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The Spanish Language Mormon Bible

By Mel.

The Reina-Valera is a Spanish translation of the Bible, and is the accepted Spanish language version approved by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes erroneously called the “Mormon Church.”

Spanish Bible MormonFrom time to time, the  Church of Jesus Christ has used both the 1909 and the 1960 version of the Reina Valera Bible. There is also a 1995 version. All are currently in print. In 2009, the LDS Church published a Spanish-language edition of the Bible called Santa Biblia: Reina-Valera 2009, the text of the Bible is based on the 1909 version of the Reina-Valera translation. Changes to the text included modernization of grammar and vocabulary.

Similar to the En
glish-language edition, the Spanish-language edition includes LDS-oriented footnotes and chapter headings, as well as a topical index.   Selections from the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible are similarly included.  The church’s Spanish-language Bible project was supervised by general authorities Jay E. Jensen and Lynn A. Mickelsen.
Again, none of the LDS-specific supplements in the edition claim doctrinal authority: only the text of the Reina Valera Version (and the other Standard Works) is considered canonical by the LDS Church.
Prior to 2009, the Mormon Church purchased and resold Bibles in their church-owned bookstore, Deseret Book. Deseret Book purchased them from the Holman Bible Publishing Group in Nashville Tennessee. Members were also instructed that they could purchase the Reina Valera Bibles in local bookstores or through the church distribution centers (now combined with Deseret Book Company). Most church members prior to 2009 probably used the 1960 version at some point and became quite comfortable with it. However, with the inclusion of the LDS oriented “extras,” they are now favoring the 1909 Reina-Valera Bible.

History of the Reina-Valera Bible
The Reina Valera Bible was first published in 1569 in Basel, Switzerland and nicknamed the “Biblia del Oso” (in English: Bible of the Bear).  It was not the first complete Bible in Spanish; several others, most notably the Alfonsina Bible, were published in previous centuries. Its principal translator was Casiodoro de Reina, an independent Lutheran theologian,  but a manuscript found at the Bodleian Library gives further evidence of the fact that the Spanish Bible was a community project.  This translation was based on the Hebrew Masoretic Text (Bomberg’s Edition, 1525) and the Greek Textus Receptus (Stephanus’ Edition, 1550).

Mormon Scriptures SpanishAs secondary sources Reina was aided by the Ferrara Bible for the Old Testament and the Latin Edition of Santes Pagnino throughout. For the New Testament he had great aid from the translations of Francisco de Enzinas and Juan Pérez de Pineda. The 1569 version included the deuterocanonical books in the Old Testament.

This Bible, is considered to be the equivalent of the English language King James Version of the Bible as deemed by Protestants who speak Spanish. It has undergone numerous revisions, the first of which took place in 1602 under the editorial eye of Cipriano de Valera. This edition was printed in Amsterdam. The 1602 revision moved the deutercannonical books to a section between the Old and New Testaments called the Apocrypha.
Next was the revision of 1862, followed by other important revisions in 1909, 1960 and 1995. Modern editions often omit the Apocrypha. The 1909 and 1960 editions are essentially the equivalent of the English King James Version (KJV) in English, only for the Spanish-speaking world. The 1960 edition is the equivalent of the English Revised Standard Version. (Wikipedia.)

Since the 1960 revision was released, there has been much debate among conservative Christian groups which translation of the Reina-Valera Bible is most acceptable However; the 1960 revision became the common Bible of many millions of Spanish-speaking Christians around the world, surpassing the 1909 in its reception. Almost all Spanish speaking Fundamentalists use it, despite numerous attempts to revise and refine it.

The LDS Edition of the Reina Valera Bible

The Church of Jesus Christ has used the 1909 Edition of the Reina-Valera Bible.  Preparing the cross-referenced edition took six years of painstaking work.   The text underwent a very conservative revision, focusing on modernizing some of the outdated grammar and vocabulary that had shifted in meaning and acceptability.

To re-emphasize, the Church of Jesus Christ has not added, nor taken away from the originally translated text, but has added headings, footnotes (some referring to the Joseph Smith Translation), maps, and appendices.

The Church of Jesus Christ makes this edition available online, with audio.

Mel Borup Chandler MormonMel Borup Chandler is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormon”). He currently works in real estate investment and property management with his wife Sandra.


Additional Resources:

The Book of Mormon

Jesus Christ in Mormonism

Basic Beliefs and Real Mormons

The Meaning of Life

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