The Kingdom of God or Nothing!!!

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As it is Translated Correctly. 

As it is Translated Correctly

This is copyrighted material.  However, copies may be made but only in its entirety with no changes made.
Kevin Kraut

As It Is
Translated Correctly
Table of Contents
Pioneer Publishing
1067 E Cumorah Dr
Genola, UT  84655

First Printing 1987



1             INTRODUCTION–
TEXTUAL CRITICISM   . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
2             HISTORY OF BIBLICAL MANUSCRIPTS  . . . . . . . . . 12
3             TRANSLATING AND REVISING SCRIPTURE . . . . . . . . 20
4             DIFFERENT BIBLES AND TRANSLATIONS  . . . . . . . . 42
5             LOST BOOKS OF THE BIBLE  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
6             THE SONG OF SOLOMON
AND THE BOOK OF JASHER  . . . . . . . . . . . 60
7             THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
8             APOCRYPHA AND THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE . . . . . . . 94
9             BIBLICAL ERRORS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .106
10          JOSEPH’S INSPIRED TRANSLATION  . . . . . . . . . .146
11          CONCLUSION–
A MARVELOUS WORK AND A WONDER   . . . . . . .174

* * * * *


The Bible has been perhaps the most influential, powerful, and consistently read book ever printed. It has been the source of inspiration and spiritual guidance for millions of people for thousands of years. The evidence of faith, courage and strength of those who have read it could never be fully told. Men have willingly faced untold agonies, torture and prison; they have crossed deserts and the Arctic, flown through space, gone beneath the sea, and struggled through every phase of life because of the inspiration they received from the Bible. The words of God, as they flowed from the pen of prophets, apostles and patriarchs, have done more for mankind than all the armies and navies that ever conquered nations.

Yet our Bible is not complete with all of the words of God to man, nor is it infallibly correct in its present translations. Many mistakes have been made by translators and scribes. Many portions were never included, while some places were not clearly understood or interpreted correctly. But worst of all, because of these misinterpretations or assumptions, Catholics have tortured and burned their Protestant brothers, and in return Protestants have religiously and enthusiastically made war upon Catholics. Rivers of blood have flowed throughout history, as Christians battled with other Christians. Through the misinterpretation of the Bible, thousands of innocent women and children have been murdered during the centuries of the Dark Ages and the Inquisition. Because of the misunderstanding of one word, many innocent women have been burned or killed as “witches”. For nearly two thousand years, history has recorded some of the worst atrocities of man against man because they misunderstood the words of Jesus.

Today we have over a thousand different “Christian” religions, all claiming to be right as they denounce all the others as being wrong. All are preaching different doctrines, yet they hold the same Bible in their hands. Unbelievable as it may seem, they still contend and make war upon each other.

Why so much confusion? There may possibly be several reasons for such a labyrinth of discord and contention: (1) the Bible is being misinterpreted or discarded; (2) it is not written clearly enough for universal understanding; (3) the translators and scribes made errors; (4) many plain and precious truths have been left out; (5) and possibly, it is a combination of all of the above. It is certainly evident that something is wrong. All this contention, confusion, and warring among the Christians, indicate that man has misinterpreted, mistranslated and misunderstood the words of God.


Textual Criticism

Chapter 1


Textual Criticism

“We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; . . .” So wrote Joseph Smith in the 8th Article of Faith. But this has annoyed the modern “Christians” because they generally believe that the Bible has no errors and that it represents the complete “infallible” words of God. This was expressed by the anti-Mormon Floyd C. McElveen who wrote:

In spite of the overwhelming evidence as to the accuracy and harmony of the Bible, the Mormons profess to believe the Bible, “insofar as it is translated correctly.” (The Mormon Illusion, p. 41)

Most of today’s “Christians” would have us believe that there is “overwhelming evidence” to prove that the Bible is an “accurate” translation. But we should investigate the Bible just to see how accurately it has been translated and to observe just how much harmony there actually is among its books in history, names, and teachings. This is not only interesting, but an essential and important research. Every Bible believer should be aware of its literally thousands of errors and inconsistencies, not to mention hundreds of different published versions of the Bible.

