Need for the Inspired Version of the Bible

The inspired revision of the King James Version was prepared by the prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. He became aware of the need for such a revision in 1829 during the translation of the Book of Mormon. The Bible was described by the prophet Nephi in the Book of Mormon. He was told that "many parts which are plain and most precious, and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away . . . from the book" (see 1 Nephi 3:157-192).

In June of 1830, Joseph Smith, Jr., received the word of God as it was revealed to Moses. The Lord told Moses that at a later time, "the children of men shall esteem my words as naught and take many of them from the book which you shall write" (Doctrine and Covenants 22:24).

Several early Christian writers gave evidence that changes had been made in the Bible at a very early day. Justin Martyr, who wrote about a century after Christ, claimed that the Jews "have altogether taken away many Scriptures from the translation [the Septuagint] effected by those seventy elders who were with Ptolemy, and by which this very man [Jesus] who was crucified is proved to have been set forth expressly as God, and as man, and as being crucified, and as dying" (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 71).

Origen, who spent his life collecting and comparing the different translations and editions, also testified that the Jews removed parts of the Old Testament. He wrote, "Our copies are very much fuller than the Hebrew" (Origen, Origen to Africanus).

Gnostic heretics in the early Christian church also corrupted copies of the scriptures, as documented by Ignatius, Clement of Alexandria, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, and others. Christian historian Eusebius quoted an unknown author, "So it was that they laid hands unblushingly on the Holy Scriptures, claiming to have corrected them" ("A Polemic Against Artemon," quoted by Eusebius in The History of the Church, Book 5, Chapter 28).

Development of the Inspired Version

The work of translation began in the latter half of 1830 and was completed on July 2, 1833, although the manuscripts indicate additional editing by Joseph after that date. Many sections in the Doctrine and Covenants give the Lord's instructions regarding the translation (see D&C 34:5; 42:5c, 15a; 45:11a; 73:2a; 76:3c; 87:5a; and 90:12).

Although the work is referred to as a "translation," it should be understood that the process of receiving the text was primarily revelatory, as opposed to the modern definition of scholarly conversion of a writing from one language to another. The Doctrine and Covenants indicates the inspired and revelatory nature of the work: "the Scriptures shall be given even as they are in mine own bosom, to the salvation of mine own elect" (D&C 34:5b).

Some portions consisted of material given by direct revelation and inserted into the original, such as the majority of chapters 4 through 7 of Genesis that includes the life and prophecy of Enoch. In many other places, the work appears to have been done through a prayerful, analytical approach, with smaller corrections being made by inspired insight, following the language, form, and arrangement of the King James text.

Four handwritten manuscripts were developed under Joseph Smith's direction:

The Joseph Smith "Family Bible" was used during the translation and contains markings indicating where certain words were to be inserted or replaced.

Printed Editions

Following Joseph Smith's death in 1844, the manuscripts of the "new translation" were carefully preserved by Joseph's widow, Emma. After her son Joseph Smith III became president of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS), committees were appointed to procure the manuscripts and to prepare the Inspired Version for printing. During 1866 and 1867, the publication committee (Joseph Smith III, Israel L. Rogers, and Ebenezer Robinson) carefully compared the original manuscripts and prepared a printer's manuscript. The first edition of the "Holy Scriptures" (Inspired Version) was published in 1867. Verse numbers generally follow the King James Version numbering, with some notable exceptions (Genesis 1-24, Isaiah 4, portions of Matthew 1 through John 5, and a few others).

The 1867 edition was reprinted several times until 1944, when the First Presidency and the Board of Publication of the Reorganized Church authorized a committee to prepare a "New Corrected Edition." The committee made numerous corrections involving spelling, punctuation, and typographical errors. Most importantly, the committee again compared the original manuscripts and the Joseph Smith "Family Bible," revising some words and phrases to more accurately reflect the work done by Joseph Smith. Subsequent editions have made additional minor typographical and editorial corrections.

About This Edition

Between 2012 and 2015, a committee of believers in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ prepared the scriptures for printing under the auspices of Cumorah Books, Inc. The committee carefully considered textual differences between previous editions of the Inspired Version. Comparisons were also made with the Joseph Smith original manuscripts and Family Bible (using Joseph Smith's Translation of the Bible: Electronic Edition, edited by Scott H. Faulring and Kent P. Jackson, 2010).

This edition includes improved punctuation, updated chapter headings, minor editorial corrections, a revised concordance, and other supplementary materials. The committee has labored to provide a clear, correct, and useful edition of the Inspired Version. It is our fervent prayer that God's Holy Spirit will richly bless all readers in their study of His holy word.

Because there are a few differences between printed editions, the committee evaluated alternative word choices. In a few cases, a different word was chosen to correct an error in grammar or usage.

Examples This Edition Explanation
Gen. 5:15 "sware" Corrected verb tense of "swear" (also Gen. 24:5).
Gen. 7:39 "knowledge [intelligence]" Both words are used in various manuscripts and editions.
Gen. 14:17 "brake" Corrected verb tense of "break" (also 1 Cor. 11:24).
Gen. 16:19 "bare" Corrected verb tense of "bear" (also Gen. 21:1-2).
Gen. 19:18 "and thy sons" Some editions read "son's sons" or "sons' sons." One of the "sons" is struck out in the manuscript.
Josh. 22:31 "ye have not committed" Later editions have "we," but it should refer to the Reubenites.
Ps. 12 and 13 "To the chief musician . . ." Restored headings that are in the Hebrew text.
Ps. 135:5 "that the Lord is great" Later editions repeat the phrase.
Lu. 12:59 "straitened" Corrected spelling in context; used instead of "straightened."
1 Cor. 12:3 "no man can know" Correction given by Joseph Smith* instead of "no man can say."

*Times and Seasons 3:823; Minutes of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, April 28, 1842; see also Moroni 10:7, Doctrine and Covenants 46:5d.