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This article in it’s entirety can be found at http://www.allchoralworks.com/the-history-of-the-bible.html

  • The bible is a compilation of writings used in order to establish theology.  Examples of bibles include but are not limited to the Islam, Muslim, Jewish, and Christian religions.
  • The Christian bible comprises of the following. (New King James Version or KNJV)
    1. Old Testament: In the NKJV there are 39 books starting with Moses at about 1491BC to the time of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament is broken into 3 parts
      1. History: there are 17 historical books overall.
      2. Poetic: The 5 Poetic books of the bible are used many times for inspiration and praise.
      3. Prophetical:17 books primarily consisting of prophesies of the future and the events of the prophets of the Old Testament.
    2. New Testament: In the NKJV there are 27 books overall starting with the Gospels and ending with Revelations. The New Testament is also broken into 3 parts:
      1. History:The first 5 books known as the Gospel(Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John) and the Book of Acts.
      2. The Epistles: or letters. 21 books overall (14 written by Apostle Paul)
      3. Prophetical:The Revelation of Jesus Christ as written by Apostle John is the only prophetical book in the New Testament.
    3. Apocrypha: Comes from the Greek word meaning: those having been hidden away. These books carry questionable value because the authenticity of the book cannot be verified, or as determined by some religions, it goes against the belief of a religion.
The Timeline of a bible Pre-Reformation 50AD to 1516AD
  • The original writings were not always written as the events occurred:
    1. Moses wrote the first 5 books. Based on Exodus 24, we know that at least one of the books came directly from God of the bible compiling approximately 2500 years of history before him. Most Christians believe that all of the books were told by God to Moses so that he could account for the past. It is believed that Moses wrote many more books, but only the Pentateuch was preserved. In 1849 2 books were introduced in Germany claiming to be the 6th and the 7th book of Moses. These books were called the book of magic and healings. These books were introduced to the public in Latin. Moses wrote and spoke in Hebrew. Latin was used in reference to religious writings from the 5th century AD to approximately the 16th century AD. Since there is a lot of discrepancy and the inability to verify the source through original writings, many Christians question the authenticity.
    2. The writings of the activities of the Lord Jesus (the first 4 books of the New Testament often called the Gospel were not written until 20-50 years after the Death of the Lord Jesus. Historians have disputed actual dates of these writings since the 4th century. There is no conclusive evidence to show an exact date.
  • Prior to the 4th century, there was no combined source of all of the writings. These writings were kept over many generations through scrolls and just as with the English language, the Hebrew language evolved as well, thus creating the need for translation.
  • Christians were heavily persecuted for their beliefs until Constantine I (called Constantine the Great,  because he was the First Christian ruler) became ruler over the Roman Empire about 305 AD. In 311 AD Constantine passed what is called the Edict of Milan, which removed penalties for professing Christianity, thus making Christianity legal.
  • In the summer of 325AD, the First Council of Nicaea was convened by Constantine I. This meeting of approximately 318 bishops and 1800 religious persons (priests and deacons) was the first meeting of Christians since the Apostles met in Jerusalem. Though the topic of combining literature (the bible), was never brought up at this meeting, it set a precedence for future meetings. It is important to note that a voting process was established at this meeting and that Constantine I did not carry a vote, only the bishops.  Some scholars believe he persuaded a lot of the votes at this meeting but this voting process was also used in future meetings where Constantine I had already passed away.
  • In 331, Constantine I commissioned Eusebius ( a religious advisor and friend) to combine approximately 50 to 60 books into a bible and deliver fifty copies for the Church of Constantinople. This is the first known attempt to combine theology into one source. It is believed that Constantine I picked the books that he wanted to include and excluded some of the books that may have had some Pagan writings in them. He was against Pagan worship though it was the belief of the majority of the people at that time.
  • Over 4 other Council meetings in different parts of the world a combination of books were comprised to make the bible consisting of 73 books. These books were chosen based on:
    1. Authenticity – the ability to verify the author.
    2. Doctrine – since there was so much persecution of the Christians, a lot of outside influence or writings were made in attempt to destroy Christianity. Many writings were tampered with or possibly destroyed.
