[I have a great love for Apostle J. Reuben Clark, defender of the faith. Back in 1954 (the year I was born) he delivered a Conference address that is every bit as pertinent today as it was then, entitled “Our Bible.” In it Elder Clark defends the use of the Authorized Version (King James Version). As a devoted student of the Holy Scriptures, I have over a hundred different Bible versions, counting my ancient languages (e.g., Masoretic Hebrew, Dead Sea Scrolls, Aramaic, Syriac, Chaldee, Vulgate, Septuagint), as well as translations into English and Spanish. I love comparing translations of the various verses I am studying. Most of this comparison takes place as I study Isaiah and the Prophets and the Old Testament. Without question, my favorite Bible in English is the King James Version. English is my second language yet I do not find the King James Version difficult to understand. This is not to say that I have not gained much from comparing the KJV to other versions. From time to time I even find some verses whose translation I prefer in versions other than the King James. But comparatively speaking, these are few and far between. Thus it is that I say that my favorite five versions are the KJV, KJV, KJV, KJV, and the KJV for the study of the Old Testament. I then would have to think hard of which version might come next out of twelve other favorites, none of which are my for sure next favorite. But I worry. In studying the New Covenant or New Testament, I have found important portions have been removed out of the Scriptures. I also see a trend towards the corruption of the Holy Word of God through perverse translations. In his seminal delivery below, Elder Clark, then Second Counselor in the First presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaks directly and powerfully to the dangers of translations of the New Testament based on the Alexandrian texts (most modern translations), contrasted to those based on the Textus Receptus (such as the King James Version).]
President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.,
Conference Report, April 1954, pp. 37-47
I have thought I might appropriately talk today about our Bible. What I want to say is of a technical and controversial nature, and I have written it out so that I might be sure to say what I want to say. What I shall say will have primary application to the New Testament.
As of today and outside the Roman world, which uses the Latin text, there are two principal Greek texts of the Bible used for English translation. We are today interested only in the text of the New Testament. The first of these is the "Byzantine" Greek text. Our King James Version is a translation of this text. The second is the "Alexandrian" text (as identified by some scholars), which is the controlling text of the translation found in the Revised Versions of the last three quarters of a century. There is a popular impression that these Revised Versions are merely corrected translations of the "Byzantine" Greek text. This is not the fact. Of these Revised Versions, the first appeared in 1881 (a British Version with American participation), the second in 1901 (an American Version, largely a duplication of the 1881 version), and the third in 1946-1952 (an amended American Version). In all these translations the "Alexandrian" Greek text controlled in certain great essentials.
The title page of the latest revision—the Revised Standard Version (New Testament, 1946)—in common with the other revisions, is not so fully revealing as it might be. As each of the others, it carries the impression that this is a further revision of the King James Version, whereas in fact it is rather a revision of the earlier revisions.
The "Byzantine" Greek text, which in translation is our Bible, the King James Version, is said to have been the generally accepted text all non-Roman Christendom from the last half of the fourth century, till the middle of the last century.
This King James or Authorized Version, "as far as it is translated correctly" (A of F 1:8), has been the version accepted by this Church since it was organized. The Prophet Joseph Smith undertook, under the inspiration of the Lord, to make a revision of the Bible—not a translation. This work was never completed, except as to certain portions appearing in the Pearl of Great Price. Since the work was not completed, the Church has never formally adopted it, save as to the parts in the Pearl of Great Price.
At this point, it ought to be observed that Bible critics may, for our purpose, be placed in two schools—Extreme Textualists and Sound or High Textualists.
The Extreme Textualists rule out the whole of the so-called miraculous elements of the Gospels—those events which lie outside the range of known laws of nature (as understood by these Textualists)—and brand all these elements as myths, legends, popular exaggeration, symbolism, allegory. One scholar has measured their thesis as follows: "The Gospels, as manipulated by the uncertain methods of this sort of criticism, seem capable of yielding a picture of any sort of Jesus that the critic desires" (Hastings, Encyclopedia, vol. 4, p. 320a, 1928).
The Sound or High Textualists admit the miraculous element but seem sometimes to treat it somewhat gingerly.
We have now to do with the Extreme Textualists, in considering these various revisions of 1881-1885, 1900-1901, and 1946-1952.
