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Reload this page Bible Versions

This lists the History of the Bible.


Topics this page:

  • Inerrancy
  • The Originals
  • In All Languages
  • English Versions
  • Truest Version
  • Missing Versions
  • Your comments???

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    Set screen The Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy

      The original manuscripts many believe to be both inerrant and infallible because God the Holy Spirit superintended their writing. This belief is fundamental because without faith in that it is from God, nothing in the bible could be considered holy.

      But individual translations are certainly not inerrant. There are certain bibles named for their misprints:

      • The "Wicked Bible" is so-called because it omitted "not" from the 7th of the 10 Commandments. Whooopieee!
      • The "Vinegar Bible" is so-called because the 1717 edition mis-printed "vinegar" instead of "vineyard".
      • A 1795 misprint had "Let the children first be killed" instead of "filled" in Mark 7:27.
      • Another had "Printers [instead of princes] have persecuted me without a cause."
      • A 20th century misprint had "Women should be adorned in modern [rather than modest] apparel."


    Reformed Theological Seminary's virtual campus

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    Set screen The Originals

      The original manuscripts are no longer available.

      Nevertheless, copies of Hebrew, Greek, and Chaldee texts made (by hand) over the years show an amazing degree of similarity. The scrolls found preserved from 100 AD in the caves of Quram matched closely to scrolls from hundreds of years later.

      The oldest and most complete manuscript is the Hebrew Masoretic text in the Old Testament. It notes that the 2nd tablets God gave to Moses is in the Ark of the Covenant.

      Early Greek manascripts were written in scrolls of animal skin called "Codexes". The three prominant codexes available today are:

      1. Codex Vaticanus (found in 325 A.D), the earliest one kept at Vatican library.
      2. Codex Sinaiticus (found in 350 A.D), now kept at the British Museum in London.
      3. Codex Alexandrias (found in 5th century), now kept at the British Museum in London.

      Codex Sinaiticus and codex Vaticanus were used by English clergymen Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort (both of Cambridge Trinity College) in their 28 year effort (from 1853 to 1881).

      Other versions of Greek texts include:

      1. Texus Receptus the "received text" (1633) used to translate the KJV and NKJV. Get this FREE at
      2. The first complete Bible in Greek printed in Venice in 1518.
      3. Ephraemi
      4. Bezae

      These are in rare book collections of the Huntington Library (in San Marino, California), under Gene Scott's "JESUS SAVES" billboard over the Universal Cathedral 800-338-3030 or 818.240-8151 on 933 S. Broadway in Los Angeles,
      and in the British Museum Library (London), and the New York Public Library.


    In their Introduction to the New Testament in the Original Greek, Westcott and Hort invented the word "conflation" to refer to where copyists likely saw two slightly different meanings in the texts they consulted. Rather than make a judgement about which was the most credible wording, they simply combined the two meanings and made the copy fuller than the sources.

    Books by Kenneth S. Wuest (all published by Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.):

    Untranslatable riches from the Greek New Testament for the English reader (1945)

    His Word studies in the Greek New Testament for the English reader series include:

    Prophetic light in the present darkness (Eerdmans; 2nd ed edition 1956)

    Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament, (Eerdmans; 1966) and (1976)

    Prophetic light in the present darkness (Word studies in the Greek New Testament for the English reader In these last days: II Peter, I, II, III John, and Jude in the Greek New Testament for the English reader (1969)

    Great Truths to Live by, Book 6) (1952)

    The Practical Use of the Greek New Testament (Hardcover) (1982)
    Hewbrews (1958)
    Romans (5th ed. 1952)

    His Greek New Testament for the English reader series (Word studies in the Greek New Testament) includes:
    Philippians (3rd ed. 1945)
    Galatians (3rd ed. 1945)
    Hebrews (1948)
    Mark (1950)
    First Peter (3rd ed. 1945)

    Hiromi and Miriam Iwashige compiled a comparison of Greek New Testament Variants — $15 for 112 pages from

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    Set screen The Bible In All Languages

      Over time, different versions of the Bible have been written for use by specific audiences speaking a certain dialect:

      • In 1536, William Tyndale (b 1490) was burned at the stake as a heretic by Catholics in Vilvorde Castle (near Brussels), Belgium for translating the entire Bible into English (from Greek manuscripts). His last words were: "Lord, open the King of England's eyes." His 1525 translation was published on Guttenberg presses (invented 80 years before) and smuggled into England so that the laity have direct access to the word of God for the first time. The spelling shown in the facimilie reprint available today is modernized by David Daniell's (Yale University Press 1996) print.

