History and Lineage of the English Bible.

History and Lineage of the English Bible.

Submitted by:               Hany Nabil Sadik (hanimax06@yahoo.com)

Advisor:                       Dr. Samuel Galloza

Course:                        Introduction to the Bible II

Submission date:          23/07/2008


Course assignment A


1: Origins


Archaic Hebrew

As early as 1450BC Moses started writing the first five Old Testament books (Pentateuch), then more than other thirty writers were lead by the Holy spirit to write the rest of the sacred Old Testament books till the year 400BC, during this long period of time they used the old Hebrew language or the Archaic Hebrew to write most of the Old Testament except some parts that were written in Aramaic.

The writers of the scriptures used many different materials in writing such as stones, leather, wooden tablets, scrolls.

 The Archaic Hebrew language is a very primitive stage lacking long and artificially constructed periods. The sentences were short and were connected with one another by the conjunction ‘and’ which can mean different things , but it was not hard for a Hebrew fluent writer at that time to read the language. However Archaic Hebrew is famous of being called the language of poetry especially of religious poetry as we can find many parts of the Old Testament were written as poetry for example: Job, Palms, Song of Songs.


As mentioned in the previous period of the Bible that some parts of the Old Testament were written in Aramaic, and these parts are: two words in (Genesis 31:47), one verse in (Jeremiah 10:11, 3) six chapters in Daniel (2:4b—7:28) and many chapters in Ezra (4:8—6:18; 7:12-26).

 The Aramaic language is akin to Hebrew for they both belong to one family of languages ( Semitic languages), and actually the influence of the Aramaic language on the Jews nation begins very early because Assyria was always the northern neighbor of Israel, but due to the Babylonian exile around the 6th century BC and the fact that Aramaic was the language of the Persian empire, Aramaic gradually gained predominance displacing local languages like Hebrew from being spoken and written among local common people.

 Square Script Hebrew

between the 6th and the 2nd century BC the early Aramaic alphabet was gradually replaced by the Hebrew square script which is also known as Aramaic alphabet or the square Aramaic, it was apparently derived from Aramaic alphabet rather than from early or archaic Hebrew but was strongly influenced by the early Hebrew script, and this square script can be seen in the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1947, it is thought that this scrolls are associated with a religious  group of Jews called the ‘assenes‘ who lived in the north western shore of the Dead Sea during the second and first century BC.

 Greek Septuagint

By the Year 330 B.C. Alexander the Great conquered the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East . This part of the world was given a new common language which was ‘Greek‘ and as the years passed the fact of the existence of a Jewish community in every major city of this Greek speaking world raised the need of a Greek translation of the Old Testament because the Jewish people in these cities by the time lost the ability to read and speak Hebrew and Aramaic.


At last in the year 250 B.C. the Old Testament was translated into Greek, it was said that 72 Jewish elders were brought to Alexandria to do this translation which was called the Septuagint LXX, the Septuagint contained all the Old Testament books but with different order than the Hebrew bible and closer to the order used in our Christian Old Testament today. It included other books called the Apocrypha like Esdras and Tobit that are not included in the Hebrew Bible, and modern Protestant’s Bibles.

The Septuagint gives a fairly accurate translation of the Pentateuch but for the prophetical books like Isaiah the translation was obviously poor and in need of correction. Although the Septuagint translation wasn’t perfect, it is still of great importance, and this is due to the fact that it was the formal Old Testament for the newly established Christian churches in the first three centuries, since it was used long before this time in all Jewish synagogues across the ancient Greek world.

 Massoretic Text

Around the year 500A.D. various Jews scholars dedicated themselves to the purpose of preserving the Hebrew Old Testament text from being altered, they were known as the Massoretes, their name was derived from the Hebrew word “Massorah” which means “tradition” and that is because the developed their own authoritative tradition of the text, they opened two schools one at Tiberius (near the sea coast of Galilee in the west) and the other at Babylon in the east.