Before going farther it might be well briefly to note that, out of over four thousand known Greek manuscripts (in large part fragments), the Extreme Textualists pin their faith primarily to two Greek Codices, Sinaiticus (discovered in a convent on Mt. Sinai by Tischendorf in 1844) and Vaticanus (brought to the Vatican at Rome as early as 1481). These are claimed to be the two oldest known vellum manuscripts. Tischendorf exploited Sinaiticus; Westcott and Hort, Vaticanus, using Sinaiticus as a supporting text, along with Alexandrinus, sent as a gift from the Patriarch of Constantinople to Charles I of England in the year 1628. Westcott and Hort prepared a new Greek text from these and a few others that supported their readings (principally C and D). A third primary source of recent criticism is the Chester Beatty Papyri—in Greek—discovered in 1931 in Egypt. These have been exploited by Dr. Kenyon who affirms they are "the most important Biblical discovery since that of the Codex Sinaiticus" (Tischendorf). Thus first Tischendorf, then Westcott and Hort, then Kenyon have each had his favorite manuscripts which each interprets and uses to the maximum to develop in text form his Extreme Textualist views.
The Byzantine Greek text—which is the basis of our King James Version, and the Sinaiticus—Vaticanus text existed side by side apparently for almost the first eight hundred years; they appear to have been in virtual competition. Then the church as a whole adopted the Byzantine text which became the ruling text from that time till the challenge of it in the middle of the last century. During all this time, the Roman Church had its own Latin text—that developed into the Vulgate.
Modern criticism made its appearance at about the middle of the 1700's. Once begun, it steadily increased as time went on. At first it related primarily to the Old Testament; then the New Testament became involved, and while the whole Byzantine text—the Textus Receptus (in translation, the King James Version)—was brought under fire, the chief objective of the Extreme Textualist attack became the Gospels. By the end of the first quarter of the 1800's, the warfare against the "Byzantine" text was open, vicious, and unrelenting. It must be remembered that the attack of the Extreme Twists pivoted upon the personality and character of Jesus of Nazareth and the accuracy and truth of his teachings, doctrines, and works.
For the first three Christian centuries, and following Simon the Sorcerer (whom Peter scathingly execrated for seeking to buy the Holy Ghost with gold— see Acts 8:18-20), heretics and heresies, great and small, sought to distort or wipe out the recognition of Jesus as Christ. Time buried the heretics and most of the heresies. But one heresy lived on, appearing now and again in the flowing centuries, usually in the dark corners of ecclesiastical discussions, but sometimes in the open. I refer to Arianism that nearly wrecked the Christian Church in the time of Constantine. It is an obscure and shifting doctrine that, shortly put, and in general terms, denies Godhood to the Christ (Robertson, History, Vol. I, pp. 385 ff.; Hastings, Encyclopedia, sub voce "Arianism"; Neander, History, Vol. II, pp. 403 ff.; Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. III, p. 620).
While not now paraded, the doctrine lies behind the thinking and writings of those Bible critics who are grouped together as Extreme Textualists. To this group (as already intimated) must be charged the Bible revisions of the last three quarters of a century—the British, which the great body of the Christian Church refused to accept; the American, which had no better reception; and the recent (1946-1952) American revision (Revised Standard Version), which perpetuates the unacceptable changes of the two earlier revisions. The Greek manuscripts relied upon by the Extreme Textualists seem all to be tinctured with Arianism, which had its birth in Alexandria, from which the text gets its name, Alexandrian.
The translation found in these various revisions, contains, on the one hand, many passages that in effect voice Arian or near-Arian concepts, and, on the other hand, omits many passages that contradict Arian doctrines. It is affirmed that the changes they have made run into thousands—5337 in the Greek text and 36,191 in the English translation. In a recent magazine, Allen Wikgren is quoted as having observed in The Interpreter's Bible, that of "some 180,000 words in the New Testament, alterations amounted to an estimated 30,000, or an average of 4 1/2 per verse.
For a century and a quarter, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has declared the King James Version of the Bible to be the word of God, with a reservation as to incorrect translations of the Greek text on which it was based. The Inspired Version of the Prophet, so far as finished, supports the King James Version in all essentials on this point of the Godhood of Jesus the Christ. With our belief in Jesus as the Son of God, the Only Begotten, this Church cannot accept any version that takes from Jesus the Christ any attribute of Godhood.