    3. The 4 meetings were the The Council of Laodecia in 360 AD (council of mid eastern bishops), The Council of Rome in 382 AD (council of the Roman Bishops), The Council of Hippo in 393 AD (council of the African Bishops), The Council of Carthage (also in Africa) of 397.
  • The Council of Carthage met in 419 AD to accept The Vulgate translation of the bible. (though it is believed the Vulgate was translated up to 50 years before the meeting) Latin was believed at the time to be the most holy of all the languages due to its history and its discipline. Unlike other languages that change over time, the Latin language remained constant. These Bishops felt in order to preserve the writings and due to the classiness of the language that the bible should be written in Latin. Within the next 100 years, it was viewed as a sin to have anything but The Vulgate (Latin translation) to be used. This version which was only understood by very few, was used for over 1000 years throughout the dark ages. The author of the Vulgate (Father Jerome) had a question of the authenticity of some of the books. Some of these questions came from The Jewish Council of  Jamnia (70 AD) in which these 7 books were removed from the approved reading material of the Hebrew Canon  and scrolls (their version of the bible). Some scholars believe that this meeting happened to refute Christianity therefore these 7 books were removed from the Hebrew canon. These 7 books later became part of the optional Apocrypha in the King James Version.
  • Dark ages – from 476 AD to 1000 AD (and to some scholars the dark ages lasted to 1300 AD). A Monk would take approximately 10 -12 months to copy one bible. The cost of one bible was equivalent to $200,000 in todays money. Obviously, not every household had a bible. Most churches lacked the funds for a bible as well. Only the Rulers, Cardinals (high bishops), the extremely rich, and major universities had a copy of the bible. Since The Vulgate Bible was written in Latin, most of those who owned a bible could not read it much less understand its entire meaning.
  • John Wycliffe was an educated Doctor of Divinity, minister, and professor from Oxford. In 1382 AD he became the first person to translate a bible in almost 1000 years. This was a crime to the church of the time. His belief (about 200 years before the reformation) was that a bible should be available to every Christian. He had no intention at first of going against the church, but over time he had undergone so much persecution by the church that his English translation of the bible was full off many errors and personal attacks. Even after his death, his body was dug up to be burned at the stake by the ruling of the church.
  • 1455 AD even though the printing press was invented 62 years before the official start of the reformation, this invention (Johann Guttenburg) allowed people to read printed material for themselves, including the bible, or translated excepts as was the case during this time period.
  • Questions over religious practices started forming including the question why the bible was in Latin.
  • 1517 AD Martin Luther, an educated minister of the Church and a university professor, prepares the 95 theses, a compilation of 95 questionable practices of the church. Because of the printing press, word spread very quickly, faster than ever before. Like Wycliffe, he did not want to form a separation from the church, but wanted to correct what he felt were issues where the church had moved in the wrong direction.
  • 1521 to 1522 AD The beginnings of a German Bible. While being sequestered in an informal imprisonment, Luther begins to translate the New Testament using the original Greek writings to write into German. He continued to translate the bible but the full version wasnt published until 1534.
  • 1528 AD the bible is translated into French, but it took many years to become available due to the fact that the printing press was not yet accepted there.
  • 1535AD to1568 AD Translation of the bible begins in English. 4 different versions were created during this time. (The Coverdale Bible, The Great Bible, The Geneva Bible, and The Bishops Bible) Different sources were used to translate and errors were found in all of them.
  • 1545 AD to 1563AD As a response by the Catholic church to the reformation and the Protestors of the church, a council was formed to establish the church position. The Council of Trent finally adopted a universal acceptance of the 73 books of the bible in one of its meetings. It also declared that the Church had the sole authority for bible interpretation. This meant that the Church would continue use of the Latin bible and that translation of the bible was prohibited.
  • 1582 to 1610 AD After much criticism of the Council of Trent findings, the Catholic church creates an English version of the bible called the Douay-Rheims Bible. This bible was written directly from The Vulgate (Latin) Bible.
