New Testament

Week 2: Origin and translation of the New Testament

Week 1 | NT home | Week 3

13 September 2018


Notes and lesson materials will be posted after the class has been held.

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Lesson 2 notes

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Lesson 2 handout: New Testament terms

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Lesson 2 slideshow (on‑screen version)

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Lesson 2 slideshow (printable version)

Modern Bible Translations

Additional reading and links

  • Ben Spackman, “Why Bible Translations Differ: A Guide for the Perplexed,” Religious Educator 15, no. 1 (2014): 31–65. Published in BYU’s magazine for teachers of religion, Spackman looks at the challenges of accurately translating the Bible and how modern translations can help us understand difficult books and passages.
  • No Bible translation is perfect; translators are constantly seeking ways to better render ancient languages into English so that the translation is accurate, faithful to the intent of the original, and understandable to modern readers. The editors of the NET Bible responded to reader feedback by agreeing to change one word in their translation of Matthew 7:14 in the next edition.
  • Bill Mounce, “What is an “Accurate’ Translation?,”, last modified 14 September 2010. Bill Mounce was on the translation committee for the English Standard Version (ESV) and the team that revised the New International Version (NIV).
  • Philip L. Barlow, “Why the King James Version?: From the Common to the Official Bible of Mormonism,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 22, no. 2 (Summer 1989): 19–42.
  • Grant Hardy, “The King James Bible and the Future of Missionary Work,” By Common Consent, last modified 15 February 2011. Latter-day Saint university professor Grant Hardy examines the increasing difficulty LDS missionaries face bringing the King James Version of the Bible into English-speaking homes that are used to modern translations.
  • My notes to D&C lesson 15 on the Joseph Smith Translation go into greater depth on the history and meaning of the JST.
  • Bruce Terry, Professor of Biblical Studies at Ohio Valley University, maintains a web page with list of some of the more important textual variants between New Testament manuscripts: “A Student’s Guide to New Testament Textual Variants.”


Bart Ehrman, one of the leading scholars on the text of the New Testament, gave the following lecture at Loyola Marymount University on 24 January 2013. His topic was “What Kind of a Text is the King James Bible? Manuscripts, Translation, and the Legacy of the KJV.” (Skip to 9:33 to get to his remarks.)