'Faith Alone' and Romans 3:28

If the word 'Alone' was added by Martin Luther to Romans 3:28 in his German bible, why was it added by Joseph Smith to the Inspired Version?

If you haven't read the paper 'Saved By...', click here to read it first.  It will provide more background discussion helpful for this discussion.

The text of Romans 3:28 reads the same from the King James and Inspired Versions of the bible:

Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith alone without the deeds of the law.

But what did the original Greek Translation say:

(Greek/English Interlinear (tr) NT) Romans 3:28 logizomeqa <3049> (5736) {WE RECKON} oun <3767> {THEREFORE} pistei <4102> {BY FAITH} dikaiousqai <1344> (5745) {TO BE JUSTIFIED} anqrwpon <444> {A MAN} cwriV <5565> {APART FROM} ergwn <2041> {WORKS} nomou <3551> {OF LAW.}
 

Question: One may ask 'If the Inspired Version corrected mistakes in the King James Bible, why didn't Joseph Smith remove the word 'alone' from Romans 3:28, if it was added by man after the text was originally written?'

Answer: The key to understanding this scripture has to do with the context of Romans chapters 3 and 4. In a nutshell, Paul is talking about how the Law of Moses (i.e. 'The Law') had ended with Jesus death on the cross. Jews of that day, to whom he was writing, were struggling with that concept, because after all, it had been their entire religious/social/emotional focus for 1400 years. Many believed that following the Law of Moses provided Jewish salvation--Paul's message was that it was following Jesus that brought salvation; the Law was just a type and shadow to point Jews to Jesus.

But the crux of the issue deals with the words 'faith' and 'justified.' 'Faith' in Christ means not just 'believing in his existence (i.e. like the toothfairy--a child either believes she exists or does not); but faith means that because one believes, one therefore follows and does the commandments of Jesus. So, if faith is seen as the entire focus on Jesus Christ (i.e. keeping his commandments, following his ways, etc.) then 'faith alone' is not an incorrect statement. It means that we realize that salvation and spiritual righteousness comes only through Him, and by no other way. In Paul's day, he was effecting a Jewish paradigm shift away from the Law of Moses and totally towards Christ.

But the problem in today's generic Christian society is that people have singled out the element of 'faith,' or one's belief, and have built an entire (false) religion due to mis-interpretation of scripture, to suggest that 'all a person is required to do is profess that they believe in Jesus, and they are saved.' Martin Luther's addition of the word faith 'alone' was trying to suggest that a Christian had only 'to believe' (like the toothfairy) in Jesus, and salvation was granted. This is not what the issue was in Jesus day, nor what Jesus taught. Christ, from his own mouth, gave many commandments regarding salvation--'believing' was just the first step.

The other problem,  is that people today misunderstand Paul's 2000 year old discussion regarding 'works of the Law.' This was reference to 'works of the Law of Moses,' which had been done away. This did not then, nor does it now, suggest that 'there is nothing one has to DO, just believe in Jesus.' Nothing could be further from the truth. One has to keep the commandments (i.e. these are the 'works') for which we will be judged. Judgment will determine this: if one says he or she came to Christ, then where is the 'fruit' that one followed the ways of Jesus and endured to the end? Any other definition of salvation/judgment sweeps too much scripture under the rug, leaving it wholly unanswered.

Further, Romans 4:16 follows by simply stating that a person is justified (i.e. made spiritually righteous) by both faith AND works.  This time he is not talking about the works of the Law of Moses; rather, those works required by the Law of Christ (repentance, baptism, enduring to the end, etc.)  Obviously, Paul never intended his message to be mis-interpreted that 'works don't matter.'  It is for our works that we will be judged.

One other point: Joseph Smith never implied that he had completely corrected every error in the Bible--many typos, spellings errors, etc., can still be found. Joseph Smith's Inspired Version seeks provide a clearer understanding of the intent of scripture as it was spoken in its day--it did not claim to be a word for word 'translation,' as was the Book of Mormon. I believe, however, that the intent of understanding, however, has been restored in the Inspired version, which is why it becomes an absolutely essential study tool.

 

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