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Question

 

Gramps,

Why are the Isaiah chapters word-for-word in 2 Nephi if Joseph Smith translated the Gold Plates which had not been tampered with, like the bible?

Kristen

 

Answer

 

Dear Kristen,

In your next reading of The Book of Mormon, I encourage you to slow down and take the time to read some of the headers and footnotes. For instance, once you get into the Isaiah chapters in earnest (after the initial primer in 2 Nephi 7-8) you find this in the footnote: “Comparison with the King James Bible in English shows that there are differences in more than half of the 433 verses of Isaiah quoted in the Book of Mormon, while about 200 verses have the same wording as KJV” (2 Nephi 12:2a).

If you’re looking for some adventure and insights in your scripture study, I encourage you to follow the directive in the header for the Isaiah chapters (also the Malachi and the Sermon at the Temple chapters) and “Compare Isaiah 2” or whatever the relevant chapter is. It’s quickest with a partner (unless your scripture buddy wants to discuss the differences – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), but it can be done alone as well. I’ve edited the chapters in my scriptures so I can quickly see the differences – coloring in the removed words or phrases and adding in the new words or phrases in the margins. Some are inconsequential with respect to meaning, but do show that Nephi was working with a different version than our King James translators; some magnify and intensify the meaning; others reverse the meaning completely; while others still change the persons referred to from plural to singular (and vice versa).

I recommend performing this comparison in the order of the chapters in The Book of Mormon. It will be straightforward enough until you get to 2nd Nephi 27 (compare Isaiah 29). By this point you’ll realize Nephi is working with something completely different. Either the version we have in our Bible has been heavily redacted, or Nephi has been inspired beyond any previously recorded prophet to comment on the text. I have yet to find a good system to capture the comparison between these two chapters in my scriptures. If any readers have found a good system for this study, I’d love to hear it in the comments, so others may benefit as well.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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