On the JST of 1 Timothy

COMMENTARY ON JOSEPH SMITH’S REVISION OF 1 TIMOTHY

Kevin Barney

1. 1 Timothy 1:1

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and the Lord Jesus Christ, which is our Savior and our hope;

    Two italicized words are removed, and the revision Americanizes the British spelling of “Saviour”  to “Savior” (which drops the u, making it easier to pronounce on sight). But the most substantive change is to avoid predicating the word Savior of God, but predicating that word of Jesus instead. Most commonly in both the New Testament and Christian tradition generally the word “Savior” (Greek soter, Latin salvator) is predicated of Jesus Christ. In the letters of Timothy and Titus, however, there are a handful of places where “Savior” is predicated of God rather than Jesus. In the Hebrew Bible God is often described as a savior, so this is not really that unusual, but it does conflict with common modern usage, and so Smith reworked the passage to make Jesus Christ the Savior rather that God the Father.

    Paradigm Classifications A-2, A-3 and C-1 (Suspicion of Italicized Text, Modernization and Harmonization within the Biblical Text)

2. 1 Timothy 2:1

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

    This revision is simply stylistic. The NLT similarly has “give thanks” (without the “of”) and many modern translations avoid the word “of” by using the form “thanksgivings.” The Greek word used here, eucharistias, indeed literally means “thanksgivings” and is the source for the theological term Eucharist.

    Paradigm Classification A-1 (English Paraphrase of KJV Text)

3. 1 Timothy 2:4

Who will is willing to have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth which is in Christ Jesus, who is the Only Begotten Son of God, and ordained to be a Mediator between God and man; who is one God, and hath power over all men.

    The KJV is just a bad translation here. “Who will have all men to be saved” reads as if that result is to be mandated. But the Greek verb used here, thelo, refers to desire, not fiat. In other words, God wants all people to be saved, but that doesn’t mean all people will be. JST “is willing” uses the same English word but in a form that matches the intent of the Greek text. Most modern translations use something like wishes, wants or desires. The JST also adds a midrashic expansion to the passage, focused on the relation between the Son of God and God himself.

    Paradigm Classifications A-1 and B (English Paraphrase of KJV Text and Midrashic Commentary)

4. 1 Timothy 2:9

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

    “Broid” was originally an Irish verb that is a (now obsolete) form of “braid.” The JST here is simply modernizing the verb.

    Paradigm Classification A-3 (Modernizatin)

5. 1 Timothy 2:12

But For I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

    The preceding verse in the KJV reads “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.” Then at the beginning of verse 12 the KJV represents the conjunction de with “but.” While some older translations do this, most modern translations do not represent the conjunction at all, while a number use “and” for the transition from verse 11 to verse 12. Verse 12 is definitely a continuation of the thought initiated in verse 11, and “for” is certainly a plausible transition between those two verses.

    Paradigm Classification A-1 (English Paraphrase of KJV Text)

6. 1 Timothy 2:15

Notwithstanding she they shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety

    The Greek text literally has a singular “she shall be saved” at the beginning of the passage, but then transitions to a plural “if they continue” in the second half of the verse. The JST harmonizes the number by assimilating the singular pronoun at the beginning of the verse (“she”) to the plural pronoun of the next clause (“they”). Like the JST, the NIV pluralizes the beginning of the verse, but using the plural noun “women” rather than the plural pronoun “they” (which stands for the plural noun “women”): “But women will be saved through childbearing.” AMP, CEV, ERV, GNT, ICB, PHILLIPS, NASB, NLV, NLT, OJB and TPT do the same.

    Paradigm Classification A-1 (English Paraphrase of KJV Text)

7. 1 Timothy 3:8

Likewise must the deacons must be grave, not doubletongued double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;

    This revision was influenced by the italics and is also a modernization. It is more common to place the verb after the subject rather than before, and modern usage requires a hyphen in “double-tongued.”

    Paradigm Classifications A-2 and A-3 (Suspicion of Italicized Text and Modernization)

8-9. 1 Timothy 3:15-16

But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God,. the The pillar and ground of the truth. And is, (and without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness:,) God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

    The JST moves the words “the pillar and ground of the truth” from the end of verse 15 to the beginning of verse 16. As part of verse 15 those words refer to the “house of God.” As part of verse16 those words refer to the mission of Jesus Christ as described in that verse.

    Paradigm Classification B (Midrashic Commentary)

10. 1 Timothy 4:2

Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared as with a hot iron;

    The Greek verb rendered “seared” in the KJV (kausteriazo) is actually the source of the English word “cauterize.” The JST adds “as” to change the highly vivid metaphor of having one’s conscience cauterized with a hot iron into a simile so as to be quite explicit that the metaphor is not to be taken literally.

    Paradigm Classification A-1 (English Paraphrase of KJV Text)

11. 1 Timothy 5:10

 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet clothes, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.

    The change from washing the saints’ feet to washing the saints’ clothes would appear to be a cultural translation. In the biblical culture of the ancient near east washing the feet of the traveler who had walked a long distance either barefoot or wearing only sandals was a common courtesy, as we see from a number of biblical stories. In modern America washing another’s feet is simply not done. When I was a missionary in the late 1970s in one area we lived in a member family’s basement, and the mother of the family made it a point to wash our clothes for us, which would be an actual example of this kind of service performed for others.

    Paradigm Classification A-3 (Modernization)

12-14. 1 Timothy 5:23-25

Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities. Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after. Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid. Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.

    Verse 23 is an offhand note of personal advice that seems out of place in the middle of Paul’s more substantive and spiritual instructions, and so the JST moves the sentence to the end of the passage to better reflect that it is simply a personal aside. As the Anchor Bible observes of verse 23: “This sentence is altogether mystifying. First, it seems to break the sequence in thought between 5:22 and 5:24. Second, its meaning is not at all clear. If Paul is simply giving personal medical advice, then nothing much further can be said.” See Luke Timothy Johnson, The First and Second Letters to Timothy, a New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New York: Doubleday, 2001), 281.

    Paradigm Classification B (Midrashic Commentary)

15-16. 1 Timothy 6:15-6:16

Which in his times he shall shew show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, to whom be honor and power everlasting; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom Whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to, unto whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen no man can approach, only he who hath the light and the hope of immortality dwelling in him.

    Apart from modernizing the archaic “shew” to “show” and “honour” to “honor,” this emendation is largely a reorganization of the text for theological purposes. The words “to whom be honour and power everlasting” are moved forward to more clearly refer to the “Potentate, the King of Kings and Lord of lords.” I suspect that the main impetus for this reorganization was (i) to avoid the statement “Who only hath immortality,” which would seem to suggest that humans themselves cannot gain immortality, and is replaced by language that explicitly states humans may gain immortality, and (ii) to qualify the assertion that no man can approach him by adding “only he who hath the light and the hope of immortality dwelling in him.”

    Paradigm Classification B (Midrashic Commentary)

Comments

  1. Love these Kevin.

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