 The Massoretes took a lot of precautions and notes in order to avoid any mistakes or alteration while coping the Old Testament Hebrew text, they even introduced vowel points, fixed accent to ensure correct pronunciation , explained the meaning of strange or obscure words, supplied very important marginal readings to remove any obscurity, they were so careful with the text so that they even counted the words and letters of the Old Testament, and as Lightfoot says, ” Indeed their labor were so productive and their contributions are so large that our text today is often referred to as ‘the Massoretic text'” (Lightfoot, p.92).

 Writings in Greek about Jesus

Although Jesus himself spoke Aramaic not Greek, but the Apostles and the New Testament writers who wrote about Jesus used the Greek language, all the New Testament books  were written in the Greek languages and that is probably because Greek was the common and the universal language that was understood by the common man in the Roman Empire  during the time of the 1st century and the writers of the Gospel wanted their message to reach every human alive at that time.

 During a very short period of time (50-95A.D.) all the 27 books of the New Testament were written in Greek, copied by hand and circulated among churches (Colossians 4:16 ) throughout the Roman Empire, almost most of these books were written while most of the Apostles or their early disciples were still living, thus we have a high confidence and trust in these writings as the New Testament of our lord Jesus Christ.


Origen (185-254 AD.), who was one of the greatest scholars of the early church corrected and reproduced the Septuagint text in the fifth column of his Hexapla‘, marking the texts that occurred in the Septuagint without being in the original; adding according to Theodotion’s version, and distinguishing with asterisks the texts of the original which were not in the Septuagint; adopting from the variants of the Greek Version the texts which were closest to the Hebrew; and, finally, transposing the text where the order of the Septuagint did not correspond with the Hebrew order. His recession, copied by Pamphilus  and Eusebius of Caesarea, is called the ‘hexaplar‘, to distinguish it from the common, vulgate, koine, or ‘ante-hexaplar’.



 Eusebius of Caesarea

By the 4th century Constantine the Great emperor of the Roman empire ordered the writing of 50 Bibles under the supervision of his religious advisor Eusebius of Caesarea, so Eusebius started his researches to determine the Books that should be included in the New Testament according to the general consensus of the church at that time , the result was that the New Testament that he produced included the same 27 books that we have in our today’s New Testament.

 The importance of this New Testament is that since it was produced by the order of  the emperor so it is somehow regarded as an official determination of the canonical books of the New Testament in that early time.

 Latin Codex

Although in the early Christian church at most of the parts of the Roman empire, even at Rome, Christians spoke in the Greek language, thus the Septuagint was used in the churches, but for the Carthage citizens that lived in the province of Africa their language was primarily Latin, so in that province they started by the end of the second century to translate the Bible into their Language ‘Latin‘ and this early Latin translations were from the Septuagint and not from the original Hebrew thus it included the Apocryphal books.

 All the Latin versions that were translated before the Vulgate (405A.D.)  are now commonly designated as the Old Latin  (Vetus Latina). The term Itala, formerly used and applied by Augustine to one of these versions, is rightly avoided. And that term designates a number of versions rather than a version, for if there was a single early version at all, it was probably not the work of one man, but rather the result of a process of accretion and revision, book being added to book and the resulting whole subjected to constant revision in various localities to meet local standards and needs.

 Jerome’s Latin Vulgate

In the Forth centaury Damasus the bishop of Rome called on Jerome to revise the Old Latin Bible, Jerome was a very clever scholar he began by translating from the Septuagint LXX, but then he became convinced that a satisfactory version couldn’t be made except by translating from the Hebrew Bible for the Old Testament and from the Greek for the New Testament, so he began to translate from the original languages, but followed the Septuagint division of the Bible not the Hebrew Bible division.

 Jerome started his translation in 384A.D. and finished by 405A.D., his translation came to be called the Vulgate or “common” Bible for it had become the Standard Bible for more than a thousand years and was made the official bible of the Roman Catholic church, the Latin Vulgate included the Old and the New Testament.