I shall call attention to a very few only (some sixteen) of the thousands of new renderings in these revisions, particularly the latest—the Revised Standard Version. They will show that this Church cannot accept any of these versions as setting forth the true record of God's word to men.
LITERATURE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
In the first place, I must note that one the virtues claimed by the Revisionists for their new work is that it consciously and deliberately sets about to destroy the New Testament as a book of supreme classic literature. They have all succeeded. They say the English of the King James Version is of too much beauty and elegance, is in English too majestic and lofty for the writings of New Testament times. I merely ask, could any language be too great, too elegant, too beautiful, too lofty, to record the doings and sayings of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ?
ELIMINATION OF WORD "MIRACLE"
I have already noted that the Extreme Textualists rule out the whole of the so-called miraculous elements of the New Testament and brand them as myths, legends, popular exaggeration, symbolism, allegory. To further this thesis of theirs, they have eliminated the word miracle whenever it occurs In the New Testament (except in some half dozen places) and have substituted for the word miracle the word sign. A miracle may be a sign, but a sign is not necessarily a miracle. This attempt to discredit or destroy miracles by changing the name we give to them seems puerile, yet over the years, if not corrected, it would leave its effect. We Latter-day Saints know that Jesus did perform miracles, that his ancient Apostles performed them, and that through the exercise of the Holy Priesthood after the order of the Son of God, those duly authorized perform miracles today. This is our testimony to the world. We cannot accept a Bible text that would take the miraculous out of our lives. This manipulation is a prop for Arianism.
THE VIRGIN BIRTH (Matthew 1:25)
In this connection it should be noted that the Revisionists have so manipulated the account of the birth of Jesus, as recorded in Matthew, as to give ground for the contention that the virgin birth of Jesus is a myth. Matthew in our Bible says—speaking about Joseph: "And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son." The Inspired Version follows the King James Version.
The Revised Standard Version reads: "But knew her not until she had borne a son," which opens the door for a contention regarding Mary's virginity. We can admit no question on this point, which was made certain in the great vision to Nephi (see (1 Ne. 11:18-20). The overwhelming Greek Manuscript authority (there are more than 4000 of them, mostly fragments) sustains the King James Version. This is a change that tends to take away the Christian concept of the birth of Jesus. This bends toward Arianism.
MESSAGE OF THE HEAVENLY HOST (Luke 2:14)
In the King James Version, the message of the heavenly host to the shepherds, reads: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." The Inspired Version follows without essential change, the King James Version. The Revisionists have changed this to read: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!" Obviously, the Revisionists have changed the sense and scope of the message from a greeting and blessing to all men, to a message to a restricted few. Christ's mission was for all men. Scholars affirm this change first comes into view in the second century and disappears in the fifth. We cannot accept this mutilation.
"THE SON OF GOD" (Mark 1:1)
Mark's opening sentence in the King James Version reads thus: "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." The Inspired Version follows the King James. So do the Revised Versions, but the Revisionists have a marginal note that casts doubt upon the phrase, "The Son of God," by noting that some authorities omit these words, but they do not tell us that these words are said to be all but universally recognized in the manuscripts and the writings of the Fathers. At best, this doubt-raising marginal note, * unexplained, carries to the uninformed the idea that he has a legitimate choice whether he will accept or reject these words. There is, on the record, no chance for a justifiable choice. Here is an Arianism.
[* Note: Dr. Scrivener, who was one of the scholars who made the Revised version of 1881 and carried the Greek text through the press (he and Dr. Hort are characterized by Dr. Kenyon as "the two most learned textual critics then alive"—1881), made, in his great work, A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament (3rd edition, 1883), the following observations about these marginal readings: ". . . the various readings recorded in the margin are nothing better than rejected readings, deliberately refused a place in the text, and set in the margin if sometimes too lightly, yet always in a spirit of fairness to the unlearned reader of Holy Scripture." (Preface, p. ix.)]
CHRIST THE CREATOR (John 1:3-4)
In the King James Version John declares: "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men." The Revised Standard Version substitutes through for by in the phrase made by him. The Inspired version of the Prophet Joseph follows the King James Version in part, with a different rendering for the fourth verse: "In him was the gospel, and the gospel was the life, and the life was the light of men."
