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First Language Of The Bible

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Aramaic Added Flavor To The Bible

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Although not a major part of Bible writing, Aramaic was used in several sections of Scripture. Aramaic was commonly used in the Persian Empire after the Exile, the Jews brought Aramaic back to Israel where it became the most popular language.

The Hebrew Bible was translated into Aramaic, called the Targum, in the second temple period, which ran from 500 B.C. to 70 A.D. This translation was read in the synagogues and used for instruction.

Bible passages which originally appeared in Aramaic are Daniel 2-7 Ezra 4-7 and Jeremiah 10:11. Aramaic words are recorded in the New Testament as well:

  • Talitha qumi 5:41
  • Ephphatha Mark 7:34
  • Eli, Eli, lema sebaqtani Mark 15:34, Matthew 27:46
  • 1 Corinthians 16:22

Reviving The Hebrew Language

Reviving the Hebrew language did not happen overnight. But looking back over the course of events it is easy to see Gods hand at work.

According to this article on Chosen People Ministries website:

Eliezer Ben Yehuda is said to be the father of Modern Hebrew. Born in Lithuania in 1858, he immigrated to Israel in 1881 and dedicated himself to the revival of the Hebrew language, which at the time was used only to read Holy texts and not spoken in everyday life. Ben Yehuda invented words in Hebrew for doll, bicycle, towel, and other modern items. Linguists continue to research the roots of the Hebrew language to coin words for terms like SMS and blog. There are 2,000 new words added to Modern Hebrew each year.

Initially, some people did not agree with Ben Yehudas attempts to revive the Hebrew language. But as more and more Jewish people returned to Israel speaking many different languages, people soon began to see the need for a common language. Moreover, only a select few were able to read the Hebrew Scriptures. Committees and schools were established to study and teach the language.

The King James Version Is Not The Original Language Of The Bible

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Greek Opened The New Testament To Gentiles

When the Bible writers began to pen the gospels and epistles, they abandoned Hebrew and turned to the popular language of their time, koine or common Greek. Greek was a unifying tongue, spread during the conquests of Alexander the Great, whose desire was to Hellenize or spread Greek culture throughout the world. Alexanderâs empire covered the Mediterranean, northern Africa, and parts of India, so the use of Greek became predominant.

Greek was easier to speak and write than Hebrew because it used a complete alphabet, including vowels. It also had a rich vocabulary, allowing for precise shades of meaning. An example is Greekâs four different words for love used in the Bible.

An added benefit was that Greek opened the New Testament to Gentiles, or non-Jews. This was extremely important in evangelism because Greek allowed Gentiles to read and understand the gospels and epistles for themselves.

First Translation Of The Bible The Septuagint Was In Greek

Why don

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The Bible is the biggest-selling and most read book in human history originally written in Hebrew and Aramaic, the first translation of the Bible into another language, called the Septuagint, was in Greek.

The translation of the Old Testament into Koine Greek in the third century BC took place within a historical context that was important for the development of the Tanakh, or Hebrew Bible, and the growth of Judaism and Christianity.

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What Was The Language Of The Old Testament

Ancient Hebrew was the tongue of the ancient Israelites and the language in which most of the Old Testament was penned. Isaiah 19:18 calls it the language of Canaan, while other verses label it Judean and language of the Jews .

Ancient Hebrew is a Semitic language that dates back past 1500 B.C. Its alphabet consists of 22 characters, all consonants , and is written from right to left.

While Hebrew remained the sacred tongue of the Jews, its use as a common spoken language declined after the Jews return from exile . Despite a revival of the language during the Maccabean era, it was eventually all but replaced in everyday usage by Aramaic. Modern Hebrew can trace its ancestry to Biblical Hebrew, but has incorporated many other influences as well.

Hebrew: Language Of The Old Testament

Hebrew belongs to the Semitic language group, a family of ancient tongues in the Fertile Crescent that included Akkadian, the dialect of Nimrod in Genesis 10 Ugaritic, the language of the Canaanites and Aramaic, commonly used in the Persian empire.

Hebrew was written from right to left and consisted of 22 consonants. In its earliest form, all the letters ran together. Later, dots and pronunciation marks were added to make it easier to read. As the language progressed, vowels were included to clarify words that had become obscure.

Sentence construction in Hebrew might place the verb first, followed by the noun or pronoun and objects. Because this word order is so different, a Hebrew sentence cannot be translated word-for-word into English. Another complication is that a Hebrew word might substitute for a commonly used phrase, which had to be known to the reader.

Different Hebrew dialects introduced foreign words into the text. For example, Genesis contains some Egyptian expressions while Joshua, Judges, and Ruth include Canaanite terms. Some of the prophetic books use Babylonian words, influenced by the Exile.

