About the Bible

History of the Bible

The Christian Bible includes the same books as the Tanakh (referred to as the Old Testament), but usually in a different order, together with twenty-seven specifically Christian books collectively known as the New Testament. Those were originally written in Greek. Among some traditions, the Bible includes apocryphal books that were not accepted into the Tanakh. Eastern Orthodox Churches use all of the books that were incorporated into the Septuagint, to which they add the earliest Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible; Roman Catholics include some of these books in their canon (a collection of approved scripture); and many Protestant Bibles follow the Jewish canon, excluding the additional books. Some editions of the Christian Bible have a separate Biblical apocrypha section for books not considered canonical. As of March 2008, translations of the full Bible are available for 438 languages, translations of one of the two testaments in 1,168 additional languages, and portions of the text exist in 848 additional languages. This means that partial or full translations of the Bible exist in a total of 2,454 languages.

The Original Bible: Hebrew/Jewish Bible
The Tanakh (Hebrew: תנ”ך) consists of 24 books. Tanakh is an acronym for the three parts of the Hebrew Bible: the Torah (“Teaching/Law” also known as the Pentateuch which is Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy), Nevi’im (“Prophets” which is “Former Prophets”: Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings; “Major Prophets”: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and “12 Minor Prophets” in one book: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi), and Ketuvim (“Writings,” or Hagiographa which is Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Ester, Daniel, Ezra with Nehemiah, and both Chronicles).

Dead Sea Scrolls (in original Hebrew discovered between 1947 and 1979 in eleven caves near the Dead Sea)
Books                         No. found
Psalms w/*151                 39
Deuteronomy                   33
*1 Enoch                           25
Genesis                             24
Isaiah                                22
Jubilees/*Sirach             21
Exodus                              18
Leviticus                           17
Numbers                          11
Minor Prophets              10
Daniel                                8
Jeremiah                          6
Ezekiel                              6
Job                                    6
1 & 2 Samuel                   4
Temple Scroll: pertains to the construction of the Temple of Jerusalem.
Copper Scroll: a list of 67 underground hiding places throughout the land of Israel that contain certain amounts of gold, silver, aromatics, and manuscripts and is currently being translated. The first two sections reveal the location of gold ingots and silver in the form of Shekels.
*Apocrypha and Deuterocanonical books

Apocrypha (Greek meaning hidden)
Book / Approx. date Completed
Tobit / 200 B.C.
Judith / 150 A.D.
The Additions to the Book of Esther (contained in the Greek version of Esther) / 130 B.C.
The Wisdom of Solomon / 30 B.C.
Ecclesiasticus, or the Wisdom of Jesus son of Sirach / 32 B.C.
Baruch with The Letter of Jeremiah / 100 A.D. / 200 B.C.
The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Jews / 100. B.C.
Susanna / 100 B.C.
Bel and the Dragon / 100 B.C.
1 Maccabees / 110 B.C.
2 Maccabees / 100 B.C.
1 Esdras / 150 B.C.
The Prayer of Manasseh / 150 B.C.
2 Esdras / 100 A.D.

In addition, the present expanded edition includes the following three texts that are of special interest to Eastern Orthodox readers.
3 Maccabees / 100 B.C.
4 Maccabees / 100 B.C.
Psalm 151 / disputed

None of these books are included in the Hebrew canon of Holy Scripture. All of them, however, with the exception of 2 Esdras, are present in copies of the Greek version of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint. The Old Latin translations of the Old Testament, made from the Septuagint, also include them, along with 2 Esdras. As a consequence, many of the early Church Fathers quoted most of these books as authoritative Scripture.

**Deuterocanonical (Greek meaning second cannon)
Tobit
Judith
Additions to Esther (Vulgate Esther 10:4-16:24, but see also Esther in the NAB)
Wisdom of Solomon
Sirach, also called Ben Sira or Ecclesiasticus
Baruch, including the Letter of Jeremiah (Additions to Jeremiah in the Septuagint[5])
Additions to Daniel:
Song of the Three Children (Vulgate Daniel 3:24-90)
Story of Susanna (Vulgate Daniel 13, Septuagint prologue)
The Idol Bel and the Dragon (Vulgate Daniel 14, Septuagint epilogue)
1 Maccabees
2 Maccabees

