On the JST of Romans 11-16

A COMMENTARY ON JOSEPH SMITH’S REVISION OF ROMANS 11-16

Kevin Barney

1. Romans 11:2

God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot Know ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession complaint to God against Israel saying,

    The Greek verb here is oidate “know” (perfect but with present meaning). The word “wot” means “to know” in both the first and third person present singular indicative, from the Old English verb witan. Smith was aware of this archaism and so regularly substitutes “know” for “wot.” The Greek verb rendered “make intercession” here is entugchano, which means to approach, appeal to or plead with an official or person in authority. In a divine context the word can refer to prayer to God. Interestingly for the JST revision here, the UBS Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament cites as a possible meaning of the verb “to bring complaints,” citing Acts 25:24, since appeals by the people to leaders often naturally include complaints. The CEV, NIRV and NLT use “complained” here and GW uses “complains.”

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

2. Romans 11:7

What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh they seek for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.

    The KJV is a literal rendering of the Greek text. “Israel” is singular and so takes a singular verb here, “he seeketh.” But Israel is also a collective and so one could argue “they seek” as the JST suggests might be more natural. The NIV uses “they” and ERV, GNT and ICB have “the people of Israel.” 

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

3. Romans 11:15

For if the casting away of them be is the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving restoring of them be, but life from the dead?

    The change from “be” to “is” is based both on the italics and a JST tendency to replace subjunctive “be” with indicative “is.” The verb proslambano rendered here “receiving” fundamentally means “to take or bring along,” here “to extend a welcome, to receive into one’s circle.” The Anchor Bible renders “reconciliation.” Dummelow’s paraphrase of vv. 15-16 (p. 882) actually uses the word “restoration”: “(15) but also because I am sure that as their rejection brought you to God, so their restoration will fill the nations of the earth with spiritual life. (16) And their restoration may certainly be expected, for the nation still retains the consecration it received in the patriarchs.”

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

4. Romans 11:18

Boast not against the branches, for. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

    Here the Jews are the root and the Gentiles are the branches. (The KJV
“Boast not against the branches” is incorrect; it should be “Boast not over the branches.”) The JST seems to delete “but if thou boast” with the idea that “hey, I just told you not to boast, didn’t I?” So it deletes “But if thou boast” and replaces it with a simple conjunction, “for.” But of course they may boast anyway, so the JST picks up that idea in the next verse.

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

5. Romans 11:19

For if thou boast, thou Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I we might be grafted in.

    The initial change is an assimilation from the preceding verse. Paul is addressing the Gentiles as though they were a single person with the singular second person pronoun “thou,” but of course in reality they are not a single person, so here the JST pluralizes the singular pronoun “I” to “we.”

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

6. Romans 11:26

And so then all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

    The NET annotation points out that it is not clear whether the adverb houtos (rendered here “And so”) is to be understood in a modal sense (“and in this way”) or in a temporal sense (“and in the end”). The KJV follows the former approach, the JST the latter.

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

7. Romans 12:2

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God is.

    The JST moves the verb “is” to the end based on influence by the italics.

    Paradigm Classification A-2 (Suspicion of Italicized Text)

8. Romans 12:9

 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; and cleave to that which is good.

    This change from a semicolon to a conjunction appears to be merely stylistic; it does not affect the meaning of the text.

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

9. Romans 13:1

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power in the church but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

    Paul here enjoins Christians to obey governmental authorities (as he takes the view that the Roman state on the whole has been just and beneficent). The JST gloss “in the church” seems to suggest that secular authority exercised by the Roman state may in fact not be ordained of God, Paul’s positive perception notwithstanding.

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

10. Romans 13:2

Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation punishment.

    The Greek word krima rendered “damnation” in the KJV may indeed mean “punishment.” Secular authorities are in a position to extend human punishment, but not religious damnation.

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

11. Romans 13:4

For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword rod in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

    The JST here changes “sword” to “rod.” This may reflect the fact that provincial governors had limited authority to impose capital punishment, or it may be a simple softening from an instrument of death to an instrument of beating (without imposing death).

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

12. Romans 13:6

For, for this cause pay ye tribute your consecrations also unto them: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

    The KJV language makes it hard to follow whether Paul is talking about political or religious authorities, especially since here Paul is speaking of civil authorities almost as if they were religious authorities. The Greek word phoros here means “(civil) taxes”; Smith takes it in a more religious sense with “consecrations.”

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

13. Romans 13:7

 But first, render Render therefore to all their dues:, according to custom, tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; that your consecrations may be done in fear of him to whom fear belongs, and in honor of him fear to whom honor belongs fear; honour to whom honour.

