Thursday, July 9, 2009


Continuing down a ways in Hebrews 6, the author (maybe Paul, maybe not) has a striking piece of doctrine: no repentance after baptism for those who have "fallen away." The text does not specify what acts constitute this type of apostasy.

It's a little hard to unpack, so I recommend a translation other than the King James Version. I'd post the verses here, but I want to keep these posts short and readable.

For a person in my position, once full of belief, now full of unbelief, it strikes a chord. The God of this author wouldn't let me back in the fold even if I so desired.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

JST: Hebrews 6

Joseph Smith attempted a translation of the Bible. He, like many interpreters before him, sought to iron out the parts that didn't quite make sense.

So in Hebrews 6:1, he changed "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection..." to read "Therefore not leaving the principles of Christ, let us go on unto perfection..."

Now, I'm not 100% sure what the author intended to say with this verse (it seems to me he was saying "let's not talk about the stuff we already know about Jesus, the basic stuff"), but it seems pretty clear Joseph slapping the word "not" in there as a means to fix what he perceived was a contradiction raises more issues than it fixes, and shows to me he didn't know exactly what the verse was saying, either.

One issue it raises was how inspired Joseph was when he did his translations. If he was wrong or misguided in translating the Letter to the Hebrews, it opens up questions regarding his other translations.

The Mormon footnote in the King James Version doesn't seem to agree with the Prophet, either.


Mormons regard the Old Testament figure Melchizedek with great admiration. Their highest priesthood bears his name. They teach that his name means "king of righteousness," something they get from the New Testament's Letter to the Hebrews.

My HarperCollins Bible tells me the name actually means "Zedek [a Canaanite deity] is my king," though they say the king of righteousness label is understandable, just technically incorrect.