 Although the Latin Vulgate version included 15 Apocryphal books but in fact Jerome rejected them as part of the canon and stated that the Apocryphal books in no sense a portion of God’s. After his death they were added to his translation of the Bible.

 Wycliffe ‘s first English Bible and all subsequent English versions followed the Latin Vulgate division of the Bible (Law, History, Poetry, Prophecy).


 2: Beginnings

 Wycliffe Bible First English

During the middle ages the Roman Catholic church insisted that the Bible shouldn’t be translated from Latin to any other language and they consider the Latin Vulgate as an inspired version.

 In England, John Wycliffe (l329-l385 A.D.) who opposed the power of the Pope and the Roman Catholic church was convinced that real reformation can’t take place in England except by translating the Bible to the English language of the common man, thus  Wycliffe with the help of one of his student started translating the bible (the Old and the New Testament) from the Latin Vulgate, he finished his translation in 1382A.D. it included the Apocryphal books since it was translated from Vulgate but another second edition of his translation included a preface that acknowledged Jerome’s warning of these books .

Although the Roman church denounced Wycliffe as a heretic and  tried to burn all the copies of Wycliffe’s Bible and although his translation was produced by hand copying before the invention of the printing press, but 170 copies of his translation survived till today.

 Gutenberg Bible

The invention of the printing press was one of the main features of the Renaissance, Johannes Gutenberg (1396-1468) invented the printing press. The Gutenberg Bible was published in 1455A.D., and this Bible was the first book to be printed in a printing press and not copied by hand, it was done in Latin from the Latin Vulgate version, thus it included the Old and the New Testaments with the Apocrypha in two big volumes.

 Textus Receptus

The Textus Receptus or the ‘Received Text’ is the name of the first edition of the Greek New Testament text that was published by the famous Dutch scholar Desiderius Erasmus in 1516A.D. it was a Latin/Greek version, Erasmus work was based on a few Greek manuscripts from the Byzantine text ( a revision of the New Testament text made in the fourth century A.D. and later.), other editions of Textus Receptus were followed by Erasmus and other scholars.

 Because of the versions of the Textus Receptus the Bible was widely translated into different languages and spread throughout Europe, also the Textus Receptus was a basic guide for the translators of the famous ‘King James Version’ later in the 17th century.

 Tyndale: NT

William Tyndale (1494-1536A.D.) was a student of Erasmus and was affected greatly by the teaching of Luther, so his life dream became to translate the Bible into English language so that the Common man can read and understand the word of God, Tyndale was a brilliant scholar at Oxford and Cambridge, he tried first to accomplish his dream within the church of England but the Bishop of London refused his request, so by the help of some English merchants he traveled to Europe and there he completed his English translation of the New Testament in Feb. 1526, and soon by the same year copies were smuggled into England and sold there.

 Tyndale produced his work by translating the New Testament from the Greek origins not the Vulgate, his Bible was the first English Bible translated from the original Language, he also translated some books of the Old Testament from Hebrew , like for instance Genesis and Jonan.

 Other major English translations of the Bible appeared in the 86 years before the King James Version in 1611 but Tyndale’s was the most influential.

 Myles Coverdale

Before Tyndale’s death King Henry’s Secretary of State, Thomas Cromwell, had Myles Coverdale publish a complete English Bible translation, Myles Coverdale (1488-1569) was a friend and an associate of Tyndale, thus he depended greatly in his translation on Tyndale’s translation specially in the New Testament, but he translated most parts of the Old Testament by himself using the Latin rather than the Hebrew,  in 1535A.D. Coverdale finished his work, and the first complete English Bible was published and printed in England.

 This version included the Apocryphal books but separated from the rest of the Old Testament after Malachi with a separate title page that included a warning from these books.

