Here is your history lesson on the Bible.
The Bible comes from two main sources - Old and New Testaments - written in different languages. The Old Testament was written primarily in Hebrew,
with some books written in Aramaic. The following are brief snap shots of the beginning and ending of the Old Testament and the reasons for the first
two translations of the Old Testament from Hebrew into Aramaic and Greek
•1875 B.C. Abraham was called by God to the land of Canaan.
•1450 B.C. The exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt.
There are no known autographs of any books of the Old Testament. Below is a list of the languages in which the Old Testament books were written.
•1450-1400 B.C. The traditional date for Moses' writing of Genesis-Deuteronomy written in Hebrew.
•586 B.C. Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. The Jews were taken into captivity to Babylon. They remained in Babylon
under the Medo-Persian Empire and there began to speak Aramaic.
•555-545 B.C. The Book of Daniel Chapters. 2:4 to 7:28 were written in Aramaic.
•425 B.C. Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, was written in Hebrew.
•400 B.C. Ezra Chapters. 4:8 to 6:18; and 7:12-26 were written in Aramaic.
The following is a list of the oldest Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament that are still in existence.
•The Dead Sea Scrolls: date from 200 B.C. - 70 A.D. and contain the entire book of Isaiah and portions of every other Old Testament book but
•Geniza Fragments: portions the Old Testament in Hebrew and Aramaic, discovered in 1947 in an old synagogue in Cairo, Egypt, which date from about
•Ben Asher Manuscripts: five or six generations of this family made copies of the Old Testament using the Masoretic Hebrew text, from 700-950 A.D.
The following are examples of the Hebrew Masoretic text-type. ◦Aleppo Codex: contains the complete Old Testament and is dated around 950 A.D.
Unfortunately over one quarter of this Codex was destroyed in anti-Jewish riots in 1947.
◦Codex Leningradensis: The complete Old Testament in Hebrew copied by the last member of the Ben Asher family in A.D. 1008.
The Old Testament was translated very early into Aramaic and Greek.
•400 B.C. The Old Testament began to be translated into Aramaic. This translation is called the Aramaic Targums. This translation helped the Jewish
people, who began to speak Aramaic from the time of their captivity in Babylon, to understand the Old Testament in the language that they commonly
spoke. In the first century Palestine of Jesus' day, Aramaic was still the commonly spoken language. For example maranatha: "Our Lord has come," 1
Corinthians 16:22 is an example of an Aramaic word that is used in the New Testament.
•250 B.C. The Old Testament was translated into Greek. This translation is known as the Septuagint. It is sometimes designated "LXX" (which is Roman
numeral for "70") because it was believed that 70 to 72 translators worked to translate the Hebrew Old Testament in Greek. The Septuagint was often
used by New Testament writers when they quoted from the Old Testament. The LXX was translation of the Old Testament that was used by the early
The following is a list of the oldest Greek LXX translations of the Old Testament that are still in existence. ◦Chester Beatty Papyri: Contains nine
Old Testament Books in the Greek Septuagint and dates between 100-400 A.D.
◦Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus each contain almost the entire Old Testament of the Greek Septuagint and they both date around 350 A.D.
The New Testament
45- 95 A.D. The New Testament was written in Greek. The Pauline Epistles, the Gospel of Mark, the Gospel of Luke, and the book of Acts are all dated
from 45-63 A.D. The Gospel of John and the Revelation may have been written as late as 95 A.D.
There are over 5,600 early Greek Manuscripts of the New Testament that are still in existence. The oldest manuscripts were written on papyrus and the
later manuscripts were written on leather called parchment.
•125 A.D. The New Testament manuscript which dates most closely to the original autograph was copied around 125 A.D, within 35 years of the
original. It is designated "p 52" and contains a small portion of John 18. (The "p" stands for papyrus.)
•200 A.D. Bodmer p 66 a papyrus manuscript which contains a large part of the Gospel of John.
•200 A.D. Chester Beatty Biblical papyrus p 46 contains the Pauline Epistles and Hebrews.
•225 A.D. Bodmer Papyrus p 75 contains the Gospels of Luke and John.
•250-300 A.D. Chester Beatty Biblical papyrus p 45 contains portions of the four Gospels and Acts.
•350 A.D. Codex Sinaiticus contains the entire New Testament and almost the entire Old Testament in Greek. It was discovered by a German scholar
Tisendorf in 1856 at an Orthodox monastery at Mt. Sinai.
