The Blue Mountain Shepherd

~Then he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Matthew 4:19)~

                                       About the Bible

Where did the Bible Come From?

 The Bible came to exist because of the writings of prophets and followers of Jesus.  It serves primarily as God's word on how to follow him and live each day.  Secondly, it serves as a history of how our world came to be.  Let's discuss the history of the original texts of the Bible.

Terms to Remember:

  • Autographs: The original texts were written either by the author's hand or by a scribe under their personal supervision.
  • Manuscripts: Until Gutenberg first printed the Latin Bible in 1456, all Bibles were hand copied onto papyrus, parchment, and paper.
  • Translations: When the Bible is translated into a different language it is usually translated from the original Hebrew and Greek.  However some translations in the past were derived from an earlier translation.  For example, the first English translation by John Wycliffe in 1380 was prepared from the Latin Vulgate.

Old Testament

The Bible comes from two main sources - Old and New Testaments - written in different languages.  The Old Testament was written primarily in Hebrew, with some books written in Aramaic.  The following are brief snap shots of the beginning and ending of the Old Testament and the reasons for the first two translations of the Old Testament from Hebrew into Aramaic and Greek

  • 1875 B.C. Abraham was called by God to the land of Canaan.
  • 1450 B.C. The exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt.

Autographs

There are no known autographs of any books of the Old Testament.  Below is a list of the languages in which the Old Testament books were written.

  • 1450-1400 B.C. The traditional date for Moses' writing of Genesis-Deuteronomy written in Hebrew.
  • 586 B.C. Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar.  The Jews were taken into captivity to Babylon.  They remained in Babylon under the Medo-Persian Empire and there began to speak Aramaic.
  • 555-545 B.C. The Book of Daniel, chapters 2:4 to 7:28 were written in Aramaic.
  • 425 B.C. Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, was written in Hebrew.
  • 400 B.C. Ezra, chapters. 4:8 to 6:18; and 7:12-26 were written in Aramaic.

Manuscripts

The following is a list of the oldest Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament that are still in existence.

  • The Dead Sea Scrolls: date from 200 B.C. - 70 A.D. and contain the entire book of Isaiah and portions of every other Old Testament book but Esther.
  • Geniza Fragments: portions the Old Testament in Hebrew and Aramaic, discovered in 1947 in an old synagogue in Cairo, Egypt, which date from about 400 A.D.
  • Ben Asher Manuscripts: five or six generations of this family made copies of the Old Testament using the Masoretic Hebrew text, from 700-950 A.D.  The following are examples of the Hebrew Masoretic text-type.
    • Aleppo Codex: contains the complete Old Testament and is dated around 950 A.D.  Unfortunately over one quarter of this Codex was destroyed in anti-Jewish riots in 1947.
    • Codex Leningradensis: The complete Old Testament in Hebrew copied by the last member of the Ben Asher family in A.D. 1008.

The New Testament

Autographs

45- 95 A.D. The New Testament was written in Greek.  The Pauline Epistles, the Gospel of Mark, the Gospel of Luke, and the book of Acts are all dated from 45-63 A.D.  The Gospel of John and the Revelation may have been written as late as 95 A.D.

Manuscripts

There are over 5,600 early Greek Manuscripts of the New Testament that are still in existence.  The oldest manuscripts were written on papyrus and the later manuscripts were written on leather called parchment.

  • 125 A.D. The New Testament manuscript which dates most closely to the original autograph was copied around 125 A.D, within 35 years of the original.  It is designated "p 52" and contains a small portion of John 18.  (The "p" stands for papyrus.)
  • 200 A.D. Bodmer p 66 a papyrus manuscript which contains a large part of the Gospel of John.
  • 200 A.D. Chester Beatty Biblical papyrus p 46 contains the Pauline Epistles and Hebrews.
  • 225 A.D. Bodmer Papyrus p 75 contains the Gospels of Luke and John.
  • 250-300 A.D. Chester Beatty Biblical papyrus p 45 contains portions of the four Gospels and Acts.
  • 350 A.D. Codex Sinaiticus contains the entire New Testament and almost the entire Old Testament in Greek.  It was discovered by a German scholar Tisendorf in 1856 at an Orthodox monastery at Mt. Sinai.
  • 350 A.D. Codex Vaticanus: {B} is an almost complete New Testament.  It was cataloged as being in the Vatican Library since 1475.

Translations

Early translations of the New Testament can give important insight into the underlying Greek manuscripts from which they were translated.

  • 180 A.D. Early translations of the New Testament from Greek into Latin, Syriac, and Coptic versions began about 180 A.D.
  • 195 A.D. The name of the first translation of the Old and New Testaments into Latin was termed Old Latin, both Testaments having been translated from the Greek.  Parts of the Old Latin were found in quotes by the church father Tertullian, who lived around 160-220 A.D. in north Africa and wrote treatises on theology.
  • 300 A.D. The Old Syriac was a translation of the New Testament from the Greek into Syriac.
  • 300 A.D. The Coptic Versions: Coptic was spoken in four dialects in Egypt.  The Bible was translated into each of these four dialects.
  • 380 A.D. The Latin Vulgate was translated by St. Jerome.  He translated into Latin the Old Testament from the Hebrew and the New Testament from Greek.  The Latin Vulgate became the Bible of the Western Church until the Protestant Reformation in the 1500's.  It continues to be the authoritative translation of the Roman Catholic Church to this day.  The Protestant Reformation saw an increase in translations of the Bible into the common languages of the people.
  • Other early translations of the Bible were in Armenian, Georgian, and Ethiopic, Slavic, and Gothic.
  • 1380 A.D. The first English translation of the Bible was by John Wycliffe.  He translated the Bible into English from the Latin Vulgate.  This was a translation from a translation and not a translation from the original Hebrew and Greek.  Wycliffe was forced to translate from the Latin Vulgate because he did not know Hebrew or Greek.