 Thomas Mathew

Actually the Christian community  of those days in Englandwas not satisfied with Coverdale Bible, even Coverdale himself had expressed the hope that an improved translation should follow his own. Accordingly in 1537A.D. probably at the suggestion of, and with some support from, Cromwell King Henry’s Secretary of State, a large folio Bible appeared, as edited and dedicated to the King, by Thomas Matthew. This name was not the real name of the author but Because he was a disciple of Tyndale ( who had been declared as a heretic and put to death) John Rogers Under this pen name of Thomas Mathew published his own version of the complete English Bible, it was a revision of the translation of both Tyndale and Coverdale and it also included two-thousand marginal notes.

Mathew’s Translation was with great influence on the later versions.


In 1539A.D. Richard Taverner produced his version of the Bible that was a revision of Thomas Mathew Bible, he gave a number of improved renderings of the New Testament,  but his version had no practical influence on the later versions.

 Great Bible

This Bible got it’s name from it’s size it was big in volume (the pages were 15inches long and 9inches broad), it was actually made for the use in churches, and placed in every church in England according to  the orders of King Henry VIII, so that the common people can read the Bible in churches so it is considered the 1st authorized version of the Bible in English, this version was produced by Myles Coverdale in 1539A.D it was a revision of Thomas Mathew’s version The Great Bible shows considerable improvement upon Tyndale in the New Testament, and upon Coverdale in the Old Testament, this version included the Apocrypha but called it Hagiogripha, meaning ‘Holy Writings’.

 Second  edition of this Bible Appeared in 1540A.D., and was called Cranmer’s Bible and this is probably because of the preface that Archbishop Cranmer wrote for it.


Trent Council started in 1546A.D., one of the major decisions of this Council was declaring the unique authority of the Latin Vulgate text over other reformers editions, and this of course was due to the great number of edition of the Bible with different languages that were produced during the 16th century but the Council didn’t decide which printed edition is to be the standard or authorized version of the Vulgate, it was not until 1590A.D. that Pope SixtusV entrusted the work of producing a standard official Latin printed version of the Bible to a committee under Cardinal Caraffa, but he himself strenuously cooperated. Manuscripts and printed editions were examined and the result was published as the Sixtine edition of the Vulgate by the Vatican press in 1590.

 After the Death of SixtusV In 1592A.D. the Jesuit Bellarmine persuaded Clement VIII to recall the Sixtine edition and prepare another standard Vulgate in 1592.

 So in this year (1592A.D.) appeared the Clementine edition with a preface by Bellarmine asserting that Sixtus had himself determined to recall his edition on account of printers’ errors. The pains and penalties of the Sixtine Bull were evaded by printing the book as a Sixtine edition, actually printing the name of Sixtus instead of Clement on the title page.

 Stephanus’ TR

As it was stated previously that other scholars followed Desiderius Erasmus in producing editions of the Greek new Testament text the most notable edition was produced by Robert Stephanus, the French editor and printer, whose published text in 1546 was practically identical with that of Erasmus but better in accuracy and had major landmark in interpretation. there were three subsequent editions in 1549, 1550, and 1551.


In 1553A.D. Mary Tudor became the Queen of England and she was an enthusiastically  Roman Catholic so the whole religious climate in England was changed and a lot of Protestant leaders and Bible translators fled to Geneva in Switzerland and in the year 1560A.D. some scholars who were in Geneva led by William Whittingham who was a colleague of John Calvin published the Geneva English Bible which they could sell easily in England after the Death of Queen Mary and the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

 The Geneva Bible was better than the previous translations in many ways: first the scholars were able to translate from the original languages, second it was the first Bible to use the verse division, it also included commentary notes, and third it was sold at a reasonable price both in Geneva and in England, soon it became the most popular English version in England which the common people read in their homes, but the church of England didn’t accept it to be read in church because of its Calvinistic bias. The Geneva Bible placed the Apocryphal books separate from the other Old testament books and also later editions appeared without the Apocrypha at all.