But the Revisionists have cast a doubt on these passages by a marginal note which adds an alternative reading which omits and contracts the passage to read: "Without him was not anything made. That which has been made was life in him." Scholars affirm that this is a known perversion brought in by the Gnostics in the second century. It is an heretical change.
This is another omission and change affecting the dignity and personality of Christ.
THE SON OF MAN WHICH IS IN HEAVEN (John 3:13)
John quotes Jesus as saying to Nicodemus:
"And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven." The Inspired Version follows the King James Version. The British revision of the 1880's and the American Standard Version (1900-01) print the passage substantially as in the King James Version, but add a note which says: "Many ancient authorities omit who is in heaven." However, the latest American revision (the Revised Standard Version) leaves these words out of the text and adds a note: "Other ancient authorities add who is in heaven." That is, here, as in other places, the doubt cast in the earlier revisions is made a certainty in this last revision, and the King James text is relegated to a note. Yet scholars tell us that the omitted words are found in every Greek manuscript in the world except five, in the Latin, Syriac, and other versions in number totaling ten, and in the works of thirty-eight Fathers, and are recognized by certain Extreme Textualists as "quite above suspicion." Here again is a change of Arian type, tending to belittle Jesus. We of the Church cannot accept this alteration.
THE LORD'S PRAYER (Matt. 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4)
In his great Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught the multitude how to pray, having warned them against praying in vain repetitions as the heathen do, who "think that they shall be heard for their much speaking," because, said he, "your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him." Every Sunday School child knows, or should know, the Lord's Prayer found in our Bible. I shall not repeat it. I will repeat the form found in the last revision (the Revised Standard Version):
"Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil."
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil."
The British and first American revisions said, "but deliver us from the evil one," and there was a further slight difference between the two earlier texts.
We miss from the forgoing those great sanctifying words that ended the prayer: "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen,"—found in our Bible.
A marginal note in the earlier versions reads substantially as in the latest version: "Other authorities, some ancient, add, in some form, For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen."
Thus was eliminated from the Lord's Prayer that great commitment made by the Only Begotten in the Council Of Heaven, as he countered the proposal of Satan, the record quoting the Father, "But, behold, my Beloved Son which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever" (Moses 4:2).
The prayer as given in Luke has been considerably tampered with.
Scholars affirm the changes made in these prayers stem from the pen of Marcion, the heretic of almost 1800 years ago. The reliance for these changes is placed in the five manuscripts (out of the 4000) adopted by the Extreme Textualists and scholars say these greatly disagree as among themselves on this point.
The Church cannot accept a text so constructed, eliminating fundamental principles, as against King James Version, supported, as it is here, by the Inspired Version.
THE INSTITUTION OF THE SACRAMENT (Luke 22:19-20)
During the Last Supper in the Upper Chamber, Jesus instituted the sacrament. Luke's account thereof is as follows:
"And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
"Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you."
The British Revised Version text was in substance the same, but a marginal note said: "Some ancient authorities omit which is given for you" (following body) and "which is poured out for you" (following blood). (The King James Version says, "which is shed for you.")
The account in the last revision—the Revised Standard Version—reads: "And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body . . .'" so omitting the final sentence regarding the atoning blood.
Here again the doubt that was cast in the first revisions by a marginal note, becomes in the latest revision the actual text, while the King James Version text becomes a marginal note introduced by the words: "Other ancient authorities add . . . " (quoting).
Thus the latest revision practically completely eliminates from Luke's account of the institution of the sacrament, the portion dealing with the atoning blood.
The accounts given in Matthew (Matthew 26:26-29) and in Mark (Mark 14:22-25) are not substantially changed in the revisions from the account given in the King James Version. But this leaves the record where, so far as the general reader knows, he may make a choice.
We of the Church cannot go along with a text that thus deals with the elemental principle of Christianity. This, too, tends to Arianism.
CASTING OUT EVIL SPIRITS (Matthew 17:21)
The King James Version records in Matthew that when the disciples questioned why they could not cast out an evil spirit from one afflicted, Jesus, heaving cast out the evil spirit, replied: "Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."
This declaration of Matthew is omitted in all the revisions (including the latest), with a marginal note reading: "Other ancient authorities insert verse 21, 'But this kind never comes out except by prayer and fasting.'" This elimination has been made notwithstanding scholars say that, as of the time of the first revision (1881) it is vouched for by every known uncial manuscript (manuscripts written in capital letters) but two, by every known cursive (manuscripts written in a running hand) but one, by the Latin and other versions, and by the ancient Fathers.
