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JOHN - Many sermons given by Joseph Smith he quotes the German Bible indicating that it was more correct than the King James version. If this is the case, why do we use the
King James version rather than the German Bible?
JOEL - I suppose because most LDS members don't understand German :-)
Joseph Smith said:
"the Germans are an exalted people. the old German translators are the most correct; most honest of any of the translators, and therefore I get testimony to bear me out in the revelations that I have preached for the last 14 years—the old German, Latin, Greek and Hebrew translations all say it is true, they cannot be impeached, and therefore I am in good company." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith.)
I served a mission Austria so I can agree with Joseph Smith that Luther's German translation of the New Testament could be more accurate.
So I guess the question is, why don't we translate the German Bible into English and use that?
Joseph Smith also said:
"I have an old edition of the New Testament in the Latin, Hebrew, German and Greek languages. I have been reading the German, and find it to be the most [nearly] correct translation, and to correspond nearest to the revelations which God has given to me for the last fourteen years." (DHC), Vol. VI, p. 364)
Notice that he said that the German translation corresponds "nearest" to the revelations he received from God. So it would seem to me that because we have the inspired version of the Bible which Joseph Smith wrote through revelation from God, and therefore probably more correct than the German version, and available to us in our LDS scriptures, that we don't need the German translation. The King James version is sufficient for our needs. It gives us and our missionaries something to use that most other Christians can relate to.
One interesting thing Joseph Smith said about a verse in Matt.24: 14 which in the King James version says:
"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations;
Reading it from an from an Ancient German Bible Text Joseph said:
"The Kingdom must preached be to a witness over all Nation People." "preached to a man who should be a witness to all people, is the meaning of the text."
(Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible)
Supposedly referring to himself who would be that man who would witness to the world.