Knowing the history of the Holy Bible helps us to solidify and establish the foundation of our faith. Despite having 66 books written by 40 different men over a period of approximately 1500 years, the Holy Bible is consistent in tone and its message throughout.
Every chapter fits perfectly with every other one. This could only have happened if there was one singular mind behind the whole project - God. The Bible is comprised of the Old Testament with 39 books written in Hebrew (with a little Aramaic), while the New Testament contains 27 books written in Greek.
The history of the Holy Bible can also be considered a history of old manuscripts from which we obtain our present day copy of the Scriptures.
For the Old Testament, the following major manuscripts exist:
Regarding the New Testament, well over 5,000 early Greek manuscripts still exist today, the most complete being:
From 180 A.D. to 380 A.D., the Bible was translated into Latin, Syriac, and Coptic. The Latin Vulgate, translated by St. Jerome from Hebrew and Greek manuscripts was the translation most widely used by the Catholic Church and is still considered the authoritative translation.
The Protestant Reformation brought about an increase in translating the Holy Bible into the language of the common people, including Armenian, Georgian, Slavic, Gothic, and Ethiopic.
The first English translation was made in c.1380 by John Wycliffe, who used the Latin Vulgate, making it a translation of a translation.
Until the advent of the printing press, most people could only dream of owning their own copy of God’s Word. Occasionally, the very wealthy owned a hand-copied Bible, but for the most part only the Church had copies of the Holy Bible. Then the printing press was invented and Bible history took a new direction:
The Early Church fathers followed three simple rules for determining which writings would be included in the Canon of New Testament and which would be excluded:
Since the first Bible rolled off the first printing press, the goal of Bible scholars, translators, and missionaries has been to make the Bible available in every language. A daunting task, nonetheless, groups such as the Bible and Foreign Bible Society (now simply called the Bible Society) and Wycliffe Bible Translators have dedicated their lives and fortunes to that worthy cause.
Here are some basic statistics behind the Bible and the work done on it over the years.
Thanks to the computer, the Bible is available online, where people who speak Malayalam, Kurdi, Nepali, Portuguese, Farsi, Hindi, Somali, and 28 more languages are able to read the Bible in their own language on a computer.
As it says in Rom. 10:17, “…faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” It is God who guided the history of the Holy Bible, ensuring that it was translated into the language of the land whose people would eventually carry it around the world with them.
The history of the Holy Bible would not be complete without acknowledging that no other book in the history of mankind has ever changed lives, influenced decisions, and been the foundation for the establishment laws and principals as this book. From the beginning to the end, the Holy Bible has been quoted more often, in more books, plays, and movies than any other book. It has been carried into battle, clutched in hands at funerals, been splashed with tears and even gone into space, and it still changes lives today.