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The Bible Was Originally Written In What Language

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Was The New Testament Originally Written In Greek Or Aramaic


The New Testament was written in Koine Greek, which was the most popular form of Greek at the time and the Greek dialect of the common people.

However, there are still a few Aramaic words found in the New Testament. The most notable example comes from when Christ quoted Psalm 22:1 as he was about to die:

  • Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani?

This is the Aramaic phrase thats slightly different from the Eli Eli lema sabachthani? found in Matthew 27:46 ESV.

However, the New Testament is primarily written in Koine Greek, which was the go-to language in Palestine during the rule of the Roman Empire.

And why do you think the New Testament authors used Greek and not Hebrew or Aramaic for example?

Because Greek was the official language in the Roman Empire, which opens the doors for Scripture to be understood by the Gentiles, not just the Jews.

And since this was the most commonly used language at the time that made it possible to reach the lost world, the New Testament was written almost exclusively in Greek.

Of course there are a few small exceptions of Aramaic phrases like Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani?

The Translations Of The Bible

The many translations are necessary for spreading the word of God without any obstacles in communication. However, this should not diminish the significance of the original languages of the Bible, the Hebrew of the Old Testament and the Greek of the New Testament, and the language of the era when the books of the Scriptures were written. The study of the original languages is imperative for the correct understanding of the meaning of the Bible. The knowledge of the original languages is also imperative in order to translate the Scriptures into the vernacular. The knowledge of the original language is especially necessary for the doctrinal teaching of the Bible.

The individual Christian is urged to read the Bible in his own language for his spiritual enrichment, but not to use the translation in arriving at personal conclusions. One should read the Bible against the background of the interpretation given it by the Church as a whole, not on ones own interpretation. It is profitable, however, for one who studies the Bible to use short commentaries of the Church and to leave the dogmatic and systematic teaching to the Church, which is the authoritative and infallible body. Taking a Biblical verse out of context often is misleading and is the basic cause of the Christian Church being separated into many parts, each interpreting according to their own opinions and thoughts.

The Need to Know the Original Languages

The Translation of the Bible into English

Why Was The New Testament Written In Koine Greek

In our day, we say English is the lingua franca of the world. Its a way of saying its the worlds standard the most important language in the world.

And so it was with Greek in the time of Christ.

When people ask What Language Was the Bible Written In? thats a good basic answer.

Greek had been the worlds lingua franca since even before the time of Alexander the Great, 250 years earlier.

And that is the primary reason why the New Testament authors picked the Greek language. It was the obvious choice.

And as it turned out -it reached a broader audience that included the Gentiles .

Just as Jesus did, New Testament authors wanted to share the good news of salvation with everyone, Jew and Gentile.

And what better language to choose than Greek, which was the common tongue used in Palestine during the Roman Empire?

In fact, Koine Greek was the most widespread language in the eastern Mediterranean region at the time and alongside Latin, it was the official language of the Roman Empire.

Note that koine means common, hence Koine Greeks popularity. It was the Greek language of the common people.

Do you want to study the New Testament books more deeply? See my post that lists all of the New Testament books, authors and important facts about the authenticity of the New Testament.

This Greek dialect was quite popular from the time of Alexander the Great until even after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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What Is The Bible

Before we begin, let us first consider various sections and books that make up the complete Bible. The entire Bible is comprised of two main sections, the Old Testament & New Testament. The Old Testament is made up of 39 individual books the New Testament is made up of 27 books, giving the Bible a total of 66 books.

Aramaic Added Flavor To The Bible

Why don

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

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Episode : The Original Languages Of The Biblical Text Pt 1

Have you ever heard that the Bible can’t be trusted because it’s been translated too many times? Is there any truth to this claim? In this episode we begin talking about the original languages of the Biblical text. What they are, what we know about their history, and how this impacts our English Bibles that we read today.** There was overlapping audio clips between 17:30 and 18:15, but an updated audio file has now been uploaded **

The Importance Of The Septuagint

After the translation of the Torah, the other books of the Old Testament were translated. The New Testament was originally written in Greek.