  • Starting in 1604 AD and published in 1611 AD, King James and the Bishop of England authorized the creation of a new translated bible using the most advanced methods possible (refer to the English Bibles section). The bible was so well done that it was accepted for the next 300 plus years as the bible of choice for most English speaking Christians and religions.
  • 1830AD Joseph Smith publishes a supplement to the bible called the Book of Mormon.
  • 1880 -1904AD The American Standard Version was published using Elizabethian text. This bible was created in order to modernize the English language in England. This translation never gained acceptance in the US for the reading was just as difficult as the King James Version.
  • 1899 A revised version of Douay-Rheims Bible was published.
  • 1947AD The Dead Sea Scrolls revealed a great amount of information in order to interpret the traditional Hebrew text and how the language changed over the years.
  • 1950 The New World Version is published. This translation was created by and for The Jehovah Witnesses.
  • 1952 to1976 AD Six separate attempts are made to translate the bible into modern English. (Revised Standard Bible, The Berkley Bible, The New English Bible, New American Standard Bible, The Living Bible, and The Good News Bible) Whether it was the timing, acceptance of the Christian community, or the belief of personal interference, these translations never became popular.
  • 1978 The New International Version (NIV) was published.
  • 1982 The New King James Version (NKJV) was published.
  • 2002 The newest interpretation called The Message was published.
  • The Old Testament was originally written mostly in Hebrew or Aramaic. The language, like English, evolved over the years. The finding of the dead sea scrolls allowed theologians insight to how the Hebrew language evolved over the years thus creating a better translation into the many different languages today.
  • There are over 2200 different translations to the bible in 1200 languages.
  • There are many challenges in translating any book. Not every word in one language translates into another language. Different meanings of a word can change over location or time. Different languages also use different structures in writing. For example the Greek text uses no spaces between words. It was also handwritten in a cursive text. The sentence format in Hebrew and Greek was also different.
  • To most theologians, translating text is divided into 3 parts:
    1. Literal translation: A direct word for word translation. For example:
      1. Genesis 1:1 -4 (NKJV) says:  (1) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (2) The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. (3) Then God said, let there be light, and there was light. (4) And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.
      2. The literal word for word translation of Genesis 1:1-4 is In the beginning created God the heavens and the earth and the earth was without form and empty, and darkness on the surface of the deep and the Spirit of God moving gently on the surface of the waters. Then said God Let be light and was light And saw God the light that good and separated God between the light the darkness.
      3. Notice how there is no verses or numbering in the original Greek or Hebrew text. this is just a simple example of what only got more complicated as the books of the bible evolved over time.
    2. Dynamic Translation: The meaning of the writer using words that carry the same emphasis and meaning as in the original text. The word SUPER can change to COOL or AWESOME over time. The word GROOVY has lost its emphasis over the years and has since been replaced. This is an example of less than 50 years, The dynamics of the word change as time goes on. There are also variances to word meaning based on location. In Canada you would ask for a soda, not a pop or coke as in England. If you are to translate a universal English bible, how would you account for this.
    3. Theological: What was meant to be said in a translation?  This of course leads to the greatest disagreements because an opinion is necessary in order to translate from one language to the next. This is extremely difficult when examples or parables are used. Imagine how hard it would be to take a poem or song in the Book of Psalms and try to get the true meaning across without changing the literal translation.
  • In the United States, there are over 50 accepted English versions of the bible. The most used interpretations of the bible are the King James Version (KJV), The New International Version (NIV), The New King James Version (NKJV), The Douay-Rheims Bible (for the Catholics), and the Message Bible. These bibles are accepted by most Christian religions without individual religion interference.
    1. King James Version (KJV)
      1. Number of books – 66 (an optional apocrypha of 15 books)
      2. Originally published as complete  -1611 AD
      3. Who wrote it: Although 54 men were nominated by King James, only 47 were known to have taken part in the work of translation. The translators were organized into six groups, and met respectively at Westminster, Cambridge, and Oxford University. After translation their portion of the bible, the other groups read the translation to approve it. The project took 5 years to complete.