•350 A.D. Codex Vaticanus: [B] is an almost complete New Testament. It was cataloged as being in the Vatican Library since 1475.
Early translations of the New Testament can give important insight into the underlying Greek manuscripts from which they were translated.
•180 A.D. Early translations of the New Testament from Greek into Latin, Syriac, and Coptic versions began about 180 A.D.
•195 A.D. The name of the first translation of the Old and New Testaments into Latin was termed Old Latin, both Testaments having been translated
from the Greek. Parts of the Old Latin were found in quotes by the church father Tertullian, who lived around 160-220 A.D. in north Africa and wrote
treatises on theology.
•300 A.D. The Old Syriac was a translation of the New Testament from the Greek into Syriac.
•300 A.D. The Coptic Versions: Coptic was spoken in four dialects in Egypt. The Bible was translated into each of these four dialects.
•380 A.D. The Latin Vulgate was translated by St. Jerome. He translated into Latin the Old Testament from the Hebrew and the New Testament from
Greek. The Latin Vulgate became the Bible of the Western Church until the Protestant Reformation in the 1500's. It continues to be the authoritative
translation of the Roman Catholic Church to this day. The Protestant Reformation saw an increase in translations of the Bible into the common
languages of the people.
•Other early translations of the Bible were in Armenian, Georgian, and Ethiopic, Slavic, and Gothic.
•1380 A.D. The first English translation of the Bible was by John Wycliffe. He translated the Bible into English from the Latin Vulgate. This was a
translation from a translation and not a translation from the original Hebrew and Greek. Wycliffe was forced to translate from the Latin Vulgate
because he did not know Hebrew or Greek.
Printing greatly aided the transmission of the biblical texts.
•1456 A.D. Gutenberg produced the first printed Bible in Latin. Printing revolutionized the way books were made. From now on books could be
published in great numbers and at a lower cost.
•1514 A.D. The Greek New Testament was printed for the first time by Erasmus. He based his Greek New Testament from only five Greek manuscripts, the
oldest of which dated only as far back as the twelfth century. With minor revisions, Erasmus' Greek New Testament came to be known as the Textus
Receptus or the "received texts."
•1522 A. D. Polyglot Bible was published. The Old Testament was in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin and the New Testament in Latin and Greek.
Erasmus used the Polyglot to revise later editions of his New Testament. Tyndale made use of the Polyglot in his translation on the Old Testament into
English which he did not complete because he was martyred in 1534.
•1611 A.D. The King James Version into English from the original Hebrew and Greek. The King James translators of the New Testament used the Textus
Receptus as the basis for their translations.
•1968 A.D. The United Bible Societies 4th Edition of the Greek New Testament. This Greek New Testament made use of the oldest Greek manuscripts
which date from 175 A.D. This was the Greek New Testament text from which the NASV and the NIV were translated.
•1971 A.D. The New American Standard Version (NASV) was published. It makes use of the wealth of much older Hebrew and Greek manuscripts now
available that weren't available at the time of the translation of the KJV. Its wording and sentence structure closely follow the Greek in more of a
word for word style.
•1983 A.D. The New International Version (NIV) was published. It also made use of the oldest manuscript evidence. It is more of a
"thought-for-thought" translation and reads more easily than the NASV. ◦As an example of the contrast between word-for-word and thought-for-thought
translations, notice below the translation of the Greek word "hagios-holy"
NASV Hebrews 9:25. "...the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood not his own."
NIV Hebrews 9:25. "...the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own."
◦The NIV supplies "understood" information about the Day of Atonement, namely that the high priest's duties took place in the compartment of the
temple known specifically as the Most Holy Place. Note that the NASV simply says "holy place" reflecting the more literal translation of "hagios."
As with any ancient book transmitted through a number of handwritten manuscripts, the question naturally arises as to how confident can we be that we
have anything resembling the autograph. Let us now look at what evidences we have for the integrity of the New Testament manuscripts. Let us look at
the number of manuscripts and how close they date to the autographs of the Bible as compared with other ancient writings of similar age.
A.Tacitus, the Roman historian, wrote his Annals of Imperial Rome in about A.D. 116. Only one manuscript of his work remains. It was copied about 850
B.Josephus, a Jewish historian, wrote The Jewish War shortly after 70 A.D. There are nine manuscripts in Greek which date from 1000-1200 A.D. and one
Latin translation from around 400 A.D.
