to the Son, and he makes adjustments to the balance of the text in this verse and the next to match that reading. So God foreknew the Son, and he obviously didn’t create the Son in the Son’s image, so he must have created the Son in his own image. This is a situation where the inadequacies of English caused a misconception as to the initial referent in the text. (I can understand Smith’s mistake, because I initially made the same mistake myself and took “whom” as singular; it was not until I read the Greek text that I grasped what I had done.)

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

10. Romans 8:30

Moreover, him whom he did predestinate, them him he also called: and him whom he called, them him he also justified sanctified: and him whom he justified sanctified, them him he also glorified.

    This passage continues the misunderstanding of the prior verse by (incorrectly) singularizing all the plurals. The verb dikaioo fundamentally means “to put into a right relationship with God,” so “sanctify” would appear to fit within that rubric.

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

11. Romans 8:31

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be prevail against us?

    This revision was a reaction to the italics. The Greek literally does not have a verb at the end of the passage, which literally reads “if God for us, who against us?” The AMP fleshes this out in a way similar to the JST with “If God is for us, who can be [successful] against us?” and TPT has “who then could even stand against us?”

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

12. Romans 9:3

 (For once I could wish have wished that myself were accursed from Christ,) for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

    The JST makes the first part of this verse a parenthetical and makes this musing past tense to make it clear Paul is not expressing a current wish to be accursed. There is an unstated but implied condition to Paul’s statement here: “if this could save my fellow Jews.” Without that framing being explicitly stated, the statement seems out of character for Paul. The Anchor Bible helps to make the passage clearer with “For I could even wish. . .” making it clear this musing is just that.

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

13-14. Romans 9:4-5

Who are Israelites; to of whom pertaineth are the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and [Verse 5 in JST enumeration] And the promises; Whose which are made unto the fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ was came, who is God over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

These revisions are largely driven by the italics. Small words are often italicized in the KJV, but when more substantial words get italicized in that version, such as the verbs “pertaineth” and “came” here, the reaction to the italicized words is generally stronger.

    Paradigm Classification A-2 (Suspicion of Italicized Words)

15. Romans 9:7

Neither, because they are the seed all children of Abraham, are they all children the seed: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

    The end of the verse is a quotation from Genesis 21:12. The point of this verse is that God chose Isaac (as opposed to Ishmael) as the line through which the blessings would come. Since the biblical quote uses “seed” as a technical term for the chosen lineage, Smith correctly changes the first reference to ‘the seed” to “all children” and the reference to “all children” to “the seed.” That is, descendants of both Isaac and Ishmael are “all children” of Abraham, but only the descendants of Isaac are the “seed” of Abraham in a technical succession sense.

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

16. Romans 9:10

And not only Sarah this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;

    The JST replaces the italicized “this” with its antecedent from the prior verse, Sarah, and the second change was also driven by the italics.

    Paradigm Classification A-2 (Suspicion of Italicized Text)

17. Romans 9:32

Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone, not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law;

    Text is moved from the beginning to the end of the verse to avoid the italicized “they sought it.”

    Paradigm Classification A-2 (Suspicion of Italicized Text)

18. [Note: the JST reorganizes the verse order here (without textual change) to be  15, 17, 18, 16, 19.)

19. Romans 10:19

But Now I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.

    The first Greek word of this verse is alla, which is commonly rendered “but.” But the previous verse also began with alla “but,” which makes repeating that word again at the beginning of this verse stylistically awkward, and so the JST replaces “But” with “Now.”. Many translations (like the NIV) have “Again”; others have “Then,” and the TLB has “And.” 

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

Comments

  1. I think, following Elain Pagels, that the Gnostics had a huge influence on Paul. In the New Testament, Gnosticism plays a huge part. Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus can hardly be understood outside of a Gnostic frame, for example.

    The Gnostics had three levels: sarkic, psychic, and pneumatic: body, head, spirit. Nicodemus was in a psychic state, thinking logically about a spiritual issue. Jesus told him that he was a man in a wind storm who could not see the wind, only hear it passing. Such is a man without the spirit. wind has the same root as spirit in Greek. The whole passage is an abstruse Greek play on words.

    Flesh cannot comprehend the spirit. If you are in the flesh, that is living in the flesh (or even psychic – living in the head) you cannot comprehend spiritual things and you are blind to the truth. You cannot be saved because of this blindness. To be saved you have to come out of the sarkic, or fleshly, state. This deeper meaning would have been comprehended by a Gnostic.

  2. Ignore the first comment.

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