The account of the same incident in Mark (Mark 9:14-29) is substantially as in the King James Version, except that the phrase, "and fasting," is omitted, with a marginal note giving the usual information about "Other ancient authorities add and fasting."
The Inspired Version follows the King James Version.
Here again the uninformed reader is led to believe he is justified in a choice, though in reality there is no justification for a choice. Fasting is an essential element in the exercise of spiritual powers.
THE SON OF MAN IS COME TO SAVE (Matthew 18:11)
Introducing his parable of the lost sheep as recorded in Matthew, Jesus said, as recorded in the King James Version: "For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost."
The revisions omit this verse entirely from their text, but insert a marginal note in their conventional form, varied slightly in the latest revision—The Revised Standard Version—"Many authorities, some ancient, insert ver. 11 For the Son of man came to save that which was lost."
This verse has been eliminated, notwithstanding scholars tell us that, as of 1881, it was attested by every known uncial manuscript except three, by every known cursive except three, by the Latin and other versions, and by the early Fathers. The Universal Eastern Church has read it in their churches from the beginning.
Here also the uninformed reader feels, without justification, that he has a choice as to whether Jesus did or did not say this.
The Inspired Version of the Prophet follows the King James Version.
The omission of this verse seems clearly in the interest of the Arian doctrine.
Our Church could not accept this elimination.
THE AGONY IN THE GARDEN AND THE MINISTERING ANGEL (Luke 22:42-44)
In Luke's record of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, he states Jesus prayed:
"42. Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
"43. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
"44. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground."
All the revisions print these verses substantially as in the King James Version, but add their doubt-raising marginal note, in their conventional form: "Many ancient authorities omit ver. 43, 44"—the verses regarding the strengthening angel and sweat of blood.
These two verses contain our sole record of this event found in the New Testament. Scholars affirm that as of 1881, these verses were witnessed by "the whole body of the Manuscripts, uncial as well as cursive, and by every ancient Version," and by "upwards of forty famous personages from every part of ancient Christendom," including the Fathers, "fourteen of them being as old—some of them, a great deal older—than our oldest MSS."
The justification offered for casting a doubt upon them is that they are "an early Western interpolation . . . a fragment from the Traditions, written or oral . . . an 'evangelic Tradition,' therefore, 'rescued from oblivion by the Scribes of the second century.'"
The Inspired Version, with a slight, unimportant change, follows the King James Version, Furthermore, the question is settled for us by modern revelation for King Benjamin predicted this specific suffering (Mosiah 3:7) and the Lord himself recounted it in a revelation to the Prophet Joseph (D&C 19:18).
We cannot accept the elimination of any part of the record of this great moment of almost unbearable agony.
THE WORDS ON THE CROSS (Luke 23:34)
After Jesus had been nailed to the cross, and it had been planted in the ground, Jesus rayed: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."
All the revisions print these words, but add the customary doubt-raising marginal note, "Some ancient authorities omit And Jesus said, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."
Scholars writing in 1881 say: "And yet these words are found in every known uncial and in every known cursive Copy, except four; besides being found in every ancient Version," and upwards of forty of the Fathers, beginning with Irenaeus of the second century.
No other prayer offered by Jesus on earth brings us closer to his divinity than this plea for his crucifiers.
The Inspired Version of the prophet gives the reading of the King James Version, but inserts in brackets following the words, "for they know not what they do," the words, "(Meaning the soldiers who crucified him)."
CHRIST'S SALUTATION TO THE APOSTLES IN THE UPPER CHAMBER (Luke 24:36)
Luke's account in the King James Version reads, as to the appearance of Christ in the Upper Chamber the night following the morning of the resurrection: "And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
The Revised Versions (British, 1881, and American, 1901) print, but cast doubt upon the phrase, "and saith unto them, Peace be unto you," with a note reading, "Some ancient authorities omit and saith unto them, Peace be unto you."
In this passage in the latest revision (the Revised Standard Version), the Revisionists have again made good the doubt raised in the earlier revisions and have entirely omitted the phrase from the printed text, and print a marginal note: "Other ancient authorities add and said to them, 'Peace to you!'"
