Foreword to Inspired Version

Joseph Smith, Jr., worked diligently to present a more correct version of the Bible. He began this revision in 1830 and completed the initial revision by July 2, 1833. The original manuscripts indicate additional editing by Joseph Smith after that date. It was his intention to have the printing done, as evidenced from statements he made as late as 1841 (Doctrine and Covenants 107:28) concerning the urgency of this project. However, it was not published during his lifetime.

Among the valuable manuscripts he left in the possession of his widow, Emma, was this work on the Bible which he described as the "New Translation." These manuscripts were preserved, and after Joseph Smith III became president of the Reorganized Church, Emma delivered them to a committee appointed by the General Conference of 1866 to procure the manuscripts. This committee consisted of William Marks, Israel L. Rogers, and William W. Blair. During 1866-1867 the committee of publication (Joseph Smith III, Israel L. Rogers and Ebenezer Robinson) had a printer's manuscript made. This was carefully compared with the originals and edited by the committee. From this printer's manuscript the first edition of "The Holy Scriptures" was printed in December 1867.

In view of Joseph Smith's revelatory experience, it was natural that he should seek more light relative to the biblical text, especially as he came to realize the inadequacy of the available versions. Revelations concerning the creation and early history of mankind and the prophecy of Enoch were received between June and December, 1830. The specific commandments authorizing the "New Translation" are found in the Doctrine and Covenants:

and a commandment I give unto thee [Sidney Rigdon], that thou shalt write for him [Joseph Smith]; and the Scriptures shall be given even as they are in mine own bosom, to the salvation of mine own elect.--Section 34:5, December1830.

Thou shalt ask, and my Scriptures shall be given as I have appointed, and they shall be preserved in safety; and it is expedient that thou shouldst hold thy peace concerning them, and not teach them until thou hast received them in full.--Section 42:15a, February 1831.

And now, behold, I say unto you, it shall not be given unto you to know any further concerning this chapter [Matthew 24], until the New Testament be translated, and in it all these things shall be made known; wherefore, I give unto you that you may now translate it, that ye may be prepared for the things to come; for verily I say unto you, that great things await you.--Section 45:11a, b, March 1831.

Four manuscripts were developed under the direction of Joseph Smith, Jr. From these the Committee of Publication prepared the text for the printer. These four manuscripts were (1) a completely written out manuscript consisting of what is now Doctrine and Covenants Section 22 and Genesis 1:1 to 24:42a; (2) another manuscript including Doctrine and Covenants Section 22 and recommended changes covering all of the Old Testament; (3) a fully written revision of Matthew 1:1 to 26:71; and (4) a subsequent manuscript revising and improving No. 3 and indicating changes to be made in other portions of the New Testament.

The first document in the Old Testament manuscripts (now Doctrine and Covenants Section 22) was not incorporated as part of the biblical text. This, however, has appeared in all editions as an introductory revelation.

The process by which this text was derived deserves comment. As noted, certain completely new portions were given in the form of revelatory documents and included in the text--for example, the larger share of chapters 5, 6 and 7 in Genesis. In the manuscripts the biblical text of both the Old and New Testament was revised and written out, word-for-word, to Genesis 24:73 and John 6:5 respectively; thereafter only the places where corrections were to be made were noted. Sidney Rigdon and John Whitmer appear to have shared the major work of transcription, with occasional help from Emma Smith and Oliver Cowdery.

The word "translation" is used consistently by Joseph Smith, Jr., to describe this work, and although this use of the word has later become somewhat obsolete, it serves to illustrate the method by which the text was determined (an older meaning of "translation" carries the connotation of changing a verbal expression into other forms even though in the same language). It appears that apart from the revelatory form of some portions such as those mentioned, the major part of the new version was arrived at through a prayerful, analytical approach, in most places following the language form and arrangement of the King James version. Many books and chapters were marked "correct" and therefore follow the Authorized Version.

The text as published in 1867 was reprinted many times until 1944 when a "Corrected Edition" was prepared under the direction of the First Presidency and the Board of Publication. This "Corrected Edition" was found to be necessary in order to rectify certain spelling, punctuation, and errors in grammar, together with other omissions. Most of the 1944 corrections brought the text into greater harmony with the original manuscripts, as the following illustrations demonstrate:




Gen. 8:53

"sent the dove out"

"sent forth the dove out"

Exod. 32:14

"execute my judgment"

"execute judgment"


"Behold, thou shalt stand"

"And the Lord said, Behold, thou shalt stand"

Isa. 2:5

"his own wicked ways"

"his wicked ways"

Isa. 13:22

"I shall destroy"

"I will destroy"

Isa. 34:7



Matt. 11:2

"words of Christ"

"works of Christ"

Matt. 13:18

"and taketh away that which"

"and catcheth away that which"


"when the even was come"

"when the evening was come"


"weather is fair; and in the morning"

"weather is fair, for the sky is red; and in the morning"

Luke 13:11

"and was bound together"

"and was bowed together"

John 1:6

"Then was a man sent from God"

"There was a man sent from God"


"throughout the world"

"throughout the whole world"

1 Cor.1:24

"them which are called"

"them who believe"