The Languages And Translations Of The Bible
MEMORY TEXT:“And I saw another angel flyin the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto themthat dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, andpeople”.
KEY THOUGHT: Since the Tower of Babelthere has been an astounding increase of various languages and dialects.Languages also are in a constant process of change. This presents an enormouschallenge if we are to fulfill the commission to provide the Word of Godin every tongue.
The Bible Is A Supernatural Book
It would be impossible to explain the origin of the Bible by any other means than to note that it claims to be a supernatural book guided by the Holy Spirit and supports its claim by the facts presented. Though human authors were used and the Bible has clear evidence of their human involvement in writing the Bible, they were so guided by the Holy Spirit that what they wrote was the truth as God wanted it to be said, and they were kept from the error of including anything that was extraneous or unnecessary.
The contents of the Bible make clear that it has to be supernatural in its origin because the Bible includes revelation beyond the scope of peoples knowledge. The Bible also presents Gods point of view of human activity and history, which would be impossible to learn unless God Himself revealed it.
The Bible is not only supernatural in its origin but also supernatural in its truth, dealing with subjects such as salvation, forgiveness, righteousness, spiritual restoration, and hope for eternity. The scope of the revelation extending from eternity past to eternity future obviously requires divine revelation.
Cyrus And The Persian Era
In 538 BC, Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon and established the Achaemenid Empire , which at the time was the largest empire the world had ever seen. However, this had no effect on the language of the Hebrews. Cyrus quickly issued the Edict of Restoration , which allowed the repatriation of various peoples conquered by the Babylonians to return home .
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Into How Many Languages Has The Bible Been Translated
One of the most common questions asked by both Christians and non-Christians is, Why are there so many Bible translations? Are they necessary? Isnt it overkill to have so many? The answer is, they are necessary. Without them, only a select few would be able to read the Bible.
The Bible was originally written in three different languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The Old Testament was written in mostly Hebrew, with a few passages written in Aramaic. The New Testament was written in Greek. This can be hard to grasp since the Bibles we hold today are typically written in our native language. In an effort to ensure that all people are able to read the Bible in their own language, various Christian translators have translated the Bible into many tongues and dialects.
The first Bible translations were of the Hebrew Bible, translated fully into Aramaic. These were called Targums. Later, when the Greek language became prominent, the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek, and this translation was called the Septuagint. The Septuagint was in heavy use by Jews who spoke Greek and later by Christians. The next major popular translation was Jeromes Vulgate, which was a Latin translation of the Bible.
- Book of Life Arabic
- La Bible du Semeur French
- La Parola è Vita Italian
- IBS translation Korean, Dutch, Farsi,
- Bibeln eller Den Heliga Skrift Konungen År) Swedish
- New Russian Translation Russian
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.
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Is The Bible A Fairy Tale
Some might think the stories of the Bible are magical, made-up events with little connection to historical reality. But thats not how the Bible presents itself.
It claims to be a true and trustworthy account of the way the world really is, who God really is, and how human beings can live full lives.
While fairy tales happen once upon a time in a vague neverland, the main characters of the BibleJesus, David, Moses, and Abraham are real human beings who walked the earth. You can still visit the city of Jerusalem and the Sea of Galilee today.
And the rulers found throughout the Bible are not just too-good-to-be-true Prince Charmings. You can read about Herod, Pilate, Cyrus the Great, and the Pharaohs of Egypt not only in the Bible but also in history texts. The Gospel of Luke begins the Christmas story by placing Jesuss birth during the reign of Augustus Caesar of Rome and an obscure Syrian governor named Quiriniuswhose name does indeed show up on ancient inscriptions.
Some parts of the Biblelike poetry and parablesare clearly not intended as historical, but its central story claims to be rooted in history. Unlike even the best fairy tales.
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What Language Was The Bible Originally Written In
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The Hebrew Bible was written in Hebrew. Its Greek translation, the , made it accessible in the Hellenistic period and provided a language for the New Testament and for the Christian liturgy and theology of the first three centuries CE. The Bible in Latin, the Vulgate, shaped the thought and life of Western people for a thousand years. Bible translation led to the study and literary development of many languages.
