From an early age I was sent to different churches to hear how each approached Christianity. This has had many benefits for me. In fact, it is part of why I consider our spiritual being an important part of our health.
This article will discuss various historical translations and events surrounding the Bible as we know it today. It is one Christian’s viewpoint with support going back as far as 450 B.C. I highly recommend that others do their own research to confirm or deny for themselves the truth.
Translations: Until the printing press was invented, the scriptures were copied by hand. The printing press actually changed Christianity because it became possible for the laymen to read the Bible and interpret what it meant. For some time, it was illegal to own a Bible, but that eventually changed.
In the 1600s, King James 1 of England had the Bible translated into English. This translation does not go back to the original languages but was from the Bishop’s Bible. The Bible was divided into sections with more than one translator for each section. This Bible is still in use today.
Other translations have gone back to the oldest available translations. The oldest date back to around 450 B.C. and are part of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Translations which go back to the Hebrew, Latin, Greek and Aramaic are considered highly accurate.
What is the Septuagint? This is a translation of the Old Testament predominately used by Christians and somewhat looked down on by Jews and Muslims. There is a lot of myth to it, but it is also a real work. The story is that 70 scholars under Ptolemy II in Egypt copied the Torah into Greek. Whether or not there were 70 may be debatable, but the translation is real. This was widely used by Christians because many were not of Jewish ancestry and Greek was the common language at the time.
What is the Vulgate? This translation occurred during the late third century to the early fourth. It mainly touches on the synoptic gospels and uses at least in part the Septuagint.
The Dead Sea Scrolls: These were penned by the Essenes. They didn’t like the political life in Jerusalem and how it affected Judaism. They moved out to the desert and spent their time copying scrolls. These they hid in caves. The Romans wiped them out around 70 A.D., but didn’t find the scrolls.
These were eventually found by a Bedouin shepherd and brought to the attention of scholars. The accuracy of the Old Testament as translated into modern English shows that there is little difference between the old texts and the modern.
Who is Josephus and why is he important? Josephus wrote the Antiquity if the Jews. His writing follows much of the Old Testament and confirms many people mentioned in the New Testament. A few passages are questionable as perhaps being penned later by Christians, but for the most part it is considered his work.
Because he was not a Christian, some of his views are different from those found in the gospel. That’s not surprising; he didn’t have the background or the same expectations. However, he does confirm that John the Baptist had a great following, that he did baptize and he was killed by Herod. He mentions Pilate and Jesus.
The accuracy of the Bible will most likely be debated until the end of the age. It is easy to scoff at the translations and call them inaccurate. They aren’t really meant to turn someone into a Christian. To those of us who are Christians, it reaffirms what we already believe. The choice is yours. I’ve made mine.