I have known for years that Campbell inserted "immersion" for baptism in his New Testament translation. I pretty much left it at that. Today his use of the world "Reform" really got my attention. I thought I'd investigate this further.
Please note the following:
Acts 2:38 from Alexander Campbell’s translation:
• And Peter said to them, Reform, and be each of you immersed in the name of Jesus Christ, in order to the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:38 Peter4074 said to them, "Repent3340, and each1538 of you be baptized907 in the name3686 of Jesus2424 Christ5547 for the forgiveness859 of your sins266; and you will receive2983 the gift1431 of the Holy40 Spirit4151. NASB
Acts 2:38 ThenG1161 PeterG4074 saidG5346 untoG4314 them,G846 Repent,G3340 andG2532 be baptizedG907 every oneG1538 of youG5216 inG1909 theG3588 nameG3686 of JesusG2424 ChristG5547 forG1519 the remissionG859 of sins,G266 andG2532 ye shall receiveG2983 theG3588 giftG1431 of theG3588 HolyG40 Ghost.G4151 KJV
Focus on the word Repent. It is Strong’s Word Number G3340.
1) to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent
2) to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins
Also used in these passages (NASB):
Matt 3:2 "Repent3340, for the kingdom932 of heaven3772 is at hand1448."
Matt 4:17 From that time5119 Jesus2424 began757 to preach2784 and say3004, "Repent3340, for the kingdom932 of heaven3772 is at hand1448."
Mark 1:15 and saying3004, "The time2540 is fulfilled4137, and the kingdom932 of God2316 is at hand1448; repent3340 and believe4100 in the gospel2098."
Mark 6:12 They went1831 out and preached2784 that men should repent3340.
Mark 6:13 And they were casting1544b out many4183 demons1140 and were anointing218b with oil1637 many4183 sick732 people732 and healing2323 them.
Luke 13:2 And Jesus said3004 to them, "Do you suppose1380 that these3778 Galileans1057 were greater sinners268 than3844 all3956 other Galileans1057 because3754 they suffered3958 this3778 fate?
Luke 13:3 "I tell3004 you, no3780, but unless1437, 3361 you repent3340, you will all3956 likewise3668 perish622.
Luke 13:4 "Or2228 do you suppose1380 that those1565 eighteen1178a on whom3739 the tower4444 in Siloam4611 fell4098 and killed615 them were worse culprits3781 than3844 all3956 the men444 who live2730 in Jerusalem2419?
Luke 13:5 "I tell3004 you, no3780, but unless1437, 3361 you repent3340, you will all3956 likewise5615 perish622."
Luke 16:29 "But Abraham11 *said3004, 'They have2192 Moses3475 and the Prophets4396; let them hear191 them.'
Luke 16:30 "But he said3004, 'No3780, father3962 Abraham11, but if1437 someone5100 goes4198 to them from the dead3498, they will repent3340!'
Luke 16:31 "But he said3004 to him, 'If1487 they do not listen191 to Moses3475 and the Prophets4396, they will not be persuaded3982 even3761 if1437 someone5100 rises450 from the dead3498.'"
Acts 3:18 "But the things which3739 God2316 announced4293 beforehand4293 by the mouth4750 of all3956 the prophets4396, that His Christ5547 would suffer3958, He has thus3779 fulfilled4137.
Acts 3:19 "Therefore3767 repent3340 and return1994, so1519 that your sins266 may be wiped1813 away1813, in order3704 that times2540 of refreshing403 may come2064 from the presence4383 of the Lord2962;
Acts 3:20 and that He may send649 Jesus2424, the Christ5547 appointed4400 for you,
Acts 3:21 whom3739 heaven3772 must1163 receive1209 until891 the period5550 of restoration605 of all3956 things3956 about which3739 God2316 spoke2980 by the mouth4750 of His holy40 prophets4396 from ancient165 time165.
Acts 3:22 "Moses3475 said3004, 'THE LORD2962 GOD2316 WILL RAISE450 UP FOR YOU A PROPHET4396 LIKE5613 ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN80; TO HIM YOU SHALL GIVE191 HEED191 to everything3956 He says2980 to you.
Rev 2:4 'But I have2192 this against2596 you, that you have left863 your first4413 love26.
Rev 2:5 'Therefore3767 remember3421 from where4159 you have fallen4098, and repent3340 and do4160 the deeds2041 you did at first4413; or1161 else1490b I am coming2064 to you and will remove2795 your lampstand3087 out of its place5117--unless1437, 3361 you repent3340.
Rev 2:6 'Yet235 this3778 you do have2192, that you hate3404 the deeds2041 of the Nicolaitans3531, which3739 I also2532 hate3404.
Rev 2:7 'He who has2192 an ear3775, let him hear191 what5101 the Spirit4151 says3004 to the churches1577. To him who overcomes3528, I will grant1325 to eat2068 of the tree3586 of life2222 which3739 is in the Paradise3857 of God2316.'
Rev 3:18 I advise4823 you to buy59 from Me gold5553 refined4448 by fire4442 so2443 that you may become4147 rich4147, and white3022 garments2440 so2443 that you may clothe4016 yourself, and that the shame152 of your nakedness1132 will not be revealed5319; and eye2854 salve2854 to anoint1472 your eyes3788 so2443 that you may see991.
Rev 3:19 'Those3745 whom3745 I love5368, I reprove1651 and discipline3811; therefore3767 be zealous2205a and repent3340.
Rev 3:20 'Behold2400, I stand2476 at the door2374 and knock2925; if1437 anyone5100 hears191 My voice5456 and opens455 the door2374, I will come1525 in to him and will dine1172 with him, and he with Me.
Rev 3:21 'He who overcomes3528, I will grant1325 to him to sit2523 down2523 with Me on My throne2362, as I also2532 overcame3528 and sat2523 down2523 with My Father3962 on His throne2362.
Rev 3:22 'He who has2192 an ear3775, let him hear191 what5101 the Spirit4151 says3004 to the churches1577.'"
I apologize for how this looks but I left all of the Strong's Word Numbers here and it's not too pretty. Anyone who is interested can check me out on this and use the on-line The Living Oracles, but not only did Campbell change baptism to immersion, he changed every repent to reform. What was his motivation? Do the words have the same meaning, especially when reading these passages in context?
Reform indicates some degree of change. Repent indicates a complete turn-around, a new, not overhauled, thought process. In the context of Acts 2:38 Peter was admonishing the Jews to turn from Moses and the Law and turn to Christ the one whom they, the Jews, had wanted crucified, and His new program, not a re-fabricated program.