[8]           To properly study the inaccuracies of Bible translations, we must apply the science of “textual criticism”. This is not disputing, condemning or questioning the Bible as being the word of God, but rather it is the study of errors in the text made by human scribes and translators. If this book is to be used as a guide in each Christian’s life, is it not vitally important then that these inaccuracies are discovered and exposed?

Textual criticism, commonly known in the past as “lower” criticism in contrast to the so-called “higher” (historical and literary) criticism, is the science that compares all known manuscripts of a given work in an effort to trace the history of variations within the text so as to discover its original form. (Biblical Criticism, Gordon Fee, Zondervan Publishing House, p. 127)

Protestant scholars have contributed an immense amount of excellent study in this field, but many of its ministers have taken the biased attitude that several Catholics have, namely–that the Bible contains no errors!

Catholic doctrine maintains that, because the books of the Bible have God as Author, they are free from error. Any theory that detracts from Biblical inerrancy is reprobated. * * * The clearest statement of Catholic doctrine on Biblical inerrancy is found in Providentissimus Deus. Leo XIII states that inerrancy is an inescapable corollary of divine inspiration. “For all the books … are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Spirit; and so far is it from being possible that any error can coexist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true” (Denz 3292). The Pontiff adds that those who maintain that error is possible in any [9] genuine passage of the sacred writings must either pervert the Catholic notion of inspiration or must make God the author of such error (Ench Bibl 126). (New Catholic Encyclopedia 2:514)

Some Catholics, as well as a few Protestants, accept the Bible as literally the “word of God”, thus being God’s “revelation” to man. However, they still acknowledge the errors and textual faults of translators and copyists. They conclude that–

The popes have emphasized, however, that the original texts, only, were inspired and free from error and that copies and translations are inerrant insofar as they conform to the original texts. But no original texts are extant, and copies and translations contain additions, omissions, and other textual faults. It is the task of textual criticism to correct these mistakes. Pius XII wrote of textual criticism: “Its very purpose is to insure that the sacred text be restored as perfectly as possible, be purified from the corruptions due to the carelessness of copyists and be freed, as far as may be done, from glosses and omissions, from the interchange and repetition of words and from all other kinds of mistakes…. (New Catholic Encyclopedia 2:514)

Both Protestants and Catholics have admitted that:

One of the most important problems about the Bible is that of establishing an accurate text. Before the invention of printing, copies of the Bible had to be made by scribes who laboriously transcribed the text from other copies. Because of the mistakes which were made in this process, the different manuscripts of the Bible showed numerous minor disagreements. Textual scholars attempt to reconstruct the original text [10] of the Bible by comparing the different manuscripts, and especially the earliest ones. (Enc. of World Methodism, 1:264)

Most authors correct their own writings after the first edition is published. Perhaps years or centuries later, another person may also make revisions and corrections. Corrective criticism is not an evil, but often a valuable service. All criticism is not condemnation. It is usually a method of correcting human error or clarifying some meaning.

Many religious fanatics and anti-Mormon zealots convey the idea that because Mormons believe the Bible needs some correction in its translation, that they do not believe the Bible. The fact that thousands of Protestant scholars have been making hundreds of Bible revisions should be evidence to them that it must contain errors. An American citizen may say that our government has laws, regulations and codes that are unclear, incorrect and need revision–but that does not make them un-American, nor indicate that they think the whole government is wrong.

Neither can it be said of the Book of Mormon that because it contains some errors, it cannot be from God. Human wisdom and human error manifest themselves in anything that man does, and God depends on man for the translating and publishing of His word. The only text that God ever wrote Himself was the Ten Commandments (with His finger on stone), but we do not have that “original text” either. Just because a translator made an error, doesn’t mean that the original author blundered or that the whole text should be discarded.

Textual criticism is a necessary science, comparing all known manuscripts and tracing variations within the text to discover its original form. This is important for interpreters because (1) it helps to reveal what the original author actually said; (2) it helps to discover the original meaning of what was written; (3) it helps to reveal the errors, opinions, interpolations and additions inserted by other scribes.

[11]         In reality, then, textual criticism asks, “What does it say?” before it asks “What does it mean?”. An accurate translator, or textual critic, is the person who is in quest of what the original author had in mind.

