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Use of the New Revised Standard Version

The NRSV is based on dependable scholarship and a translation approach consistent with Community of Christ’s official statement on scripture.

In the church’s formal statement on scripture, Affirmation 6 reads:

Faith, experience, tradition, and scholarship each have something to contribute to our understanding of scripture. In wrestling to hear and respond to the witness of scripture, the church must value the light that each of these sources may offer.

Community of Christ uses the most responsible biblical scholarship available in the public use and interpretation of scripture. Earlier translations like the King James Version (KJV, published in 1611) were valuable in their time but had limited Greek and Hebrew manuscripts to reference. The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV, published in 1989) is more reliable because it is based on thousands of manuscripts discovered since the 17th century as well as improved knowledge of the original languages. The Inspired Version (IV, published in 1867) is not a translation from the original languages. It is the KJV with about 5 percent changed or added by Joseph Smith, representing his insights and experiences. While the IV helps us better understand Smith’s developing theology, it does not get us closer to the original texts of the Bible, and it has many limitations of the KJV on which it is based.

Responsible interpretation of the Bible requires careful study of the best current translations. The scholarship reflected in the NRSV helps readers more closely understand the contexts and intents of the original authors.

The KJV was produced so English churches of the early 17th century would have a Bible for public worship that was clear, understandable, and elegant. This need remains. Because language changes over time, it is important to produce a modern translation that is easy for contemporary speakers to understand. This was one goal that motivated NRSV translators.

Consulting various translations can be helpful in Bible study and sermon preparation. However, for public ministry it is important to work with a translation consistent with Community of Christ’s understanding of what scripture is and how it should be used. The NRSV is based on dependable scholarship and a translation approach consistent with Community of Christ’s official statement on scripture. It is a trustworthy version of the Bible for public worship and study. Community of Christ’s Sermon & Class Helps and Worship Resources are based on the NRSV and follow the scripture text cycle from the Revised Common Lectionary. Using the NRSV gives us access, then, to many excellent lectionary-based resources like Feasting on the Word, Seasons of the Spirit, and The New Interpreter’s Bible.

Members of Community of Christ are encouraged to use the most up-to-date translations of the Bible available. For example, English-language versions such as the New Revised Standard Version provide students of the Bible with accurate translations based on the best current knowledge of ancient languages in which the Bible was written.

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