The Advent of Printing

Printing greatly aided the transmission of the biblical texts.

  • 1456 A.D. Gutenberg produced the first printed Bible in Latin.  Printing revolutionized the way books were made.  From now on books could be published in great numbers and at a lower cost.
  • 1514 A.D. The Greek New Testament was printed for the first time by Erasmus.  He based his Greek New Testament from only five Greek manuscripts, the oldest of which dated only as far back as the twelfth century.  With minor revisions, Erasmus' Greek New Testament came to be known as the Textus Receptus or the "received texts."
  • 1522 A. D. Polyglot Bible was published.  The Old Testament was in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin and the New Testament in Latin and Greek.  Erasmus used the Polyglot to revise later editions of his New Testament.  Tyndale made use of the Polyglot in his translation on the Old Testament into English which he did not complete because he was martyred in 1534.
  • 1611 A.D. The King James Version into English from the original Hebrew and Greek.  The King James translators of the New Testament used the Textus Receptus as the basis for their translations.
  • 1968 A.D. The United Bible Societies 4th Edition of the Greek New Testament.  This Greek New Testament made use of the oldest Greek manuscripts which date from 175 A.D.  This was the Greek New Testament text from which the NASV and the NIV were translated.
  • 1971 A.D. The New American Standard Version (NASV) was published.  It makes use of the wealth of much older Hebrew and Greek manuscripts now available that weren't available at the time of the translation of the KJV.  Its wording and sentence structure closely follow the Greek in more of a word for word style.
  • 1983 A.D. The New International Version (NIV) was published.  It also made use of the oldest manuscript evidence.  It is more of a "thought-for-thought" translation and reads more easily than the NASV.
    • As an example of the contrast between word-for-word and thought-for-thought translations, notice below the translation of the Greek word "hagios-holy" 
      NASV Hebrews 9:25. "...the high priest enters the holy place
      year by year with blood not his own."
      NIV Hebrews 9:25. "...the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own."
    • The NIV supplies "understood" information about the Day of Atonement, namely that the high priest's duties took place in the compartment of the temple known specifically as the Most Holy Place.  Note that the NASV simply says "holy place" reflecting the more literal translation of "hagios."

* (source : http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/bibleorigin.html)*

The King James Version

         The King James Version of the Bible is probably the closest copy of the original scrolls that we have readily availible to us.  The King James Bible was a task given to over 50 scholors by King James himself.  54 were originally assigned to this project but about 47 of them were active throughout the whole work.  This project went on for over seven years and was completed in the year 1611.  The qualifications of these scholors were very high.  For example, look at John Bois (who kept the most complete account of the work of the scholars).  He was an expert in all forms of Greek and had compiled one of the largest Greek libraries in history.  He led the translations of the New Testament and later became Dean of Canterbury in 1619.  Lancelot Andrews led the translations of the Old Testament.  He was the chaplain to Queen Elizabeth and was fluent in fifteen modern languages (such as Hebrew, Greek, and the cognate Biblical languages).  All of these men were more than qualified for the task.  The King James version has lasted the test of time and still continues today as the most widely recognized version of the Bible all over the world.

* Source:  ("A Creationist's Defense of the King James Bible" by Dr. Henry Morris, 1996.  Pg. 3-6)*

The New International Version vs. King James Version

   Matthew 9:13  - In NIV:  the words "to repentance" are omitted, making the verse say exactly opposite of what it was intended.  In KJV - "For I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

   Matthew 18:11 - In NIV:  verse is completely omitted (very important verse in my opinion).  In KJV- "For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost."

   Matthew 19:17 -  In NIV:  changed to "Why do you ask me about what is good?"  In the KJV he is not asking about what is good, he is calling Him good.  Jesus used this to make a point "there is none good but one, that is, God"....

   Matthew 25:13 -  In NIV:  The words "wherein the son of man cometh" are omitted from the verse.  In KJV - "Ye know neither the hour wherein the Son of man cometh".

   Mark 10:24 - In NIV:  the words "for them that trust in riches" is omitted, making the verse say something different from the original.  In KJV- "how hard it is for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!"

   Luke 2:33 -  In NIV:  Joseph is omitted from being Jesus's Dad.  In KJV - "and Joseph and his mother....."

   Luke 4:4 - In NIV:  "but by every word of God" is omitted.  In KJV - "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God."

   Luke 4:8 - In NIV:  verse is completely omitted. In KJV - "Get thee behind me, Satan" (I don't know about you, but I have a serious problem with a Bible that is too ashamed to admit or wants to mislead you about Jesus comanding Satan to leave)

   John 6:47 -  In NIV:  "on me" is omitted.  In KJV - "He that believeth on me hath everlasting life".

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