Yet our scholar of 1881 affirms: "And yet the precious words ('and saith unto them, Peace be unto you') are vouched for by 18 uncials (with Aleph A B at their head), and every known cursive copy of the Gospels: by all the Versions: and (as before) by Eusebius—and Ambrose—by Chrysostom—and Cyril—and Augustine." The Inspired Version expands the King James Version but does not in any way destroy the essential elements of the record.
We of the Church cannot surrender this passage.
CHRIST DISPLAYS HIS HANDS AND FEET (Luke 24:40)
In his account, Luke follows the salutation, "Peace be unto you," with a passage reading as follows, in the King James Version: "And when he had thus spoken he shewed them his hands and his feet.
The earlier revisions (British, 1881, American, 1901) add to this passage a marginal note (though printing the verse their text): "Some ancient authorities omit ver. 40."
Once more, the latest revision—the Revised Standard Version—makes good the doubt raised in the earlier revisions, and omits this passage from the text and adds a marginal note reading: "Other ancient authorities add verse 40, And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet."
Again the doubt cast by the earlier revisions has become the ruling text.
Our collator of the 1880's comments that the words are found in eighteen uncials, beginning with Aleph A B; in every known cursive; in all the ancient versions, and he names ten of the earlier Fathers who quote them.
The Inspired Version follows the King James Version in this passage.
This record regarding the resurrected body of Jesus is of the last importance. We cannot suffer the loss of this incident, nor admit a doubt on its testimony.
Bishop Westcott and Doctor Hort, in their own built Greek text of the New Testament, introduced a number of changes—additions and omissions—for which they adduced no authority whatever. A very learned collator declares that these conjectural emendations are "destitute not only of historical foundation, but of all probability, resulting from the internal goodness of the Text which its adoption would force upon us." Another collator likens the claims urged for these emendations as equivalent to a claim of revelation, and says: "If these distinguished Professors have enjoyed a Revelation as to what the Evangelists actually wrote, they would do well to acquaint the world with the fact at the earliest possible moment. If, on the contrary, they are merely relying on their own inner consciousness for the power of divining the truth of Scripture at a glance—they must be prepared to find their decrees treated with the contumely which is due to imposture, of whatever kind."
The Revisionists responsible for the Revised Standard Version—the latest revision—rather plume themselves upon the fact that they have kept but one conjectural emendation" offered by Westcott and Hort. This is not quite accurate, but that point is immaterial. The emendation they affirm they retain is Jude 5 (Jude 1:5-6).
The King James Version reads: "I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.
"6. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day."
The particular phrase of interest to the Latter-day Saint is found in verse 6—"the angels which kept not their first estate."
The English revision (1881) proposed:
"5. Now I desire to put you in remembrance, though ye know all things once for all, how that the Lord, having saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. 6. And angels which kept not their own principality, but left their proper habitation, he hath kept in everlasting bonds under darkness unto the judgment of the great day."
The American Version (1901) was identical save for two words: how is omitted before "that the Lord," and which is changed to that after "angels."
The Inspired Version of the Prophet Joseph follows the King James Version.
The Revised Standard Version—which retains Westcott and Hort's conjectural emendation—reads:
"5. Now I desire to remind you, though you were once for all fully Informed, that he who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6. And the angels that did not keep their own position but left their proper dwelling have been kept by him in eternal chains in the nether gloom until the judgment of the great day."
No one with an understanding of the great truths announced in Abraham 3 (Abraham 3:26), would have eliminated "first estate." The expression "nether gloom" may be good mythology (we do not know), but it does not describe any Christian concept.
This emendation sufficiently establishes the unreliability of the Revised Standard Version, so far as the Latter-day Saints are concerned.
We shall consider one more omission, perhaps the largest individual omission made in all the text, and certainly among the most important—
THE LAST TWELVE VERSES OF MARK (Mark 16:9-20)
These tell that Christ first appeared to Mary Magdalene, who reported to the disciples, but they believed not; then of the appearance of Jesus to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, who reported to the disciples, who still believed not; then of the appearance to the eleven who sat at meat, whom he reproved for their unbelief and hardness of heart, and then commissioned them to go into all the world and preach the gospel, telling them of the signs that would follow the believer, with their powers to heal the sick; and finally of Christ's ascension into heaven sitting on the right hand of God, with the disciples scattering to preach to the people, "the Lord working with them, and Confirming the word with signs following."