      4. Sources used to translate: Original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek transcripts were used to translate.
      5. Translation style: There were 15 rules associated with the translation as well as a checks and balances with the approval of a translation from the other groups. Errors or disagreements were brought up in a general assembly meeting. The other rule was to go for the Literal translation above dynamic or theological translation.
      6. Criticism: The KJV used a higher English than that of the common people of the time. Of the 47 translators, all but one was a minister of the Church of England. Some criticize that only Protestant ministers participated.
    2. The New International Version (NIV)
      1. Number of books 66
      2. Originally published as complete: 1978 AD
      3. Who wrote it – The core translation group was overseen by fifteen Biblical scholars. The translation took ten years and involved a team of 100 people from the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. The range of those participating included over twenty different denominations such as Baptists, Evangelicals, Methodists, Lutherans, Anglicans, and more.
      4. Sources used to translate: Original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek transcripts were used as well as reference to The Dead Sea Scrolls and The Vulgate. (Latin Bible)
      5. Translation style: The intent of the translators was to produce an accurate and readable translation that would fall in-between Literal and Theological approaches.
      6. Criticism: The NIV puts a little more emphasis on the meaning instead of literal translation. Because of this, some verses of the bible were completely changed to emphasize a meaning as seen by Theological interpretation.
    3. The New King James Version (NKJV)
      1. Number of books – 66 (apocrypha can consist of up to 15 books)
      2. Originally published  as complete – 1982 AD
      3. Who wrote it – The NKJV translation project, which was conceived by Arthur Farstad, was inaugurated in 1975 with two meetings (Nashville and Chicago) of 68 interested persons, most of them prominent Baptists but also including some conservative Presbyterians.
      4. Sources used to translate: The original KJV of 1611,  original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek transcripts were used as well as reference to The Dead Sea Scrolls and The Vulgate. (Latin Bible)
      5. Translation style – The aim of its translators was to update the vocabulary and grammar of the King James Version, while preserving the classic style and beauty of the 1611 version. In the same vein of the KJV, questions about translations followed the literal approach as opposed to the Theoretical approach.
      6. Criticism: Too much emphasis was placed on the preservation of the KJV thus creating a language that is not really used in modern English.
    4. The Douay-Rheims Bible
      1. Number of books 73 (optional Appendices of 6 books)
      2. Originally published as complete: 1610 AD
      3. Who wrote it: Appointed by Pope Damasus 1, Jerome, a scholar and minister of the Catholic church, translated the new English bible
      4. Sources used to translate:The Vulgate (Latin) approved by the Church in 419 AD.
      5. Translation style: Aimed at preserving the Holiness of the Latin Bible, Jerome was commissioned to keep the Literal meaning in tact. This version took 27 years to complete.
      6. Criticism – Only one person was involved in the translation and only The Vulgate Bible was used to translate the bible into English. Though the translation of individual words may vary,  the context of the bible is extremely similar to that of the KJV.
    5. The Message Bible
      1. Number of books 66
      2. Originally published as complete: 2002 AD
      3. Who wrote it: Written by Eugene Peterson, a retired minister now retired in Montana, over a nine year period. He attempted to write a bible in modern day Street Language.
      4. Sources used to translate: Original Greek text was used as well as prior English versions of the bible.
      5. Translation style – Theological translation was the primary concern of the Author.
      6. Criticism: Critics say the author tends to oversimplify or interpret incorrectly. They claim that more emphasis is placed on the text sounding good than that of the true literal meaning of the text. Since a USA Street Language is used, fear over the true meaning may be lost over time or location.
 
 
  • Is it Complete:
    1. Prior to the creation of the Bible, Hebrew writings outside of the bible confirms that there were literally hundreds, if not thousands, of writings about that may have helped provide a deeper understanding of the God and His plan. The ability to authenticate the source or that it is the Word of God did prohibit other books from being included.
