Question: How is the Joseph Smith Translation best understood?

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Question: How is the Joseph Smith Translation best understood?

The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible is probably better understood similarly to a Jewish Targum

Much of the JST is probably better understood similar to the way we understand a Jewish Targum where parts of the text are restorative, parts are commentary, and other parts contain harmonization of doctrinal concepts.

The JST for the opening of the Gospel of John is as follows:

1 In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God.

2 The same was in the beginning with God.

3 All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made which was made.

It seems more likely that the point of this revision is to avoid directly equating the Word (Greek: Logos) with Jesus Christ. This equation was based on Greek philosophical usage, in which the concept of a Logos as an intermediary agency between God and man was first articulated. So equating the Logos with the gospel and not Jesus directly seems to be a way of rejecting too great a reliance on Greek philosophy in articulating the premortal nature of Jesus Christ. This is likely not a return to some primitive purity of the text, but a helpful explanation or commentary provided by the Lord through Joseph Smith to prevent us from going too far down a theological "blind alley."