The Versions of the Bible
Beginning with this lesson, this series consisting of 20 lessons on Biblical studies will guide you into a better understanding of the Bible. These lessons have been prepared for you to have an overview of the Bible as the word of God. Although there is an abundance of evidences which could be cited in support of the Bible’s claim to be the inspired word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17), this will not be considered in our Beginners’ Bible Course as it would be dealth with in future courses.
Originally the Bible was written in the Hebrew and Greek languages. The Old Testament was written mostly in the Hebrew language and the New Testament was written in the Greek language.
We will now study the history of the early translations of the Bible from the original Hebrew and Greek languages. The first English translation of the Bible was by John Wycliffe in 1382 but this translation was not widely distributed because it was translated before the invention of printing.
Many other English translations have been made since the Wycliffe’s Bible. The first printed Bible in the English Language was the Coverdale translation. The Bible was first written on large number of scrolls and they were written over a long period of time. The scrolls containing the Old Testament were written hundreds of years before the New Testament. By studying the Old Testament, the people learned about the coming of the Christian Age, which is described more fully in the New Testament.
In the 17th century, King James of England wanted a Bible that everyone could read. So he had some scholars (people who could read and write the Hebrew and Greek languages) to translate them into the English language. To translate means to change from one language to another. The scholars took the scrolls that were written in the Hebrew and Greek languages and translated them into the English language so more people could read them. This translation was completed in 1611 and this became the King James Version.
It has been a long time since King James had the Bible printed in English. Many of the words that were used at that time meant something entirely different today. For example, when the King James Version was printed: “let” meant “hinder”, “allow” meant “approve”, “communicate” meant “share”, “prevent” meant “precede”, “kine” meant “cow” etc.
In Genesis we read where Pharaoh (the Egyptian king) saw seven fat kine come up out of the river. Today we would say “cow”. For this reason, we have more modern translations (versions) that would say that the Pharaoh saw seven fat cows instead of seven fat kine.
Even though some words have changed since the completion of the King James Version in 1611, this translation is still more widely used than any other.
Today, we have many modern translations or versions of the Bible. Some translations might not be as accurate as others and we need to be careful in choosing the version we want. Most translations are good though and are easily understood. Many students find it helpful to employ several different translations in their study of the word of God.
In lesson 2, we will begin a systematic study of the Bible itself.
Fill in the blanks
The Bible was written on large numbers of ___________________
The New Testament was written in the __________ language.
The Old Testament was written in the __________ language
The King James translation was completed in the year __________.
The first English translation was by __________.
True Or False
The New Testament was written hundred of years before the Old Testament
The Old Testament was written on one scroll
The Coverdale translation was the first printed Bible in English.
John Wycliffe’s translation was made before the invention of printing.
To ‘Translate’ means to change from one language to another.
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