The popularity and the quality of the Geneva version over the authorized version of the church (Great Bible) at that time caused Matthew Parker, Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, and eight bishops revised the Great Bible, issuing the Bishop’s Bible in 1568A.D. to be used as a better authorized version in the churches it was the second authorized English Bible.

 Although the Bishop’s Bible was better than the previous authorized version but it’s quality was no way to be compared with the popular Geneva Bible and it failed to compete it.

 Douay / Rheim

The need of an authorized Catholic English translation of the Bible had risen because of the competition between the reformers to produce better editions and translations of the Bible, and it is obvious that if the Catholic church will declare an authorized English Version of the Bible this Version would better be done by Catholic scholars, so the work began among some English Catholic scholars led by Gregory Martin at the English college of Rheim (at north France), the result was that they issued the New Testament edition in 1582A.D., and the Old Testament at Douay (France) in 1609A.D. (for the college was moved from Rheim to Douay). The translation was not from the original languages but from the Latin Vulgate, it was poor and so Latinized that it seem to need a translation for itself.


It is the third and most famous authorized English version of the Bible, its story began in 1604A.D. during a conference which King James, the King of England called for in order to discuss the religious tolerance between the Bishops and the Puritans and during this conference Dr. John Reynolds of Oxford discussed the desirability of having an

authorized version of the English Bible that would be acceptable to all parties within the church. The idea was enthusiastically received  by the King, who caught at the suggestion of a new authorized and accepted version that could be used in public and private, so according to the King’s will, fifty four Protestant scholars skilled in Greek and Hebrew were selected and started translating the Bible in 1607A.D..

 The scholars were divided into six working groups two atWestminster, two at

Oxfordand two at Cambridge. Each group was given detailed instructions, the scholars were to use the Bishop’s Bible as the basic version as long as it adhered to the original Greek and Hebrew. They were also to consult the other translations—Tyndale, Matthew, Coverdale, Great Bible and the Geneva Bible. The work of each group was to be examined by the other groups. Thus, this translation was to be the work of the revisers as a whole, not the work of one person or group.

 The work continued for more than two years and finally in 1611A.D., the first copies of the new version were printed. It was dedicated to King James and on its title page were the words, “Appointed to be read in the Churches.” Other revised edition appeared in 1613A.D. with more than four hundred variations from the original first printed edition and also after that appeared other revised editions in 1615A.D,1629A.D., and 1638A.D., and also in 1762A.D.The 1762 revision is what most people now know as the King James Version.

 From the time of  William Tyndale until 1611, seven major English translations were made: the Coverdale Bible, the Matthew Bible, the Taverner Bible, the Great Bible (the first authorized English Version), the Geneva Bible (the most popular among the English common people), the Bishop’s Bible (the second authorized English version) and the Douay / Rheim Bible. King James Version, though, surpassed all these versions and become the standard English Bible and the bible choice of English speaking Christians for the next 350 years.

 At first the King James Version included the Apocrypha but some later versions appeared without the Apocrypha, and in 1826, the British and Foreign Bible Society, formed in Great Britain chose to end the practice of distributing editions of the Bible containing

the Apocrypha, so from that date till now the King James Version never been sold with the Apocrypha in both England and America.

 3: post KING JAMES


Although the King James Version was the most popular and unique in quality among other previous versions for hundreds of years, but in fact it was issued more than three hundred  years ago, and since that time many changes took place in: archaeology, the discovery of earlier and better manuscripts, better Greek and Hebrew understanding and translations specially in the nineteenth century, also the changes in English words and expressions with time, all these changes emphasized the need for more revised editions of the Bible.

 Robert Aitken

As early as in 1782 Robert Aitken published a version of the Bible, actually it was the King James Version printed in America, it also did not include the Apocrypha.