      • Get the DVD for the 2004 movie Luther starting Joseph Fiennes, Peter Ustinov, and Alfred Molina Compare the storytelling and cinamatography against the 1953 movie. This Documentary is narrated by Liam Neeson. Martin Luther was a Catholic monk when he, in 1517, sparked the Protestant Reformation. He then had to hide from the Catholic pope who feared that Luther would cause a reduction in revenues. But while hiding, Luther translated the whole Bible from the original Greek and Hebrew into German. This, more than the "99 Theses", enabled Protestant denominations by providing them a Bible they can actually read, since at that time only monks were trained to read Latin.
      • The Houghton Mifflin website notes that portions of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures now exist in at least forty-six American Indian languages. But complete versions of the Bible currently exists in just a few languages among Native Americans in the United States and among First Nations in Canada:
        1. The first Bible printed in the New World (America) was written by John Eliot (1604-1690) screen captured (NT 1661, OT 1663) in the language of the Algonquian "Praying" Indians of Massachusett. Since the Algonquian language is purely spoken, Eliot's Bible used the English phonetic alphabet to create the first Native American written language.

        2. A complete Bible in Western Cree was published in 1862 by associates of the British and Foreign Bible Society (BFBS),
        3. followed by versions in Eastern Arctic Inuit, published in 1871 by the BFBS;
        4. Dakota or Eastern Sioux, financed by the American Bible Society (ABS) and printed in 1880; and
        5. Gwich'in (a subarctic Cordilleran language), completed in 1898 by associates of the BFBS.
        6. The Navajo Bible ("DIYAN GOD BIZAAD") was published in 1985 after forty-one years of collaborative effort by the Wycliffe Society and the ABS.
        7. Work is under way on a Central Yupik version of the Hebrew Testament.

        The American Bible Society, the Canadian Bible Society, and the Wycliffe Society's Summer Institute of Linguistics are currently involved in at least twenty projects

      • During World War II, When J.B.Phillips found that English youth felt they can't understand the bible available to them, he published in 1958 a popular paraphrase of the NT.

      • The Good News Bible (GNB) (NT 1966, OT 1976) distributed by the American Bible Society made the Bible accessible — a cheap paperback with cartoons and simple language. It's author, Robert Bratcher, has been labeled a "liberal" for using the word "life" or "death" for the word "blood" in its "Dynamic Equivalence" approach to translation.

      • THE MESSAGE by Eugene H. Peterson, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He also founded Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland, where he ministered for 29 years. He lives with his wife, Jan, in Montana.

      • The Living Bible paraphrase (mass-marketed as THE BOOK, THE WAY and other names) was written for his 10 children and more than 25 grandchildren on a Chicago commuter train by Kenneth Nathaniel Taylor, a Moody Press employee (and a graduate of Wheaton and Dallas Theological Seminary). When Moody rejected it, he self-published his NT in 1967, OT in 1971.

        It was published by PTL as a KJV Parallel Edition in 1984. Great idea!

        In 1996 it was revised and marketed today as the New Living Translation (NLT)

        Over 40 million of these Bibles have been sold, and Taylor went on to become Chairman of Tyndale House Publishers. However, Taylor was quoted to say that he feels that he lost his voice as a result of what he himself thinks might be because he tampered with God's Word.

        Taylor's other books for children include:

      • Da Jesus Book in pidgin Hawaiian.

      • The Cotton Patch Bible (Smyth & Helwys Publishing 2004) of work during the 1960's by Clarence Jordan into the colloquialism of the Southern US (specifically, interracial Koinonia Farm in Sumter County, Georgia). The book was converted into the musical "Cotton Patch Gospel" by Tom Key.

      • Englishman Nick Page's The Tabloid Bible (1999) presents the Bible as a British tabloid. Sightings review.
      • GOD IS FOR REAL, MAN uses street-cool language of convicts. Examples from Curt Daniel include "The Lord is like my probation officer" (Psa. 23:1), and "God is a good hideout".

      Note: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver is not a Bible translation, but a novel about a dysfunctional missionary family.


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    Set screen English Versions of the Bible

      Versions of the English bible parallel the history of the Church and the riff between Catholics and Protestants:

      • About the year 1380, when John Wycliffe (with helpers John Purvey and his followers, known as "Lollards") translated the Bible from Latin into Middle English, the Catholic Church burned him at the stake (roasted like a pig).