Over many centuries, translators and scribes have unintentionally or even purposely, added errors, opinions and various church interpretations into their Bible revisions, thus changing the meaning of the original author’s intent and purpose. For instance, one edition of the Bible became known as the “Wicked Bible” because it left the word “not” out of the seventh commandment, making it read “Thou shalt commit adultery.” The possibility of human error has always existed in the writing and printing of every kind of book–even the Bible.

Contained in this publication is a study into the many problems confronting Bible translators. It gives a closer look at many problems of translation–not as a criticism of the Bible itself nor of the original manuscripts, but as an explanation of the human factors involved. It briefly explains the difficulties translators have faced in trying to explain the original author’s intent.

A diligent and objective research into these ancient texts will prove that Joseph Smith knew and understood more of Biblical translations and revisions than all the thousands of ministers who condemned him as a false prophet. The deeper we investigate the history and content of this great book, the more we will conclude the Bible indeed contains the word of God, “as far as it is translated correctly.”


[12]                              Chapter 2


Did God write the Bible? Did prophets or apostles write every word of the Bible? Is every word in the Bible inspired of God? The answer to all of these questions is, of course, no. Some of it contains the words of God; some parts are the words of men; sometimes it quotes the devil; and in once place a jackass spoke. Hence, the Bible is a compilation of records from various sources, containing the words of God, men, and the devil.

The expression “inspired of God” pertains to certain parts of the Bible–not to all of it. Much of it is merely history without any particular reference to God, similar to any other written history.

We have an account of “God’s finger” writing the Ten Commandments, which may be considered as the only portion of the Bible that was recorded by the direct action of God. (See. Ex. 31:18) The prophets and apostles were acting more like secretaries as they received dictation from God. They were given the responsibility to write these divine messages for others to read. (2 Sam. 23:2 and Rev. 1:19)

At certain times God chose to have His messages delivered to man by way of His angels. (See Ex. 34:27; Isaiah 56:1; Jer. 11:1)

In every case men who were “inspired” in one way or another, were free to write in the particular style or expression of their own choice. Some were more learned than others and therefore their style of expression was different. There was only one Author but many writers.

[13]         The Bible (or biblia, meaning books) is in reality a small collection of religious histories and writings. The Old Testament consists of 17 books of history from Genesis to Esther, five poetic books from Job to Song of Solomon, and 17 prophetic books from Isaiah to Malachi. The New Testament is classified into five historical books (the four Gospels and Acts of the Apostles), 21 letters of the apostles, and one book of revelation.

The Bible was originally written in three languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew with some sections in Aramaic; the New Testament was mostly recorded in Greek. The Old Testament is the whole framework of the Gospel and the New Testament is the finishing.

The factual history of the Bible is much different from what most Christians suppose. The Bible did not just happen, nor was it all written by Moses or the apostles. Neither did it come to us through the ages as a complete compilation of books. And today it is neither complete nor perfect.

The Bible was formulated gradually. Histories, psalms, prose, law, genealogies, sermons, revelations, songs, proverbs, philosophy and other writings were collected over several years by many different men in many different cultures. We cannot point to a particular time or place and say this is where the Bible originated.

It can safely be said that most of the writings and revelations from God to man are not even found in the Bible. We have never found an original fragment of writing from Adam, Enoch, Noah, Methuselah, Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Shem, or Seth, to name a few. In fact, we do not have any of the original written manuscripts of the Bible. No one knows how many generations of copies were made before we received the manuscripts that we have today. [14] The oldest manuscript of the New Testament dates back to about the 4th century A.D.; the Old Testament goes back to only about 900 A.D. Herein lies the problem of getting an accurate translation from an original copy.

Anciently many materials were used for writing, such as animal skins, leather, papyrus, stone, clay tablets, wooden tablets, metal, and of course much more recently, paper. The Old Testament was written mostly on leather or skins; the New Testament was usually penned on papyrus. During the fourth century period, vellum replaced papyrus, and then by the middle of the eighth century, paper was being used.

Since most of these materials were subject to deterioration, we do not have any original Bible manuscripts–only copies of copies.

