Did Joseph Smith Translated The Bible

Background information

Joseph Smith was an American religious leader, who is the founder of the Latter-Day Saint Movement and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He is known for producing many religious and controversial works, which include his most famous work, the Book of Mormon. Smith is also credited with other works like the Pearl of Great Price, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Bible Translation. Additionally, Joseph Smith is credited with translating the Bible from Biblical manuscripts.
Smith’s translations of the Bible represent a unique interpretation of the Bible. Smith sought to restore the original meaning of the biblical texts with his translation. For example, in his New Translation of the Bible, he sought to make a better understanding of the Bible by using language that was more acquainted to the modern reader. This was controversial since many people argued that this changed the interpretation of the Bible.

Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible

In 1831, Smith started his translation of the Bible. Smith was prompted by his mentor, Oliver Cowdery, to do this translation in order to deepen his understanding of the Bible. Smith recognized inconsistencies and errors developed by copyists and translators while the Bible was being conveyed to English. Thus, Smith wanted to render the Bible’s original meaning in order to provide an understandable and accurate translation for readers.
Smith worked on his translation with the help of Cowdery and his associate, Sidney Rigdon. His translation was based on Greek, Hebrew, and Latin translations of the Bible as well as various other manuscripts. Smith sought to convey accuracy of the original texts, which meant including the production of new books, revisions to existing books, and the removal or rearrangement of passages. This could lead to misunderstandings to those who are not familiar with the translation, as many were caught in debate over the translation’s legitimacy.
Unfortunately, Smith left his Bible translation incomplete in 1833. Due to his premature demise, Smith was unable to complete the translation. Smith’s translation was later published in 1840 under the name, The New Translation of the Bible by Joseph Smith Jr.

Reactions to Joseph Smith’s Translation

Reactions towards Smith’s Bible translation were divided, with some applauding his effort, and others arguing against it. Those who hailed the translation noted that Smith had successfully conveyed the original Bible. Others commended the more updated language which made the Bible more accessible to the modern reader.
On the other hand, critics of Smith’s translation often claimed that Smith’s translation deprived the Bible of its originality and accuracy. Smith’s scripture used modern phrases and sentiments which left Bible-Scholars questioning the true origins of the Bible and whether or not it had been inaccurately translated.

Contemporary Views on The New Translation of the Bible

Today, opinions on the New Translation of the Bible vary from person to person. Whilst some appreciate the modern language used in the translation, some biblical scholars criticize Smith’s works for its lack of precision when conveying the original sense of the biblical text. This causes confusion for many and leaves doubt on the composition of the bible.
Nevertheless, it is important to recognize the effort put by Joseph Smith in attempting to enrich modern readers’ understanding of the Bible through his translation.

The Role of Joseph Smith in Translating the Bible

Despite the mixed reaction that Smith’s translation received, there is no doubt that Joseph Smith played a huge role in attempting to express the Bible in its original sense and make it equally understandable to people of all backgrounds. Smith worked with the intention of providing a more accessible version of the Bible to those unfamiliar with the ancient languages.
Smith’s contributions to Bible translation went beyond solely translating texts; he wrote about various topics and added his own insights, thus providing modern readers with a better understanding of the Bible. Moreover, Smith’s translation was especially beneficial for those who were not from religious backgrounds, as some of his revisions made the Bible easier to understand.

The Impact of Joseph Smith’s Translation on the Church

Joseph Smith’s Bible translation heavily influenced the church during his time and continues to influence the church even today. His translation was accepted and distributed among the church, sparking many debates and conversational exchanges. Smith’s translation paved the way for doctrinal and religious talks, allowing for church members to explore different angles and interpretations. In the end, the translation helped with understanding the bible on a personal level, thus making the interpretation easier and more accessible.

The Legacy of Joseph Smith’s Translation

Although many argue on the legitimacy of Joseph Smith’s The New Translation of the Bible, his work is still revered by many. Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible is a tribute to his religious works, as it authenticated his mark as one of the most significant religious leaders of the 19th century. Joseph Smith’s contribution to Bible translation will continue to be celebrated in and outside the church, and will forever remain an influence in the religious world.

Criticism and Critiques on Joseph Smith’s Translation

Joseph Smith’s Bible translation did not come without its critics. Many argue that Smith made questionable revisions, omissions and additions to the Bible which caused confusion to the modern reader. For instance, Smith removed verses that he perceived as too offensive. This stirred controversy amongst religious scholars and inspired critiques on Smith’s legitimacy and accuracy.
Moreover, there have been debates surrounding certain interpretations in Smith’s translation such as his omission of the divinity of Christ and his emphasis on a key LDS doctrine. These debates still manifest today and the disagreements between religions and scholars foster the ongoing debates and conversations.

Verdict on Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible

Joseph Smith’s Bible translation has caused much debate and discussions among its readers. While some argue that Smith’s translation defiles the originality and accuracy of the Bible, others credit him for seeking to provide an understanding of the Bible that is understandable by modern readers.
Whilst there is still much to be said on Smith’s accuracy and brilliance, it is unarguable that Smith’s works have left a remarkable legacy. His translation has influenced religious talks and allowed those unfamiliar with the bible explore it without difficulty. In the end, Smith’s efforts open up a platform to discuss varied interpretations and present a new perspective to the bible.

Debates on Joseph Smith’s Translation

Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible has always been a topic for debate for those in religious circles. The fact that the translation does not follow the Bible’s original language has caused arguments between those who believe in authenticity and those who prefer a more accessible version of the Bible.
Today, debates on Smith’s translation do not only take place in religious circles, but have become more common on the internet as well. Social media sites allow for people to share their opinions and criticisms more freely, thus leading to an overflow of content on Smith’s translation.
The majority debate centers around the accuracy of Joseph Smith’s work. Critics condemn Smith’s works while his supporters argue that Smith’s translations aimed to present a more relatable and understandable version of the Bible. Moreover, due to the incomplete version of Smith’s translation, debates arise within the church itself, spawning different perspectives and interpretations which essentially lead to confusion.

Implications of Joseph Smith’s Biblical Translation

It is important to recognize the implications of Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible. His translation has sparked many conversations and exposed readers to different perspectives. It has also opened doors for people to explore various interpretations and opinions about the Bible, ultimately forming stronger relationships among believers and religious scholars alike.
Moreover, Smith’s work has paved the way for religious progress in the 20th century and beyond. His translation and other religious works, have initiated debates and discussions which have grown to become part of our culture. His works have deeply influenced and impacted our views of religion and the Bible.


Joseph Smith’s Bible translation has had a lasting influence on our society today. His works have sparked numerous debates and encouraged readers to explore the Bible in different ways. Even though Smith’s translation has not been without its critics, his efforts have still allowed readers to gain a better understanding of the Bible and explore varied perspectives. Ultimately, Smith will remain as one of the most important religious figures in our history and his works will continue to be celebrated and studied.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

Leave a Comment