 Textus Receptus (TR)

During the 19th century many archaeological discoveries took place and a lot of earlier Greek manuscripts were available to Bible scholars that were not in the time of the 17th century and that led some scholars to revise what is called the’ Received Text’ or the TR and produce a more accurate Greek text. In 1881 Westcott and Hort published their Greek text which considered as the definitive TR  in which most of the modern translations are based on. Also in 1904 Dr. E. Nestle has edited the Nestle Text, which was based on the most famous texts of  Tishendorf, Westcott and Hort and the United Bible Society texts. And it seems likely to become the Received Text of the twentieth century, while the old text being the old Textus Receptus, upon which the King James Version was based.


As it was necessary after these archeological discovers and also the advancing that happened in the field of Greek and Hebrew understanding, to produce a new and more accurate Greek text it was obviously that the need for a new revised edition of King James Version among the English speaking Christians was so essential not only because of the Greek but also because of the changes that took place in the English language from the time of King James till the 19th century. So in 1870, a noticeable motion was launched inBritainand theUnited Statesto make a major revision of the King James Version. A group of 27 Hebrew scholars from many ofBritain’s denominations worked on the Old Testament, while 27 Greek scholars worked on the New Testament. Two similar groups of American scholars also participated. It was agreed that any suggestions made by the Americans, but not preferred by the British, would be noted in an appendix.

 The Old Testament scholars corrected mistranslations of Hebrew words using as their base the Masoretic Hebrew text. The New Testament scholars made thousands of changes based on better textual evidence. The New Testament was not based on the Textus Receptus but rather on the more recent textual work of men like Westcott and Hort,.

 In 1881 their work on the New Testament was issued. Four years later on May, 1885, the entire Bible was completed with publication of the Old Testament (The Revised version didn’t include the Apocrypha among its books).

 American Standard

The Revised version made by the English scholars was made mostly for the British  Christian community rather than the Americans, thus it included a lot of British expressions and spelling that the Americans were not familiar with, for this reason the revised version didn’t become popular in America , and for this same reason a group of American scholars who had participated in the production of the Revised version headed by J.H. Thayer produced their own revised version of the king James Version that could suit the American community, in 1901, they published the American Standard Version(ASV) that did not differ greatly from the Revised Version except in expressions, spelling, and so on in order to fit for the American community. The American Standard Version(ASV) was famous for its literal accuracy and was favored by preachers and teachers of the Bible, but others felt that it is too stiff .

 English Hexaplex

7 column printing of Greek from different Greek manuscripts plus 6 English, it included the Old and the New Testaments

 20 Century NT

At the early beginning of the 20th century many translations and private versions appeared for the New Testament, a notable translation is the Twentieth Century New Testament (TCNT) that was issued in 1904, the main case that caused the appearance of this translation is in the discovery that the English of the KJV, though appreciated by the more educated reader for its antique charm, is in many passages difficult for those who are less educated, or does not make any sense to them. Also the fact that the New testament was written not in special Greek but in the every day language of the people at that time, and therefore should in the same way be translated to everyday English.

The constant effort of the translators was to exclude all words and phrases not used in current English. However, an older phraseology was used in rendering poetical passages and quotations from the Old Testament and in the language of prayer.

This version is not a revision of an older one, but was made directly from the Greek. It is not a paraphrase and is more than a literal translation. Emphasis was placed on every word, the translators followed the text of Westcott and Hort which is considered the most definitive Greek text.

Riverside NT

Now we are in the 20th century and the main case or argument was that the New testament was written not in special Greek but in the every day language of the people at that time, and therefore should in the same way be translated to everyday English, in 1923 the Riverside New Testament was released, the translator of this version, William G. Ballantine, felt that people should have the New Testament in their every day language. despite the majesty and the beauty of the King James Version, it was at this time three hundred years behind the times. Since it was printed, scholars have provided us a more correct copy of the Greek original and a clearer understanding of its meaning than the translators of the 17th century possessed. Also over three centuries many English familiar words have been forgotten while many other have taken on new significations. 

The translation was made directly from the original Greek. Nestle’s text which is considered the Received Text of the twentieth century was generally followed. However, he also used The Twentieth Century New Testament, Weymouth’s New Testament in Modern Speech, and other modern translations. Proper names were left as they were in the American Revised Version. It was written in paragraph form with no verse numbering, but with chapter numbers in Roman numerals.