There is no original written record of the language that the patriarchs used before the tower of Babel. Every language today represents hundreds of different man-made expressions which constantly change in both words and meaning. Thus we do not have God’s words in the pure language of God, but rather the inaccurate, unclear descriptions of men in their ever-changing styles of expression.

Many ancient manuscripts–now worn, faded, and unclear–provided the basis for our present Bible. A few of these Old and New Testament manuscripts are considered here:

1.  The Vatican Manuscript: This fourth century manuscript is usually acknowledged as the most important text of the New Testament. It is located in the Vatican Library at Rome, and the date of a catalog in which it is listed was 481 A.D. It still remains the most complete and accurate of all Biblical manuscripts.

[15]         2. The Sinaitic Manuscript: Konstantin yon Tisehendorf was a student of the University of Leipzig and began his work on revisions of the Bible through study of original or near source materials. In 1844 he went to the Middle East and began work in the library of the Monastery of St. Catherine in the Sinai Peninsula. While there, he discovered portions of old parchment which he determined to be among some of the oldest Biblical manuscripts ever found. In 1853 he made another trip to Sinai with the hope of recovering other leaves that he had seen on his first trip, but to no avail. In 1859 with the support of the Russian government, he made a third trip to the Sinai Monastery. Just as he was about to give up all hope of finding the manuscripts, a steward of the monastery showed him the manuscripts that he was looking for–and some others, too. After some negotiations, he purchased them for about $7,000. Tischendorf purchased for Czar Alexander II the Codex Sinaititus. In 1933 the British Government purchased them for one-half million dollars for the British Museum. This manuscript dates back to approximately the latter half of the 4th century, also.

  1. The Alexandrian Manuscript: This 5th century manuscript derives its name from Alexandria, where it was found. It was once offered as a gift to King James I of England, but James died before the gift could be received. So it was again given as a gift in 1627 to his successor Charles I. Later it was placed in the British Museum. It created a great deal of excitement when it was presented to England, much the same as the Dead Sea Scrolls in our day. It contains both Testaments, but there are portions of the Old Testament missing; also parts of Matthew, John, and II Corinthians are absent from the New Testament.
  1. The Ephraem Codex: This manuscript has two layers of writing on it. The top layer is a twelfth-century copy of the writings of Ephraem of Syria, which is why it has his name. But the earlier writing underneath is of much more importance, for it is a fifth-century copy of the scriptures. Large portions of the Old Testament are [16] missing, but in the New Testament the only portions missing are from II Thessalonians and II John. It is now located in the National Library of Paris. The first full edition of this manuscript was not published until 1845.
  1. The Codex Bezae: This manuscript was presented to the University of Cambridge in 1581, where it still remains. It was written in both Greek and Latin–each text faces each other, the Greek on the left side and the Latin on the right. It is quite small–8 x 10 inches with one column of writing on each page. However, it contains only the Gospels and Acts, with a few verses of Paul’s writings. This manuscript has the distinction of being the most puzzling of all the early manuscripts because of its additions and omissions. Some have looked upon it with suspicion and question, but in recent years it has been receiving more respect as a valid New Testament document.
  1. The Sinaitic Syriac Manuscript: This manuscript was also found at St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mt. Sinai. In 1892 two sisters, Mrs. Agnes Lewis and Mrs. Margaret Gibson were searching for rare Biblical manuscripts at Sinai when they found this double written document. The bottom layer of writing was identified as being a Syriac copy of the gospels. It is the fact that this Syriac translation goes back to the 4th or 5th century that makes it so interesting and valuable.
  1. The Washington Manuscript: This manuscript came into the hands of Charles Freer of Detroit in 1906. It contains a copy of the four Gospels dating from the 4th or 5th century, and consists of several lines in Mark’s Gospel which are not found in any other manuscript.
  1. The Koridethi Gospels: This manuscript was discovered in 1913. It was written about the 9th century and has substantiating information regarding the text of the Bible.

[17]         9. Chester Beatty Papyri: These papyri are said to have come from jars taken out of an Egyptian graveyard and were collected by Chester Beatty. Portions of these are of the Old Testament in Greek, with some portions of the New Testament. It has been considered valuable because it possibly dates to the beginning of the third century, thus placing it closely to the Vatican and Sinaitic Codices.