C.Homer's Iliad was written around 800 B.C. It was as important to ancient Greeks as the Bible was to the Hebrews. There are over 650 manuscripts
remaining but they date from 200 to 300 A.D. which is over a thousand years after the Iliad was written.
D.The Old Testament autographs were written 1450 - 400 B. C. 1.The Dead Sea Scrolls date between 200 B.C. to 70 A. D and date within 300 years from
when the last book of the Old Testament was written.
2.Two almost complete Greek LXX translations of the Old Testament date about 350 A. D.
3.The oldest complete Hebrew Old Testament dates about 950 A. D.
4.Genesis-Deuteronomy were written over 1200 years before the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Codex Vaticanus is an almost complete Greek translation of the Old Testament dating around 350 A.D. The Aleppo Codex is the oldest complete Old
Testament manuscript in Hebrew and was copied around 950 A.D. The Dead Sea Scrolls date from within 200-300 years from the last book of the Old
Testament. However since the five books of Moses were written about 1450- 1400 B.C. the Dead Sea Scrolls still come almost 1200 years after the first
books of the Old Testament were written.
E.The New Testament autographs were written between 45-95 A. D. 1.There are 5,664 Greek manuscripts some dating as early as 125 A. D. and an complete
New Testament that dates from 350 A. D.
2.8,000 to 10,000 Latin Vulgate manuscripts.
3.8,000 manuscripts in Ethiopic, Coptic, Slavic, Syriac, and Armenian.
4.In addition, the complete New Testament could be reproduced from the quotes that were made from it by the early church fathers in their letters and
Skeptics and liberal Christian scholars both seek to date the New Testament books as late first century or early second century writings. They contend
that these books were not written by eyewitnesses but rather by second or third hand sources. This allowed for the development of what they view as
myths concerning Jesus. For example, they would deny that Jesus actually foretold the destruction of Jerusalem. Rather they would contend that later
Christian writers "put these words into his mouth."
A.Many of the New Testament books claim to be written by eyewitnesses.1.The Gospel of John claims to be written by the disciple of the Lord. Recent
archeological research has confirmed both the existence of the Pool of Bethesda and that it had five porticoes as described in John 5:2. This correct
reference to an incidental detail lends credibility to the claim that the Gospel of John was written by John who as an eyewitness knew Jerusalem
before it was destroyed in 70 A. D.
2.Paul signed his epistles with his own hand. He was writing to churches who knew him. These churches were able to authenticate that these epistles
had come from his hands (Galatians 6:11). Clement an associate of Paul's wrote to the Corinthian Church in 97 A. D. urging them to heed the epistle
that Paul had sent them.
B.The following facts strongly suggest that both the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts were written prior to 65 A.D. This lends credibility to the
author's (Luke) claim to be an eyewitness to Paul's missionary journeys. This would date Mark prior to 65 A.D. and the Pauline epistles between 49-63
A.D.1.Acts records the beginning history of the church with persecutions and martyrdoms being mentioned repeatedly. Three men; Peter, Paul, and James
the brother of Jesus all play leading roles throughout the book. They were all martyred by 67 A.D., but their martyrdoms are not recorded in Acts.
2.The church in Jerusalem played a central role in the Book of Acts, but the destruction of the city in 70 A.D. was not mentioned. The Jewish
historian Josephus cited the siege and destruction of Jerusalem as befalling the Jews because of their unjust killing of James the brother of
3.The Book of Acts ends with Paul in Rome under house arrest in 62 A.D. In 64 A.D., Nero blamed and persecuted the Christians for the fire that burned
down the city of Rome. Paul himself was martyred by 65 A.D. in Rome. Again, neither the terrible persecution of the Christians in Rome nor Paul's
martyrdom are mentioned.
The earliest manuscripts we have of major portions of the New Testament are p 45, p 46, p66, and p 75, and they date from 175-250 A. D. The early
church fathers (97-180 A.D.) bear witness to even earlier New Testament manuscripts by quoting from all but one of the New Testament books. They are
also in the position to authenticate those books, written by the apostles or their close associates, from later books such as the gospel of Thomas
that claimed to have been written by the apostles, but were not.
