How We Got the Bible -History of the Bible – 2000 BC – 2012 AD

God breathed scripture Bible Jesus 2 Timothy 3In a world filled with liars, boasters, and false teaching, there is only one place to always find the absolute truth – The Word of God. His Word deals with all situations; He made everything and everyone, and addresses all things in His Holy Word.

The Bible came from Him through many different writers over many centuries. Inspired by His Spirit, it remains man’s only truth—the only truth that pierces and convicts even the hardest of hearts. It is a truth that encourages and restores even the most broken and destroyed lives.

The Bible brings us face to face with the Living God. He will transport us to heavenly realms as we abide in His Word. In our quest for faith we will find the answers to all our questions in God’s Word. In His Word God shows us His passionate desire to reconcile us unto Himself, through the sacrifice of Jesus. In Christ He shows us how He much he loves us, proving that He is faithful in bringing salvation to all that are lost. His Word is for all circumstances, for all times, and for all eternity. His Word is for me – His Word is for you.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

All Scripture is inspired by God, breathed out by God, and is useful for teaching, for showing and instructing people what is wrong in their lives, for correcting faults, and for teaching how to live right. By using the scriptures every person who serves God will be capable and competent, having all that is needed, and fully equipped to do every good work.

2000 BC

Aramaic first and then Hebrew is used to record the early events of the Bible. We first read of God’s plan for the Bible in Exodus where God instructs Moses to record events in a book. Many other men including kings and prophets recorded what we now know as the Old Testament. These men were inspired by God as they wrote on mostly leather scrolls to record the Holy Scriptures.

450 BC

According to Jewish history, many of the books of the Old Testament were collected and arranged by a priest, Ezra.

200-100 BC

Seventy Jewish scholars in Alexandria, Egypt write the Septuagint which is the Greek translation of the Old Testament. The books are arranged according to subject – historical, poetic and prophetic. Our current form of the Old Testament still reads this way today.

AD 1-33 AD

The advent of the New Testament begins with the birth of Jesus. Linking the Old Testament to the New Testament, Jesus proclaims that he did not come to destroy the Old Testament, but to fulfill it. Jesus states in the Gospel of Luke that He is fulfilling the prophecy of the Law of Moses, Psalms, and the prophets by His birth and life.

40-100 AD

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, James, Peter, Jude and Paul wrote what we now know as the New Testament. Jesus’ own followers wrote the Gospels and history of Christ, while Paul the Apostle wrote most of the letters to the early church. These writings form the “New Covenant”, written by the blood of Jesus, as mankind received redemption from sin by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. The New Testament was recorded on sheets of papyrus scrolls and then later formed into books of codex.

This New Covenant of Salvation was prophesied in Jeremiah 31 where God declared –

The days are coming, declares the Lord, I will make a new covenant – it will not be like the old covenant. I will put my word in your minds and write it on your hearts. I will be your God, and you will be my people. I will forgive your wickedness and will remember your sins no more.

This prophecy was fulfilled by Jesus as he was crucified, buried and rose from the dead, bringing salvation to all mankind. Praise to His holy name. \o/

300 -400 AD

The 27 Books of the New Testament were collected and confirmed by Athanasius – a pillar of the early church; Jerome – a scholar and theologian who spent 23 years translating the scriptures into Latin; Augustine – a Latin philosopher and theologian considered as one of the greatest Christian thinkers of all time; and, the Synods of Carthage – a collection of church councils in the 3rd and 4th centuries.

1382 AD

The first English Bible was called the Wycliffe Bible and was translated from Latin. At the time, the Bible was in Latin and read to the church in Latin by the priests. This did not set well with John Wycliffe who translated the Bible in opposition to the church that believed that no person should translate the Bible on their own initiative, without church approval. He ignored the church hierarchy because He believed that studying the Bible was more important than listening to it read by the clergy. He believed that in order for every Christian to have a close personal relationship with Christ, they needed to personally read and study His word. This was not received well by the church government of his time who had this Bible banned and burned. There is an early and later version of this Bible of which 250 copies survive. In 1408, the Church of England made it a crime to translate the Bible or read an English translated version without direct permission of the church.

