Professor Wayment’s new study version/translation of the New Testament will be a central component of our family study of the New Testament this year. I adore the lyrical beauty of the language of the King James Version of the bible, but I’ve also spent 30 years of intensive study to master it! My daughter already finds the language far easier to grasp and understand. The book is also filled with fantastic historical/biographical notes to provide context for our family study. Highly recommended.
So grateful to have this guide as I read and study the New Testament with my family. My kids and I understand the stories and words. It needs to be in every family’ collection!!
If you desire to make your study of the New Testament productive, enlightening, and inspiring, you will want to have at one elbow a copy of your King James Version and at the other elbow a new scripture study tool, “The New Testament: A Translation for Latter-day Saints.” This translation, by Thomas A. Wayment, will soon take its rightful place among the very important translations of the New Testament, making it come alive in the English language of modern times.
[¶] In announcing “Come, Follow Me--For Individuals and Families,” the First Presidency said, “Living by and reading the word of God will build faith in Heavenly Father and His plan of salvation and in the Savior Jesus Christ and His Atonement” (First Presidency letter, June 29, 2018). Reading the word of God generally, and the King James Version of the New Testament specifically, can challenge us with words, phrases, and language we sometimes may struggle to comprehend.
[¶] This need no longer be. Under the heading “Ideas to Improve Your Personal Scripture Study,” the resource titled “Come, Follow Me--For Individuals and Families” encourages us to “use scripture study helps,” including “the footnotes, the Topical Guide, the Bible Dictionary, the Guide to the Scriptures (scriptures.lds.org), and other study helps.” Now placed at the forefront of my own collection of “other study helps” is Wayment's translation, with its very important features (original paragraphing, comprehensive cross-referencing, and, most importantly, accessible readability of and faithfulness to what Jesus actually said and did and to what his disciples acutally wrote and testified of).
[¶] This may well eventually prove to be the most important book to be published since the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. The “Note to Reader” at the beginning of the volume makes one feel the same as when reading what the King James translators wrote to their readers. Wayment has done in our day what the KJV translators did 400 years ago. They asked, “How shall men [and women] meditate in that which they cannot understand? How shall they understand that which is kept close in an unknown tongue?” (“The Translators to the Reader,” paragraph titled “Translation necessary.”) Wayment clearly wants to help increase scriptural literacy in our day. With this translation and its accompanying notes and references, he will accomplish that task not only for Latter-day Saints but for anyone seeking greater insight into the New Testament texts.
[¶] The original paragraphing he has restored to the text is so very important. The formatting, with notes below, is so much like the best Bibles published.
[¶] If this does not get the highest praise from those who should praise it endlessly, I lament the fate of the world. Which, of course, clearly is an over-the-top way of saying Wayment has accomplished a very, very important work. This assuredly is the most important book published in the LDS universe in decades, maybe in this dispensation apart from the three mentioned above.
[¶] The next prior modern-day translation of the New Testament that has garnered my admiration is J.B. Phillips' translation. Wayment's scholarly, accurate, and approachable translation will now easily take first place as my favorite. For all of us who love the King James, but who also appreciate its failings, Wayment's work no doubt will set in motion many important improvements in our understanding of the text both now and in the years and decades to come.
If I could recommend only one resource to help with the study of the New Testament this coming year, it would be Thomas Wayment’s study edition and new translation of the New Testament. With greater emphasis being placed on personal and family study, there is greater need for resources to help us navigate challenging passages in scripture. When last we studied the Doctrine & Covenants in Sunday School, we had the help of the new supplementary manual, Revelations in Context. Now Wayment’s The New Testament: A Translation for Latter-day Saints provides the much needed historical, cultural, and linguistic contexts that can help to make sense of these sacred ancient texts. In the English-speaking Church, we continue to use the 1769 Blayney revision of the 1611 King James Version of the Bible. This practice helps us to identify parallels between the Bible and restoration scripture that uses similar language, but it can also lead to confusion because of the KJV’s antiquated English and heavy reliance on Latin. For instance, the KJV renders 1 Peter 2:9 as follows: “But ye are … a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” Wayment, however, renders the passage in this way: “But you are … a people acquired so that you declare the virtues of the one who called you from darkness to his amazing light.” The KJV translators used the word “peculiar” from the Latin peculiaris meaning “personal, private, or one’s own.” Today, however, the word “peculiar” has come to mean strange or weird. But God is not calling his people weird, God is calling his people his own—his own private possession, or as Wayment renders it “a people acquired” for a purpose. For anyone who might worry that a new translation will obscure the parallels between the Bible and restoration scripture, don’t. Wayment has included in his detailed footnotes not only allusions to the Old Testament, but also the most comprehensive collection of parallels between the New Testament and restoration scripture (including the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price) ever published. The footnotes also include historical and cultural insights that help to clarify the text. For example, the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard (Matt 20:1–16) begins with a householder agreeing to pay his workers one silver coin per day. Wayment’s note on this passage provides important information to us that Matthew’s original readers already knew: “The wage for the worker who worked the entire day (= one denarius) would have been considered quite low in some regions and for certain types of work. Work contracts from North Africa indicate wages between three and eight denarii per day. Jesus’s audience would have anticipated a looming problem because of the low wage promised to the first worker.” Wayment makes it clear from the beginning, in his “Note to the Reader,” that he is not replacing the King James Translation: “The language of the King James Bible will always be part of the Latter-day Saint cultural fabric in English: it is woven into our hymns, our ordinances, and our scriptural canon. It has been one of the primary vehicles through which we encounter the word of God.” But I am convinced that Wayment’s translation will help English-reading Latter-day Saints to encounter the word of God in new and profound ways.
I'm very familiar with Latter-day Saint works on the New Testament, and this is now the first book I recommend to people. Dr. Wayment's fresh English translation makes the words of Jesus, Peter, and Paul more accessible than ever before, and the best New Testament scholarship is conveniently summarized on the bottom half of each page, giving instant access to the history, cultural background, and literary features that are helpful to fully understand what's going on in the scriptural text. Our family is using this to supplement our reading in the King James Version as we study the New Testament together in 2019, and it has already proved enormously helpful. Highly recommended.