    2. Recent or New Testament Discoveries:
      1. The Gospel of Judas: A manuscript was found in 1976 written in Coptic, a recent phase of ancient Egyptian, and probably identical to the Gospel of Judas written about in the old church. 2 other letters were attached. It is important to note that this book was referenced as heresy in early Christian writings. It should be emphasized that the Gospel of Judas does not contain any true passing downs of Jesus and it was written by Gnostic believers about 180 AD, not by anyone who was witness to Christ at the time he was here on earth.
    3. Claims to at least 500 (New Testament) books have been omitted from  the bible based on the same basic principals as set for the books that were included in the bible.
  • Has it been tampered with? First we define what tampering means:
    1. Translational tampering: lost it’s meaning through translation.
    2. Political tampering: influence in order to create power.
    3. Theoretical Tampering: based on an individual belief.
    4. Adding to the bible: Changing the words to conform to a particular belief. 
    5. Removing from the bible: omitting information that is known to be the Word of God.
    6. In general it is possible that any or all of the above could have happened.
  • Is the Bible the complete all inclusive Word of God?
  • Has the Bible been tampered with over the years? If so, was the tampering, intentional or unintentional?
    1. If intentional tampering was done in the Early church or during the Dark Ages, wouldnt there be more information on some of their religious practices included in the Bible?
  • Which translation of the bible do you like? Why?
  • Of all the other books introduced, why are these books not included in the Bible?
  • Is the NKJV bible 100% accurate? Can any translation of the bible claim that?
  • Can a Bible be translated completely in a Literal (word for word) sense?
  • What are some of the problems with Theological translations
  • What role did the Checks and Balances created by Constantine I make of the preservation of the Bible?
  • Why was the printing press so important?
  • What role did the Dead Sea scrolls take?
  • If you were in charge of Creating or translating the Bible, would you have done anything different?
  • Why do you think that the Christians of the Dark Ages use so many rituals and Idols?
  • Can the Bible alone bring you salvation?
  • Do you believe that God still influenced what was included in the Bible?
  • Chapters 1,189
  • Verses: 31,101
  • Number of promises given in the Bible: 1,260
  • Commands: 6,468
  • Predictions: over 8,000
  • Fulfilled prophecy: 3,268 verses
  • Unfulfilled prophecy: 3,140
  • Number of questions: 3,294
  • Longest name: Mahershalalhashbaz (Isaiah 8:1)
  • Longest verse: Esther 8:9 (78 words)
  • Shortest verse: John 11:35 (2 words: “Jesus wept”).
  • Longest book: Psalms (150 chapters)
  • Shortest book (by number of words): 3 John
  • A number of verses in the Bible (KJV) contain all but 1 letter of the  
    1. Ezra 7:21 contains all but the letter J;
    2. Joshua 7:24,  1 Kings 1:9, 1 Chronicles 12:40, 2 Chronicles 36:10, Ezekiel 28:13,  Daniel 4:37, and Haggai 1:1 contain all but Q;
    3. 2 Kings 16:15 and  1 Chronicles 4:10 contain all but Z;
    4. Galatians 1:14 contains all but K.
  • It would take you approximately 70 hours to read the whole Bible out loud.
  • The New Testament contains more than 260 Old Testament quotations
  • Paul wrote four of his letters in the Bible while in prison. They are Ephesians Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon
  • The word Christian is first mentioned in the Bible in Acts 11:26. The word Christian is found in only two other places in the Bible: Acts 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16.
  • The oldest person in the Bible was Methuselah. He died when he was 969 years old.
  • Isaiah prophesied most about the coming of Jesus. Isaiah 52:13-53:12 lists more than 20 things about Jesus, all of which are true.
  • The first book of the Bible tells of a serpent tempting Eve. The last book of the Bible calls Satan “that serpent of old, who is the Devil.” (Genesis 3; Revelation 20:2).
  • many Different online bible services are available but we feel the best bible download for research is Bible Gateway.
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Topics f this article hopefully includes answers to:
bible commentary
bible gateway
bible king james
bible verses
catholic bible
download bible,
holy bible,
niv bible,
the message bible,
Bible tampering,
History of the bible,
Bible Study, Bible translation
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