This Greek translation of the Bible is important because it added theological concepts that help to better understand the religious and political context in which the prophets lived. The Septuagint has helped scholars determine which manuscripts are most reliable, giving a faithful translation of the Old Testament.

In addition, the Septuagint helps to better understand Jewish theology, by better understanding the worship practices of the Jewish people.

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy are names entered into the Bible through the Septuagint. Just as the division of the books into law, history, poetry, and prophets, as well as the subdivision of books like 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, etc., are due to the Septuagint.

The Septuagint was the Bible of the early church, and the most cited text by the Apostles and authors of the New Testament. Mark 7: 6-7 says: Jesus replied, Isaiah was right about you hypocrites when he said, These people claim they honor me, but in their thinking they are far from me. Theres no point in their worship of me, for what they teach as doctrines are merely human rules, referring to the Septuagint.

Today, the Bible has been fully translated into 450 languages.

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Is The Bible Today What Was Originally Written

The Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic , and Greek . The Bibles we use today are translations from the original languages into English . Jesus most likely taught in Aramaic , so that the Greek NT itself represents a translation of Jesus teaching from the Aramaic into Greek.

The question, Is the Bible today what was originally written? involves two important questions: Are the available manuscripts of the Bible accurate representations of the original mss. of the respective books of the Bible ? This is an issue of textual transmission. Are the available translations faithful renderings of the Bible in the original languages? This is an issue of translation.

With regard to the first question, no original autographs exist of any biblical text only copies are available. The word manuscript is used to denote anything written by hand, rather than copies produced from the printing press. Textual evidence constitutes anything written on clay tablets, stone, bone, wood, various metals, potsherds , but most notably papyrus and parchment .

Most ancient books were compiled and then rolled into a scroll. Since a papyrus roll rarely exceeded 35 feet in length, ancient authors divided a long literary work into several books .

The minuscules compose the largest group of Greek mss., but they are dated considerably later.

In Which Languages Were The Scriptures Of The Holy Bible Originally Written

What Languages Was The Bible Originally Written In?

Proto-Sinaitic script was used in the Sinai Peninsula from 1850-1200 B.C., plus or minus a few hundred years, and it coexisting with Egyptian hieroglyphics. People eventually began to assign phonetic values or sounds to the hieroglyphs, which lead to the development of the first alphabet. Each hieroglyph represented an entire word, so the initial sound of the hieroglyph became the first letter of its word. Since there were roughly 22 spoken sounds, 22 hieroglyphs were chosen to represent the alphabet of the spoken language. The Proto-Sinaitic script and Egyptian hieroglyphics lead to the development of the Phoenician alphabet in 1200 B.C., plus or minus a few hundred years.

Moses lived from approximately 1393-1273 B.C., plus or minus a hundred years. According to tradition, the Torah was dictated to Moses by God , except for the last eight verses of Deuteronomy, which describe the death of Moses. This belief is derived from what is recorded in the Mishnah, and it is also derived from Deuteronomy 31:24-26. Moses would have likely recorded the Torah in clay with the Phoenician alphabet because clay was often used as a writing tablet during this time in history. However, Moses recorded many commandments on large stones that were coated with plaster .

The New Testament is a compilation of many scriptures that seem to have been originally written in several different languages, which include Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.

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A common fact that is taught to all Christians is that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew while the New Testament was written in Greek. There is consensus among all Biblical Scholars that the Old Testament was indeed written in Hebrew. But not all scholars agree on the point that the New Testament was written in Greek. Even though most of the remaining Manuscripts of the New Testament are all in Greek, there is evidence that parts of the New Testament would have indeed been written in Hebrew and subsequently translated to Aramaic, Greek and any other languages of the day.

Matthew wrote his account of the Gospel, in Hebrew

One of the best pieces of evidence that exists to prove that the New Testament may have originally been written in Hebrew, is The Gospel of Matthew. This Gospel account which is regarded as the earliest out of the 4 Gospels contained in our Bibles, come from Matthew who was surnamed Levi and who was a Tax Collector previously. He was a Hebrew speaking man just like all of the other Disciples of Christ. There are quite a few historical witnesses who have spoken how Matthew wrote his account of the Gospel in Hebrew.

