“Faith Alone” in Romans 3:28 JST

For about a year when I was an undergrad at BYU in the early 80s my plan was to go on for a PhD and become an academic. My dad was a professor so it sort of seemed like the family business to me. Two circumstances changed my mind and like so many others sent me off to law school: first, we got pregnant, and second, it was a horrible recession, so I had to get a little more practical about that decision. I have no regrets, it was the right call.

Over the years I have occasionally dipped my toe in academia by publishing scholarly articles, mostly relating to Mormon scripture. I’ve published something like 25 such articles. Virtually all of these are easily available online. What I thought was the most significant exception was a piece with the captioned title, which was my contribution to Bountiful Harvest, the S. Kent Brown Festschrift, which appeared a decade ago in 2011. Just now I discovered that that chapter of the book is indeed available online. If you search on the captioned title you’ll find it. So I wanted to make this piece available to anyone who might be interested.

Basically, it turns out that both Martin Luther and Joseph Smith added the word “alone” to Romans 3:28. That is not a restoration of original text; the change is clearly translational. Why did they both make that same change to the verse? The answer is in the article.

I still remember how much fun I had researching and writing that piece. On Saturdays I would drive an hour each way to use the theology library at Northwestern University. Typically I would be the only person in those stacks. I felt like I was a monk unearthing the secrets of the past. This particular article is one of my personal favorites, and i hope you enjoy it.


  1. Great piece, Kevin. Thanks for drawing attention to it.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed reading it.

  3. Too Lazy To Read says:

    Faith alone. Alone is an obvious way to place additional emphasis on a core concept?

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