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Who Wrote The Bible

The Bible exists of 66 books that were written over the course of centuries, by many different authors, as is explained in more detail in our articles Who wrote the Bible? and Who decided which books to include in the Bible?. Jesus Himself did not write anything. His words and life story were recorded by His followers. However, these human authors were inspired by Gods Spirit to write their books. Therefore, the Lord God is the ultimate, real author of all the Bible books. For more information on this topic, read our article Is the Bible the word of God?

Production And Use Of A Torah Scroll

The Eliot Indian Bible

Manuscript Torah scrolls are still scribed and used for ritual purposes this is called a Sefer Torah . They are written using a painstakingly careful method by highly qualified scribes. It is believed that every word, or marking, has divine meaning and that not one part may be inadvertently changed lest it lead to error. The fidelity of the Hebrew text of the Tanakh, and the Torah in particular, is considered paramount, down to the last letter: translations or transcriptions are frowned upon for formal service use, and transcribing is done with painstaking care. An error of a single letter, ornamentation, or symbol of the 304,805 stylized letters that make up the Hebrew Torah text renders a Torah scroll unfit for use, hence a special skill is required and a scroll takes considerable time to write and check.

According to Jewish law, a sefer Torah is a copy of the formal Hebrew text handwritten on gevil or klaf by using a quill dipped in ink. Written entirely in Hebrew, a sefer Torah contains 304,805 letters, all of which must be duplicated precisely by a trained sofer , an effort that may take as long as approximately one and a half years. Most modern Sifrei Torah are written with forty-two lines of text per column , and very strict rules about the position and appearance of the Hebrew letters are observed. See for example the Mishnah Berurah on the subject. Any of several Hebrew scripts may be used, most of which are fairly ornate and exacting.

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In What Language Was The Bible First Written Biblica

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  • Summary: The New Testament, however, was written in Greek. This seems strange, since you might think it would be either Hebrew or Aramaic. However, Greek was the

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  • Summary: Scholars generally recognize three languages as original biblical languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek.

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When Was The Bible First Printed

The printing press was invented around 1440 AD by Johannes Gutenberg, a German goldsmith. His invention, together with developments in paper making, greatly improved the speed, quality and affordability of book production. The earliest major book printed by Gutenberg was the Bible, in Latin. In 1516, Desiderius Erasmus produced the first printed edition of the Greek New Testament. The printing press also allowed the first vernacular Bible translations to spread rapidly. So, Bibles have been printed ever since the existence of the printing press.

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What About Modern Versions

According to 1995 statistics published by the American Bible Society, theBible or portions of it are now printed in 2,123 languages or dialects. Althoughthey estimate 6,528 languages and dialects exist, many of them are used byvery few people. Therefore, they estimate that 90 percent of the world populationhas access to the Bible in their spoken language. The current number oftranslations and versions is constantly increasing.

The following comment and exercise have to do with an antiquated Englishversion of the Bible. This may not be useful to our non-English readers,but they may wish to use a similar exercise relating to an old Bible versionin their own language.

Many who use the English version believe the King James Version is the mostauthentic and has the greatest authority. Yet, the King James Version containsmany words no longer currently used. As evidence, determine what the followingwords mean in the King James Version-passages indicated:


In the fight of what Paul says in2Timothy 2:15, how is his admonition helpful to us when we use the variousversions?

What About The Versions

Where is the original copy of the Bible located, and what language is ...

How does God regard those who make deliberate changes to the revelationHe has given?Rev.22:18, 19.

Although specifically referring to adding to and taking away from the bookof Revelation, the principle applies to making deliberate changes in anybook of the Bible. As the need arose for versions in different languagesand within languages because of their constantly changing nature, the restrictionfound in the book of Revelation serves, among other things, as a guide tokeep translators from taking liberties with God’s Word.

In spite of God’s warnings, some liberties have been taken. Ellen White states:”I saw that God had especially guarded the Bible yet when copies of it werefew, learned men had in some instances changed the words, thinking that theywere making it more plain, when in reality they were mystifying that whichwas plain by causing it to lean to their established views, which were governedby tradition. But I saw that the Word of God, as a whole, is a perfect chain,one portion linking into and explaining another.”Early Writings,pp. 220, 221. Even though there may be some errors owing to human-made changesin any one version, our interpretation is to rest on the weight of evidenceas we take into consideration all that the Bible has to say on a topic.