 Revised Standard

The desire to correct the stiffness of the American standard version, and also to include revisions and corrections according to the very important new discoveries of manuscripts at that time which were the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls and the Chester Beaty papyri, ignited 32 protestant and catholic scholars to produce a new Revised version of the ASV, they issued the New Testament in 1946, and the Old Testament in 1952.

 This version succeeded to be readable and was in the everyday English, but it was of a liberal bias, and the liberal ideas appeared in many parts in the translation, one of the most famous is the translation of Isaiah 7:14 (for the translators translated the Hebrew word to ‘young woman’ instead of ‘virgin’). Also the translators omitted the final paragraph of Mark16, and didn’t differentiate between the scared text and their added words that should be written in italic, for these reasons the RSV was rejected by most conservative Christians.

 Berkeley Bible

in 1945, Gerrit Verkuyl of Berkeley (California), heading a group of 20 scholars. published a New Testament. The complete Bible ( Old and New Testaments) was published in 1959 and a revised edition was issued in 1969 with the title, “The Modern Language Bible: The New Berkeley Version in Modern English.” The translators attempted to maintain a balance between “freedom” which makes a passage live and “literalness” which remains close to the original wording. It was regarded as a helpful translation at a time when modern language translations were not very available

 New English

This is a liberal bias translation, as the Revised Standard Version appeared in America the New English appeared in Britain, in 1961, the New Testament was issued and the complete Bible with the Apocrypha was accomplished by 1970.

 Similar to the RSV the New English Bible carried a lot of the liberal ideas and translations, for instance: Isaiah 7:14, and also the absence of italics to mark additions by the translators, and the role of the Holy Spirit in creation is denied in Genesis 1:2, for the version translates “wind swept“.

 Vulgate 1965

In 1965 a Commission was established by the Second Vatican Council to revise the Vulgate  in order to produce a new authorized revise of the Vulgate while maintaining its  old Latin style to be used officially in the Roman Catholic churches for reading and liturgy.The Commission issued its work in eight annotated sections, inviting criticism from Catholic scholars as the sections were published. The Latin Psalter was published in 1969; the New Testament was completed by 1971 and the entire Vulgate was published in 1979. A second edition was published in 1986.

This Vulgate is the authorized version of the Roman Catholic church today for liturgy and further reading and some times called the ‘Nova Vulgata’.

New American Standard Bible

In 1960 the Lockman Foundation had more than 50 conservative Protestant scholars to work out a new translation based on the clarification of the American Standard Version (1901),  the work was done and the New American Standard Version (NASB) was published in 1971, the translators depended on the Nestle’s Text and also referred to some of the papyrus manuscripts and recent studies of the New Testament text. Generally, the Old Testament committee used Kittel’s Hebrew Text.

 The NASB translation is famous of being literal and accurate more than most of other modern translations, it translated the tenses of the Greek verbs so that the English reader can understand the tense in his language, on the other hand it is not a very up to date translation. 

Living Bible

The Living Bible was published in 1971, it is a work of one man, Kenneth N. Taylor whose intention was to produce an easy English translation of the Bible that even a child could understand, the author honestly confess that his version is to be a Bible paraphrase not a translation. In fact it contains the ideas and the interpretation of the author in many verses which is not in many cases the actual intention of the writer of the Scriptures, however it can be useful but not to be used alone, but in conjunction with another trusted version like for example the NIV or NASB, some would suggest that it will be better valued if placed on a commentary shelf rather than with Bible translations or even with Bible paraphrases.