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How Do You Understand Gods Word When Its Written In A Foreign Language
In reality, though, this question is never far away. In fact its very likely that if you are reading this, you are someone who reads the Bible primarily in English, as opposed to its original languages. This illustrates the point literacy and linguistic shifts are realities that biblical educators have always had to navigate. The situation after the return from Babylon forced the Jewish leadership to develop new models of religious instruction. Perhaps this creates some questions for you?
For example, what languages were originally involved in the production of the Bible? What is the connection between Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek anyway? What about the language spoken by Jesus and the Apostles? Did they preach in the same language in which they read the Torah, or in the language of the hearing audience? And what language was that? Perhaps you have wondered, Why did the Jewish authors of the New Testament produce it in Greek? Or, Since the Roman Empire was in control of Judea during the time of Christ, was Latin a factor? These are questions that will be addressed below, as well as in Part 2 next week.
Along the way, well see how the problem of the language barrier was addressed during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. In turn, that will inform us as to the connection between Moses, the Torah, and instructional models for an illiterate public. But first, lets consider the question of what were the original language of the Bible.
Why Was The Old Testament Written In Hebrew
The Old Testament was written over a period from about 1500 BC until about 400 BC.
Every Old Testament writer was from Israel, and Hebrew was the language of Israel.
Thats exactly why the Old Testament was written in Hebrew because this was the written and spoken language of the authors of all 39 Old Testament books.
The Hebrew language is an offshoot of Proto-Semitic that was likely the language spoken by Adam and Eve.
This form of Semitic that was preserved in Hebrew shares a lot of similarities to the Semitic language.
However, the term Hebrew that we use to describe the OT language isnt found in any of the 39 Old Testament books. Instead, we find Scripture referring to the language of the Jews as:
- Language of Judah
While in the New Testament John the Apostle refers to Hebrew as we know it today in his inspired writings about the end times .
Although Hebrew has a somewhat simple vocabulary, the Old Testament authors really displayed the beautiful and rich metaphoric side of this language.
And they also wrote Old Testament Scripture in a right to left fashion, which is the standard writing system for Hebrew .
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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.
This Greek dialect was quite popular from the time of Alexander the Great until even after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Contradictions In The Bible
There are lots of seeming contradictions in the Bible. Does that make it unreliable?
This video from our friends at the Bible Project might help explain some confusing things in the Bible.
Maybe not when you consider where it came from. The Bible is a collection of writings from different authors, times, places, and cultures. Even different languages. Sometimes words change meanings over the centuries. Sometimes the same characters have several different names.
It also helps to consider the different audiences for these works. The history books of Kings and Chronicles cover some of the same material but for different nations. Matthew writes about Jesus for Jews, and Luke writes the same material for Greeks.
There may also be repetitions, rounding off, or different perspectives that explain some seeming contradictions. Its reasonable to think that Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount multiple times , and so the version in Luke could be just as accurate as the one in Matthew 57.
Because of these literary, cultural, and sociological influences, it helps to proceed with caution when applying modern journalistic standards to these ancient writings. Biblical authors sometimes use different historical methods that wouldnt pass muster todaybut were accepted practice for the day.
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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 Bibles 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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Is King James The Most Accurate Bible
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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Sabbath Afternoon January 30
LANGUAGES OF THE BIBLE. Most of the OldTestament was written in what now is known as ancient Hebrew. A small portionwas written in Aramaic. The New Testament was written in koine Greek as opposed to the classical Greek usedby writers of that time.
Although the Bible was still read in Hebrew in the synagogues in the timeof Christ, Aramaic had become the common language of the Jewish people. Aramaicwas the language Jesus spoke. Bible translations began in the third centuryB.C. when the Hebrew Old Testament was translated into Greek. Near the endof the second century A.D., the New Testament was translated into Syriac, into Latin, and for the believers of Upper Egypt, intoCoptic.
Who Originally Wrote The Bible
Moses is the initial author as the first five books of the Bible were ascribed to him. However, hes not the only person who was inspired by God to write parts of the Bible.
In fact, the Bible consists of 66 different books, most of which were written by different authors.
You could say that the Bible was written in one book-at-a-time manner.
Moses Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
Unknown Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings
Ezra 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra
Unknown Esther, Job
David , Asaph , Sons of Korah , Solomon , Moses , Ethan , Heman , unknown Psalms
Solomon , Agur , Lemuel Proverbs
Solomon Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon
Its worth pointing out that some books like the Psalms have multiple authors.
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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.
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?
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What About The Versions
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.