Compare: Old Testament New TestamentExod. 16:33Heb. 9:4Ps. 102:25-27Heb. 1:10-12Ps. 40:6 Heb. 10:5Deut. 32:35, 36 Heb. 10:30

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How Was The Kjv Translated

Here is how the KJV came about: 54 college professors, preachers, deans and bishops ranging in ages from 27 to 73 were engaged in the project of translating the KJV. To work on their masterpiece, these men were divided into six panels: two at Oxford, two at Cambridge, two at Westminster. Each panel concentrated on one portion of the Bible, and each scholar in the panel was assigned portions to translate. As guides the scholars used a Hebrew Text of the Old Testament, a Greek text for the New. Some Aramaic was used in each. They consulted translations in Chaldean, Latin, Spanish, French, Italian and Dutch. And, of course, they used earlier English Biblesat least six, including William Tyndale’s New Testament, the first to be printed in English. So what language did they use? Every language that was available to them.

The Bible Was Written In Hebrew Aramaic And Greek

The Bible was not written down all at once by one person. It was written and according to some accounts, copied and edited and compiled over centuries by different people living in different places and in different cultures. The majority of the words of the Bible were written in Hebrew. In fact, according to Word Counter, the King James Bible contains just over 3 million letters, or about 73% of the Bible’s text. In other words, according to this over-simplified mathematical thought experiment, nearly three-fourths of the Bible was written in Hebrew.

However, a few passages in the Old Testament were written in a companion language to Hebrew: Aramaic. A linguistic cousin of Hebrew, this language accounts for a few passages in Daniel, Ezra, and Jeremiah. According to TruthOnlyBible, these passages were possibly added by later editors decades after the rest of those books were written. Further, a few Aramaic words and phrases also pop up here and there in the New Testament, according to Baker Publishing Group.

Finally, the overwhelming majority of the New Testament save for the aforementioned Aramaic bits was written in Ancient Greek, according to the International Bible Society.

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How Old Is The Bible

So the oldest Biblical text we found is about 2700 years old. Of course, this is just what we’ve been able to locate and date. The first Biblical stories were passed down orally and only written down later by various authors. Most Biblical scholars believe the Book of Genesis was the first book to be written down.

The Book Of Daniel Has An Entire Section In Aramaic

Recorded Lesson – Biblical Hebrew – Lesson 1
  • Daniel 1:1-2:4a Hebrew
  • Daniel 8:1-12:13 Hebrew

And Daniel points out when it begins:

Then the Chaldeans said to the king in Aramaic, O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation. Daniel 2:4

Daniels use of Aramaic has caused many scholars to scratch their heads . Though no one knows exactly why the author of Daniel chose this unusual structure, there is a plausible theory generally accepted by scholars. According to Stephen R. Miller, author of the New American Commentary on Daniel:

chapter 1 describes the fate of 3 Jewish youths sent to Babylon in the final days of the kingdom of Judah, and

chapter 8-12 speak about the fate of Judah under tyrannical rulers, subjects that would not have been relevant to the Gentile world of Daniels time.

So Daniel wrote this section in Hebrew, the language of the Jews. Thus Aramaic was reserved for the parts of the book that had universal appeal or special relevance to the Gentile nations including Daniels memoirs, Nebuchadnezzars account of his experience with Yahweh, and the prophecy of the 4 kingdoms .

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When It Comes To The Original Languages Of The Bible

it seems that people

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Our knowledge is basically a sum total of what we have learned and experienced in life.

Whatever your sum total includesthe mating practices of oysters, whether or not going to Wal-Mart on Saturday afternoon is a good idea, or some knowledge of the original languages of the Biblesthe valuable info in this post will be useful at some time or another.

Languages Of The Deuterocanonical Books

The deuterocanonical books have a different status according to various Jewish and Christian denominations, with some considering them canonical, others apocryphal. These books, mostly written between 300 BCE and 300 CE, were written in various times, places, contexts and languages by various authors for various reasons. Scholars continue to debate as to which languages each of the deuterocanonicals was originally written. Many of the oldest surviving texts are in Koine Greek, but show features of Semitic languages usually Semitisms such as Hebrew, Aramaic or Syriac, leading some scholars to argue that the original text, even though now lost, may have been written in a Semitic language rather than Greek. In other cases, the Greek seems more fluent and may be considered original. One of the youngest of these books, 2 Esdras, has a complex composition history with a probable mix of Hebrew, Latin and Greek origins.

Deuterocanonical books composition

c. AD 400440 Codex Alexandrinus is the oldest version. Medieval Greek, prior history unknown

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The English Bible Timeline

1384: Wycliffe produces a hand-written English translation of the complete Bible All 80 Books his translation was from the Latin Vulgate and not from Greek or Hebrew.1455: Gutenberg invents the printing press Books may now be mass-produced instead of individually hand-written. The first book ever printed is Gutenberg’s Bible in Latin.1525: William Tyndale’s New Testament translated from the Greek MSS This is the first New Testament to be printed in the English language on the printing press. Tyndale did not finish translating the Old Testament.1535: Myles Coverdale’s Bible The first complete Bible to be printed in the English Language .1537: Matthews Bible The second complete Bible to be printed in English. Done by John “Thomas Matthew” Rogers .

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