Later Manuscripts: Many manuscripts dating from the 9th to the 15th century have been recovered. Most of these are written in a cursive, running hand. More than 2500 cursive manuscripts have been catalogued, but their age tends to limit their value. Many of these are made in elaborate and artistic decorations, often portraying a portrait of the authors of the Four Gospels. These artistic manuscripts usually identify their date, and their ornamental, multi-colored texts are elegant to look upon.

Other texts, besides Hebrew, have contributed missing parts of the Hebrew text and otherwise help to support those manuscripts, such as:

  1. Samaritan Pentateuch: The Samaritan Pentateuch is not a translation, but is a form of the Hebrew text itself. Its beginning is to be traced back to about 400 B.C. when the Samaritans separated themselves from the Jews and built their sanctuary on Mt. Gerizim, near Shechem. As a result the Samaritans adopted their own form of the Hebrew Scriptures and counted as authoritative only the five books of Moses. In one sense the Samaritan Pentateuch presents a problem, for it bears some 6,000 variants from the Massoretic text. * * *
  1. Septuagint: The word “Septuagint” is derived from the Latin Septuaginta, meaning “Seventy,” and is the common name given to the [18] Greek translation of the Old Testament. According to an unfounded tradition, about seventy men took part in the translation of the Pentateuch. *** It is believed that the version was completed at Alexandria, but probably by Alexandrian rather than Palestinian Jews. The time of the Egyptian king, Ptolemy II Philadelphus, is also probably right, making the origin of the Septuagint approximately 250 B.C. * * * Whatever mysteries may surround it, the Septuagint translation will always hold interest among Christians. For a while it was the only Bible for the earth church. It was the text most often quoted by the apostles and inspired writers of the New Testament. Yet beyond these prevailing attachments, the Septuagint version is an extremely valuable authority on the Old Testament text. It is true that it has its deficiencies; it has its mistakes of translation and its differences from the Massoretic text;. . .
    (How We Got the Bible,
    Neil Lightfoot, p. 73)

There are three sources from which we gather information pertaining to the Bible: (1) the manuscripts; (2) the versions of translations; and (3) quotations from early Christian church writers. Most of the early Christian Fathers were writers who lived near the end of the first century and later. The most important of those who quoted the New Testament were Justin Martyr, Tatian, Irenaeus, and Clement of Alexandria–all of whom lived in the second century. In the fourth century we have important writings of Eusebius of Caesarea as well as Jerome. From these men and the many who followed, we have obtained thousands of valuable Biblical manuscripts. However, they were all different because scribes and translators made modifications–either by accident or on purpose –with the intent to help clarify or correct.

[19]         All manuscripts are not equal in value because they all differ; thus it requires a process of elimination of errors, verifying what has been principally agreed upon and attempting to interpret the meaning of what is written.

In 384 A.D. an “authorized” revision of the Gospels from Latin manuscripts was made by Jerome. It gradually took precedence and gained popularity, and was copied and carried to various parts of the West. But as it was copied by different scribes, they produced an astounding set of various translations.

Several attempts were made throughout the Middle Ages to purify Jerome’s text, but each of these recensions eventually resulted in further corruption. As a result, the over 8,000 extant Vul. Mss reflect an enormous cross-contamination of text-types. (Biblical Criticism: Historical, Literary and Textual, Gordon Fee, p. 140)

So the confusing and intricate history of the Bible unfolds.

The New Testament books have been handed down to us by means of thousands of copies. Although God inspired the New Testament writers, He did not miraculously guide the hands of the copyists. Textual or Lower Criticism seeks to counteract inevitable scribal errors and recover the true form of the text. Many mistakes in the manuscripts crept into the text unintentionally, and are not difficult to detect. Other textual modifications were made intentionally, usually by a well-meaning scribe, and these do not stand out so clearly. (How We Got the Bible, Neil Lightfoot, p. 50)

Here, then, is the basis from which we draw our conclusion that errors have indeed crept into Bible translations. Hence, the need for a clear and correct translation, which may actually be impossible to obtain.