The wondrous verse of John 3:16 is rendered in the later Wycliffe version as:

For God louede so the world, that he ȝaf his oon bigetun sone, that ech man that bileueth in him perische not, but haue euerlastynge lijf.john 3 16 God so loved the world

1516 AD

Erasmus, a scholar and priest, published a Greek and Latin New Testament that was believed to be more accurate than previous translations. His translation would be used by Tyndale for the first English New Testament, and was the basis for the translators of the Geneva Bible and King James Version of the English Bible. His translation was used by Martin Luther in the following years for the foundation of Protestantism and a call for separation from the Catholic Church.

1522 AD

The New Testament is translated into German by Martin Luther in 1522. He and his collaborators completed the translation of the Old Testament in 1534, when the whole Bible was published. His translation of the Bible into the German-made accessible and readable by the everyday person, causing a tremendous impact on the church and on German culture. It fostered the development of a standard version of the German language, and influenced the translation into the English version of the King James Bible.

Luther taught that salvation is not earned by good deeds, but received only as a free gift of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ as our redeemer from sin.

1525 AD

William Tyndale translates the New Testament from the Greek into English.  Tyndale’s translation was the first English Bible to draw directly from Hebrew and Greek texts, and the first English translation to take advantage of the printing press. The law at the time made it a crime which resulted in a death sentence for any unlicensed possession of Scripture in English. He moved to Germany and smuggled Bibles into England in sacks of flour. Upon a visit to England in 1535, he was arrested for heresy. In 1536, he was convicted and executed by strangulation, after which his body was burnt at the stake. The majority of what now comprises the English Bible is attributable directly to his translation. He is referred to as “The Father of the English Bible”. The same year of his death the first complete Bible printed in English is published by Coverdale. Two years after the execution of Tyndale, the king of England permits the first English Bible to be published with his permission, translated by John Rogers under the pen name “Thomas Matthew” – it is called the Matthew’s Bible.

1555 AD

Queen Mary bans protestant translations of the English Bible. Recanting the opinion of the previous king, John Rogers is burned at the stake for his publication of the Matthews Bible. During her reign, Queen Mary has hundreds of men, women, and children burned at the stake for possession of the Bible.

1560 AD

The Geneva Bible is printed by exiles from England living in Geneva, Switzerland. This version of the Bible is significant because, for the very first time, a mass-produced Bible was made available directly to the general public. The Bible came with study guides and cross-references, introductions to each book of the Bible which acted to summarize all the material that each book would cover. The Bible also included maps, tables, and indexes – all of which led to the reputation of the Geneva Bible as history’s very first study Bible.

1611 AD

In 1605, King James I commissioned 54 theologians and scholars to undertake a new Bible translation into English. In 1611, the new version was published as “The King James Version”. The first translation was printed as THE HOLY BIBLE. The version used today was revised in 1769.

1900 – 2000 AD

We now have many versions of the Bibles, in various translations, available. Since the Protestant Reformation, Bible translations for many languages have been made. The Bible continues to be translated to new languages, largely by Christian organizations such as Wycliffe Bible Translators, New Tribes Mission and the Bible society.

The worldwide status of Bible translation 2012 (source Wycliffe.org)

6,800+

…the number of languages spoken in the world today

Under 2,000

…the number of languages without any of the Bible, but with a possible need of a Bible translation to begin

About 209 million

…the number of people who speak the less than 2,000 languages where translation projects have not yet begun

Over 1,500

…the number of translation programs where Wycliffe and its partners are currently at work

1,275

…the number of language groups that have access to the New Testament in their heart language

518

…the number of language groups that have access to the entire Bible in the language they understand best

Over 7 billion

…the population of the world

Bible Scroll-001

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Categories: Bible, Bible Verses and Scriptures, Cross, God, Prophecy, Restoration, Salvation

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7 replies

  1. Amen and amen Darrell. Thank goodness for translations!! Blessings to you and yours.

  2. The Bible has a great history and continues to make new history everyday. Thanks.

  3. Thank you, thank you for this message. A lot of information that i and a lot of other people did not know.

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