Furthermore, Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformer from the 16th Century had this to say about Hebrew and the New Testament

_________UPDATEFollowing is an important piece of information which was missing from this post, but was added because of Brother Hubert Krause who posted an important question.

First Translation Of The Bible The Septuagint Was In Greek

NYC Wanderer CC BY-SA 2.0

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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New Testament: Who Wrote The Gospels

Just as the Old Testament chronicles the story of the Israelites in the millennium or so leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ, the New Testament records Jesuss life, from his birth and teachings to his death and later resurrection, a narrative that forms the fundamental basis of Christianity. Beginning around 70 A.D., about four decades after Jesuss crucifixion , four anonymously written chronicles of his life emerged that would become central documents in the Christian faith. Named for Jesuss most devoted earthly disciples, or apostlesMatthew, Mark, Luke and Johnthe four canonical Gospels were traditionally thought to be eyewitness accounts of Jesuss life, death and resurrection.

12th-13th century depiction of evangelists Luke and Matthew writing the Gospels.

DeAgostini/Getty Images

But for more than a century, scholars have generally agreed that the Gospels, like many of the books of the New Testament, were not actually written by the people to whom they are attributed. In fact, it seems clear that the stories that form the basis of Christianity were first communicated orally, and passed down from generation to generation, before they were collected and written down.

Could The Israelites Read What Moses Wrote At Mt Sinai

In what language was the Bible first written?

A key question that surfaced in the film, Patterns of Evidence: The Moses Controversy was related to whether or not Moses could have written the Torah. Arguments were related to whether or not an alphabet even existed at the time of Moses, and whether or not there was a reading public for which he could have or would have produced such a document.

The simple answer was that Yes, an alphabet existed that had already been developed from Egyptian hieroglyphics, by a Semitic person. This individual was someone who was able to read ancient Egyptian and was simultaneously motivated to adapt its characters for use in an alphabet for his Semitic readership. This resolved one key objection to the Mosaic authorship of the Torah.

Patterns of Evidence: The Moses Controversy

But what about the question of audience? Why would Moses write a Torah if there was no reading public? We have previously explored how this scenario gave rise to the development of delegated authority and to the role that the Torah played in the establishment of legal precedent. But there is more to the story.

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What Were The Original Languages Of The Bible

Note: a few chapters of the books Ezra and Daniel , one verse in Jeremiah are written, not in ancient Hebrew, but in Aramaic. Aramaic is about as closely related to Hebrew as Spanish is to Portuguese. However, the differences between Aramaic and Hebrew are not those of dialect, and the two are regarded as two separate languages.

Early Translations Into Other Languages

Despite the churchs rejection of Bible translations, there are some very old translations of particular books of smaller parts of the Bible in old English, German and Slavonic, for example. These were translated as early as +/- 800 AD. In 1199 AD, Pope Innocent III banned unauthorized Bible translations to suppress heresies. While some vernacular translations seem to have been accepted later on, the general tendency was to forbid them.

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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.

Is King James The Most Accurate Bible

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That venerable old standard the King James Version also shows up very high on the list of most accurate Bibles. The KJV was made before some of the best texts were found like the Textus Siniaticus. But in spite of the outdated language- the KJV remains the most popular Bible in the English-speaking world.

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Here Are The Languages First Used To Write The Bible

As Wycliffe Bible Translators reports, the Bible has been translated into the worlds major first languages English, Mandarin, Spanish, etc. and so many of the worlds minor ones that, for four in five of the worlds people, the sacred text is available to them in their mother tongue. Of course, this excludes issues such as persecution and the illegality of possessing certain religious texts in select parts of the world a matter that wont be discussed here.

For centuries, however, being able to read and understand the Bible was a privilege reserved only for a select few: those who had spent years, if not decades, learning ancient languages. Bible translation into the local language didnt really begin in earnest until the middle of the second millennium, and even so, it was often done at great cost to the translator.

Meanwhile, the languages in which the Bible was originally written occupy a unique place in the study of linguistics. One of them died out, was revived, and is today spoken by millions of people one survived the centuries and is spoken by a small community and one remains an academic discipline that, centuries later, is still studied to this day.

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