      • After Henry VIII's "Ten Articles" severed the English Anglican Church from the authority of Roman Catholicism, he (with influence of his then wife Anne Boleyn, a secret admirer of Tyndale's works), had Miles Coverdale (1488-1568) translate the Bible based on Tyndale's version, with help from Luther's German translation and the Latin Bible (but the Apocryphal books separated from the OT and NT to show that it was useful but not inspired). This first complete Bible to be printed in the English language was completed on October 4th, 1535 and published in 1537.

        A revision of it in 1537 by John Rogers is known as the MATTHEW'S BIBLE. In 1539, Thomas Cromwell (soon to be one of Henry's martyrs) commissioned Coverdale to produce an "official" Bible, to be set up on a lectern in every church in England.

        This "Great Bible" was removed from churches by Catholic Queen Mary (nicknamed "Bloody Mary").

      • Coverdale, William Whittingham and other English reformers fled Catholic persecution in the 1550's by moving to Geneva, Switzerland. There they began printing in 1560 the Geneva Bible used by Shakespeare, the Puritans, and Pilgrims to America. The theology of John Calvin and Theodore Beza appears in the large marginal notes and introductions (which were dervisively named "bitter notes"). with a 1576 dedication to protestant English queen Elizabeth I. This is the first Bible with verse numbers by Stephanus.

      • When the Anglicans Church of England needed an official Bible published in England and without the "bitter notes", in 1566 they got Matthew Parker to write the BISHOP'S BIBLE based on the Great Bible.

      • King James I commissions the "venerable" King James Version (KJV) based on the Greek Texus Receptus the "received text" (1633)

        Six revisions of the KJV have been published. The 17?? version found in most hotel rooms is thanks to the diligence of The GideonsA website external to this site Unlike newer versions, the KJV is free of royalty payments, so it is the version packaged in various electronic media.

        Many acknowledge that the KJV is the most universally accepted version because of its doctrinal "purity". "King James Only" advocates feel that the version "authorized" in 1611 is more faithful to the "real" word of God than newer versions which they have labeled "New Age".

        However, John Wesley (in 1755) corrected the KJV in some 12,000 places. In the years since, certain words have become archaic or had their meaning changed.


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    Set screen The Truest Versions of the Bible


    tool Energion provides a Bible-selection tool.

    Gary F. Zeolla's Analytical-Literal Translation of the New Testament of the Holy Bible (Paperback) (Authorhouse May 1, 2001) provides alternative translations and figurative meanings based on the Byzantine Majority Text — what he claims to be "the newest and most accurate Greek text — the most exact reproduction of the original manuscripts possible."

    Gary F. Zeolla also has self-published Differences Between Bible Versions (Paperback) (Authorhouse June 1, 2001) provides alternative translations and figurative meanings based on the Byzantine Majority Text — what he claims to be "the newest and most accurate Greek text — the most exact reproduction of the original manuscripts possible."

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    Set screen Alternate English Versions of the Bible

      Complaints about Bible versions center around dilution of the diety of Jesus and other doctrines.

      • Radical Feminists and Gay Activists reportedly favor the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), the "Today's New International Version" (TNIV), or the NEW TESTAMENT - AN INCLUSIVE VERSION , which contain more modern "politically correct" content.

      • Jehovah's Witnesses use the 1960 NEW WORLD TRANSLATION which has the notorius translation of John 1:1 as "The Word was a god" rather than "The Word was God" in the KJV. It does contribute several colorful phrases, such as "undeserved kindness" for "grace" in Eph.2:8, and "torture stake" instead of "cross".

      • Scholar's Version is promoted by Jesus Seminar

      There are several versions that are edifying even though some may not agree with specific words of that translation:

      • Many evangelicals find the Study Notes within the New International Version (NIV) study Bible practical

      • Kenneth Samuel Wuest (a Greek teacher at Moody Bible Institute) wrote an expanded version of the NT, concentrating on bringing out the nuances of Greek tenses.

      • Joseph Bryant Rotherham (a Plymouth Brethren) published his EMPHASIZED BIBLE (1872, 1902) to bring out nuances in Greek verbs.

      • The TRANSLATOR'S NEW TESTAMENT was published in 1973 based on linguistic principles to help those who are translating the Bible into other languages (a work Wycliff is continuing).

      • Jay Adams wrote his CHRISTIAN COUNSELLOR'S NEW TESTAMENT to support his approach.


    James Moffatt's Translation with concordance (Kregel Publications; 2nd Rep edition July 4, 2004)

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    Set screen 16 KJ Verses Missing in Modern Bibles

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