    The JST here provides that prior to paying one’s (religious) consecrations, one should pay one’s civil obligations (such as taxes). So in effect the JST has verse 7 making the point of verse 6 and bifurcating the obligations: pay your taxes first, and then your consecrations. The italics were an influence, and Smith modernizes the spelling of “honor.”

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

14. Romans 13:8

Therefore owe Owe no man any thing anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

    The addition of “Therefore” connects this verse causally with the prior two, and the spelling of “any thing” is modernized.

    Paradigm Classifications A-1 and A-3 (English Paraphrase of KJV Text and Modernization)

15. Romans 13:14

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil gratify the lusts thereof.

    This revision was based on the italics. The Christian is to put on Jesus Christ like a suit of armor. Flesh will make its own desires; one should not meet it halfway. The JST replaces italicized “fulfil,” a word often used in a positive context, with “gratify,” a word more specific to the sating of physical lusts.

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

16. Romans 14:11

For I live, saith the Lord, as it is written,. And As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess swear to God.

    This verse contains a quotation from Isaiah 45:23. The quote begins with “As I live, saith the Lord,” but the JST moves the initial words forward (and thus outside of the quotation) in order to avoid the italicized “As.” The JST changes “confess” to “swear,” which is the word used in the KJV of the OT source of the quotation, Isaiah 45:23, so that is an assimilation to the original source text.

    Paradigm Classifications A-2 and A-4 (Suspicion of Italicized Text and Assimilation)

17. Romans 14:15

 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now thou walkest thou not charitably if thou eatest. Therefore destroy Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.

    The NET reads “For if your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy by your food someone for whom Christ died.” The JST gives a more modern word order, changing “walkest thou” to “thou walkest.” It adds “if thou eastest” to tie a logical bow around the first sentence. And finally it adds a “Therefore” to make a logical connection with the preceding text and the instruction to the believer.

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

18. Romans 14:23

And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth it is not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

    This change was based on the italics.

    Paradigm Classification A-2 (Suspicion of Italicized Text)

19. Romans 15:5

Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to as was Christ Jesus:

    The preposition kata can mean “according to” as the KJV has it, but it can also mean “just as” as the JST has it. The CEB has “similar to Christ Jesus’ attitude”; GW and GNT have “by following the example of Christ Jesus”; and NIV has “the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.”

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

20. Romans 15:24

Whensoever When I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with through your company prayers.

    The first change is a modernization, and the change at the end of the verse was based on the italics. Although most translations still use “company,” a few do something similar to the JST, such as NCV “I hope you can help me on my trip.”

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

21. Romans 16:10

Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Salute them which are of Aristobulus’ household church.

    This change was of course based on the italics, as the word “household” is not literally in the Greek. Most translations use household, family or friends. JST “church” is not a bad suggestion given the phenomenon of “house churches” in the early Christian community.

    Paradigm Classification A-2 (Suspicion of Italicized Text)

22. Romans 16:11

Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household church of Narcissus, which are in the Lord.

    (See comment to Romans 16:10 above.)

23. Romans 16:16

Salute one another with an holy kiss salutation. The churches of Christ salute you.

This is the same change the JST made at 1 Corinthians 15:20 and so that prior revision is its source.  There we determined this revision was a cultural updating (similar to what many modern translations do), and also an assimilation to the word “salutation” in verse 21 of that chapter.

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

24. Romans 16:25

Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my the gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

    As he does elsewhere in this letter, here 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 Pa

Comments

  1. Kevin Barney says:

    Finis! I have completed my JST commentary project, which covers Acts through Revelation (or everything but the Gospels). My goal was to finish before Conference, and I made it (just barely). A special thanks to Mark A-M for his consistent encouragement; a couple of times I was ready to throw in the towel, and his encouragement kept me going.

    Now on to Conference commentary!

  2. Hurray! I’ve been saving all these and working much of it into the notes of my own digital “edition” of the scriptures. How nice it would be if BCC Press put it all on paper for me where it would be much more convenient for me to work through.

    Really helpful work, Kevin. Thank you.

  3. Kevin Barney says:

    Oops, I just noticed that in 14:23 I missed a change from “damned” to “condemned.” This is a softening change typical of the JST. My apologies for the oversight.

  4. keepapitchinin says:

    Kevin, this series is invaluable. Despite all the work that has been done on the JST, yours is the only one that hegins to analyze the changes in this way. How much work (I know — a lot — but how much a lot?) would it be to complete the New Testament with your analysis of the Gospels?

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