 Good News (TEV)

The Good News Bible or Today’s English Version (TEV) was published in 1966, this translation or version is the work of Mr. Robert G. Bratcher with the help of other six scholars, its language is easy and attractive and it succeeded very much to be readable and popular due to the fact that 35 million copies sold within the first six years of publication. Unfortunately the version is not a good translation of the Bible because of its paraphrase style which avoids precise and intentional meaning, such as in Romans 3:25; I John 4:10, where “propitiation” is evasively described as, “the means by which people’s sins are forgiven.” and also the author changed of the word “blood” to other words 16 times in reference to the blood of Christ and 20 times in reference to other blood than Christ’s trying to eliminate the idea of propitiation by the blood of Christ.

 New International (NIV)

The work in this translation began in 1967 , the New Testament was finished in 1973, and the whole Bible was completed in 1978, more than one hundred conservative protestant scholars from different countries (USA, New Zealand , Canada,…), worked together in committees to produce this Version, the translation is some how accurate more accurate than other modern translations, but not as accurate as the NASB.

 The NIV translators sought to make a version that was midway between a literal rendering (such as the NASB) and a free paraphrase (such as the Living Bible). Their goal was to express in modern English the thought of the original writers. It was actually a ‘thought for thought’ translation rather than a ‘word for word translation’, thus in many verses the translators deviate from the original intention of the scripture.

New King James

In 1979 ,119 conservative scholars were assembled by Thomas Nelson Publishers to produce a new version of the Bible which is a clarification of the KJV, in 1982 the translators led by Dr.Arthur Farstad produced a new version (NKJV) of the old King James Version, which is more easy in its language and without the hard words and the old and ambiguous expressions, on the other hand they used the same Textus Receptus of the old KJV as their basic Greek text, ignoring all the modern Greek Texts that were issued latterly, and the new manuscripts discoveries, they tried as possible to maintain the classic and antique style of the KJV, so although they had done positive changes but better changes could be made if they were not hampered by this classical intention.

Derickson, S., Derickson’s Notes On Theology USA: Digital Version 1.0, 1997.

Encyclopedia BRITANNICA online, A selection of articles discussing this topic. development of Hebrew writing styles, http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9039759/Hebrew-alphabet#262545.hook, 2007.

Graham, B., The Translation of the Word Alabama, 1977 : Electronic Edition by: Allan E. McNabb, allan@biblestudyguide.org.

Horner, B., Bible 101 introduction, http://www.ntslibrary.com/StudentMaster/PDF%20Books/Bible%20Introduction%20101.pdf.
innvista, Riverside New Testament, http://www.innvista.com/culture/religion/bible/versions/rnt.htm, 2008.
Ibid, The Twentieth Century New Testament, http://www.innvista.com/culture/religion/bible/versions/tcnt.htm, 2008.

Jackson, P., Lueker, E., and Poellot, L., Christian Cyclopedia, Bible Versions, http://www.lcms.org/ca/www/cyclopedia/02/display.asp?t1=b&word=BIBLEVERSIONS, Concordia Publishing House, 2000.

Ibid, ClementVIII, http://www.lcms.org/ca/www/cyclopedia/02/display.asp?t1=c&word=CLEMENTVIII2, Concordia Publishing House, 2000.
Jewish Encyclopedia, http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=485&letter=H&search=old testament language#1331, 2002.

Marlowe, M., A Brief Introduction to the Canon and Ancient Versions of Scripture, http://www.bible-recearcher.com/canon.html.

NEXT BIBLE Study Dictionary, ENGLISH VERSIONS, http://net.bible.org/dictionary.php?word=ENGLISH VERSIONS#isbe_1.

Ragland, F.,THE ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE BIBLE, http://members.iquest.net/c_m_f.

Skilton, J., The Transmission of the Hebrew Text, http://www.bible-researcher.com/hebrewtext.html, 1967.

Vlach, M., HOW WE GOT OUR BIBLE, Pageless Books, 1999.

Watts, M., The Lord Gave the Word: A Study in the History of the Biblical Text, http://www.trinitarianbiblesociety.org/site/articles/lordgaveword.asp#nt, 1998.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ,Vulgate, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulgate, 2008.



77 thoughts on “History and Lineage of the English Bible.

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