A.Clement (30-100 A.D.) wrote an epistle to the Corinthian Church around 97 A.D. He reminded them to heed the epistle that Paul had written to them
years before. Recall that Clement had labored with Paul (Philippians 4:3). He quoted from the following New Testament books: Luke, Acts, Romans, 1
Corinthians, Ephesians, Titus, 1 and 2 Peter, Hebrews, and James.
B.The apostolic fathers Ignatius (30-107 A.D.), Polycarp (65-155 A.D.), and Papias (70-155 A.D.) cite verses from every New Testament book except 2
and 3 John. They thereby authenticated nearly the entire New Testament. Both Ignatius and Polycarp were disciples of the apostle John.
C.Justin Martyr, (110-165 A.D.), cited verses from the following 13 books of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1
Corinthians, Galatians, 2 Thessalonians, Hebrews, 1 and 2 Peter, and Revelation.
D.Irenaeus, (120-202 A.D.), wrote a five volume work Against Heresies in which,1.He quoted from every book of the New Testament but 3 John.
2.He quoted from the New Testament books over 1,200 times.
Many scholars have spent a lifetime of study of the textual variants. The following is the conclusion of the importance of these variants as they
relate to the integrity of the New Testament text.
A.There are over 200,000 variants in the New Testament alone. How do these variants effect our confidence that the New Testament has been faithfully
handed down to us?
B.These 200,000 variants are not as large as they seem. Remember that every misspelled word or an omission of a single word in any of the 5,600
manuscript would count as a variant.
C.Johann Bengel 1687-1752 was very disturbed by the 30,000 variants that had recently been noted in Mill's edition of the Greek Testament. After
extended study he came to the conclusion that the variant readings were fewer in number than might have been expected and that they did not shake any
article of Christian doctrine.
D.Westcott and Hort, in the 1870's, state that the New Testament text remains over 98.3 percent pure no matter whether one uses the Textus Receptus or
their own Greek text which was largely based on Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus.
E.James White, on p. 40 of his book The King James Only Controversy states: "The reality is that the amount of variation between the two most
extremely different manuscripts of the New Testament would not fundamentally altar the message of the Scriptures! I make this statement (1) fully
aware of the wide range of textual variants in the New Testament, and (2) painfully aware of the strong attacks upon those who have made similar
statements in the past."
F.Scholars Norman Geisler and William Nix conclude, "The New Testament, then, has not only survived in more manuscripts that any other book from
antiquity, but it has survived in a purer form than any other great book-a form that is 99.5 percent pure."
G.When textual critics look at all 5,600 Greek New Testament manuscripts they find that they can group these manuscripts into text-types or families
with other similar manuscripts. There are four text-types.
Figure 1. Age differences between Alexandrian and Byzantine manuscripts.
1.The Alexandrian text-type, found in most papyri and in Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus all of which date prior to 350 A.D.
2.The Western text-type, found both in Greek manuscripts and in translations into other languages, especially Latin.
3.The Byzantine text-type, found in the vast majority of later Greek manuscripts. Over 90 percent of all 5,600 Greek New Testament manuscripts are of
the Byzantine text-type. The Byzantine text-type is "fuller" or "longer" than other text-types, and this is taken as evidence of a later origin. The
reason that we have so many manuscripts of the Byzantine text-type is because the Byzantine Empire remained Greek speaking and Orthodox Christian
until Islamic Turks overran its capital, Constantinople, in 1453. Constantinople is now called Istanbul and is Turkey's largest city, although no
longer its capital.
4.The Caesaarean text-type, disputed by some, found in p 45 and a few other manuscripts.
The reason the King James version differ from the NASV and the NIV in a number of readings is because it is translated from a different text-type than
A.The King James Version was translated from Erasmus' printed Greek New Testament which made use of only five Greek manuscripts the oldest of which
dated to the 1,100 A.D. These manuscripts were examples of the Byzantine text-type.
B.The NASV and the NIV make use of the United Bible Societies 4th Edition 1968 of the New Testament. This edition of the Greek New Testament relies
more heavily on the Alexandrian text-type while making use of all 5,664 Greek manuscripts. The reasons that the NASV and NIV find the Alexandrian
text-type more reliable are the following: 1.This text-type uses manuscripts date from 175-350 A.D. which includes most of the papyri, Codex
Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus.
2.The church fathers from 97-350 A.D. used this text-type when they quoted the New Testament.
3.The early translations of the New Testament used the Alexandrian text-type.
edit on 04/30/2011 by milkyway12 because: (no reason given)