It is in this section of Mark that there occurs that passage quoted by President McKay this morning, "Go ye into all the world, and, preach the gospel to every creature."
The Revised Versions (British 1881, American, 1901) print these passages as part of the text, but leave extra space between verses 8 and 9 of the text, so suggesting that something is wrong. They add this marginal note: "The two oldest Greek manuscripts, and some other authorities, Omit from ver. 9 to the end. Some other authorities have a different ending to the Gospel."
The Revised Standard Version (again making the earlier doubt cast a near certainty in their text), omits these verses from the text and prints them as a marginal note, beginning: "Other texts and versions add as 16:9-20 the following passage:" Then follow the verses named.
One collator (1881) says these verses "are recognized by every one of the Versions," are "attested by every known Copy, except two of bad character: by a mighty chorus of Fathers: by the unfaltering Tradition of the Church universal." And a second collator of the same era affirms that he defends these verses "without the slightest misgiving." Referring to the first noted collator, the second one says that the first "has now thrown a stream of light upon the controversy" in a tone o one who is conscious of having triumphantly maintained a cause which is very precious to him."
The elimination of these last twelve verses of Mark would undoubtedly add comfort to the Arians. If this whole record could be discredited, their cause would be that much advanced. It is gratifying to note that the great scholar Scrivener thought his contemporary Burgon had successfully established their authenticity.
It is not opportune now to discuss almost innumerable instances from among the thousands of changes by the Revisionists. Many, many of them are on a par with those we have mentioned. Enough has been said to show that the Latter-day Saints may not safely accept the latest revision as containing for them the word of Our Heavenly Father for his children, nor a dependable record of the work and mission of our Lord Jesus Christ. We must cling to the text that has guided us for a century and a quarter.
We will close by quoting a few sentences from Dr. Kenyon, who seems more than any other to be today, the leader of the Extreme Textualists—to be looked up to by the rest—and who is more tolerant of contrary opinions than some others. In the concluding paragraphs of his book, Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts (1948), he discusses the Revised Versions as compared with the King James Version, and while never surrendering the claim of superiority for the revisions, he does yield these concessions:
"More than fifty years have now passed since the publication of the Revised Version [British], and the dust of the original controversy has had time to die down. In less than that time the Authorized Version [King James] drove the Geneva Bible from the field; but there is no sign of a similar victory of the Revised over the Authorized. The general verdict is, we think, this. There is no doubt that the Revised represents, in the New Testament, a very superior Greek text."
This is the Extreme Textualist view, but not the view of the opposing school—the High or Sound Textualist. Kenyon continues:
"There is no doubt that in very many places, especially in the prophetical and poetical books of the Old Testament and in the Epistles in the New, it makes the meaning clearer and represents the original more accurately. On both these grounds the Revised Version is indispensable for anyone who really wishes to Study the Bible. On the other hand, it is universally felt that very many of the verbal changes introduced by Revisers, especially in the Gospels (where they are more noticeable because of the greater familiarity of these books), are unnecessary and disturbing . . . In the Gospels the sense of discomfort from the constant changes of the familiar words is too great, and the changes, where they do not rest on a change in the text translated, are unnecessary . . . It is true that the Authorized Version [King James] has struck its roots too deeply into our language and literature, and is itself too eat a monument of literary art, to be dispossessed without a preponderating balance of loss. We can no more do without the Authorized Version [King James] than we can do without Shakespeare and Bacon . . . Both are now essential parts of our heritage; and the final verdict must be: The Revised for Study, the Authorized for reading" (Kenyon, Our Bible, pp. 243-44).
This may be the final verdict where there is not too much concern over Arian doctrines denying Godhood to Jesus, and other erroneous doctrines, but to the Latter-day Saint, the final verdict must be that no text that minimizes or denies the Godhood of Jesus, can be regarded as the word of God, no matter how old and respected the manuscript may be which sets out such views.
To the Latter-day Saint, Jesus was the Christ, the Only Begotten, the Son of God, a member of the Trinity. All our modern Scriptures are to this point, and the true ancient scriptures will neither take away from, nor destroy this everlasting truth.
God grant to each and every of us this priceless testimony, I ask, in Jesus' name. Amen.