**The Catholic deuterocanonical scriptural texts as defined by the Council of Trent.

There is a great deal of overlap between the Apocrypha section of the 1611 King James Bible and the Catholic deuterocanon, but the two are distinct. The Apocrypha section of the King James Bible includes, in addition to the deuterocanonical books, the following three books, which were not declared canonical by Trent:

1 Esdras (Vulgate 3 Esdras)
2 Esdras (Vulgate 4 Esdras)
Prayer of Manasseh

Old Testament
Book / Author / Approx. date Completed
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy / Moses / 1400 B.C.
Joshua / Joshua / 1400 B.C.
Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel / Samuel, Nathan, Gad / 1400 – 900 B.C.
1 Kings, 2 Kings / Uncertain / 600 B.C.
1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra / Ezra / 450 B.C.
Nehemiah / Nehemiah / 460 B.C.
Esther / Uncertain / 400 B.C.
Job / Uncertain / 1600 B.C.
Psalms / several different authors, mostly David / 1000 – 400 B.C.
Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon / Solomon and others / 900 B.C.
Isaiah / Isaiah / 700 B.C.
Jeremiah, Lamentations / Jeremiah / 600 B.C.
Ezekiel / Ezekiel / 550 B.C.
Daniel / Daniel / 550 B.C.
Hosea / Hosea / 750 B.C.
Joel / Joel / 850 B.C.
Amos / Amos / 750 B.C.
Obadiah / Obadiah / 600 B.C.
Jonah / Jonah / 700 B.C.
Micah / Micah / 700 B.C.
Nahum / Nahum / 650 B.C.
Habakkuk / Habakkuk / 600 B.C.
Zephaniah / Zephaniah / 650 B.C.
Haggai / Haggai / 520 B.C.
Zechariah / Zechariah / 500 B.C.
Malachi / Malachi / 430 B.C.

New Testament
Matthew / Matthew / A.D. 55
Mark / John Mark / A.D. 50
Luke / Luke / A.D. 60
John / John / A.D. 90
Acts / Luke / A.D. 65
Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon / Paul / A.D. 50-70
Hebrews / unknown, best guesses are Paul, Luke, Barnabas, or Apollos / 65 A.D.
James / James / A.D. 45
1 Peter, 2 Peter / Peter / A.D. 60
1 John, 2 John, 3 John / John – A.D. 90
Jude / Jude / A.D. 60
Revelation / John / A.D. 95

Facts and Stats about the Christian Bible
Books in the Bible: 66
Books in the Old Testament: 39
Books in the New Testament: 27
Shortest book in the Bible: 2 John
Longest book in the Bible: Psalms
Chapters in the Bible: 1189
Chapters in the Old Testament: 929
Chapters in the New Testament: 260
Middle chapter of the Bible: Psalm 117
Shortest chapter in the Bible: Psalm 117
Longest chapter in the Bible: Psalm 119
Verses in the Bible: 31,173
Verses in the Old Testament: 23,214
Verses in the New Testament: 7,959
Shortest verse in the Bible: John 11:35
Longest verse in the Bible: Esther 8:9
Words in the Bible: 773,692
Words in the Old Testament: 592,439
Words in the New Testament: 181,253

Timeline of Bible Creation

1,440 BC : The first written Word of God: The Ten Commandments delivered to Moses.

500 BC : Completion of All Original Hebrew Manuscripts which make up The 39 Books of the Old Testament. The Tanakh, or Hebrew or Jewish Bible. It comprises three parts: the Torah (“Teaching”, also known as the Pentateuch or “Five Books of Moses”), the Prophets, and the Writings. It was primarily written in Hebrew with some small portions in Aramaic. Ezra and Nehemiah were among “Men of the Great Assembly” who canonized the Tanakh.

200 BC : Completion of the Septuagint Greek Manuscripts which contain The 39 Old Testament Books AND 14 Apocrypha Books.

1st Century AD : Completion of All Original Greek Manuscripts which make up The 27 Books of the New Testament.

300 AD : The oldest copies of the New Testament known to exist today are: The Codex Alexandrius and the Codex Sinaiticus in the British Museum Library in London, and the Codex Vaticanus in the Vatican

315 AD : Athenasius, the Bishop of Alexandria, identifies the 27 books of the New Testament which are today recognized as the canon of scripture.

382 AD : Jerome’s Latin Vulgate Manuscripts Produced which contain All 80 Books (39 Old Test. + 14 Apocrypha + 27 New Test). He put a note next to the Apocrypha Books, stating that he did not know whether or not they were inspired scripture, or just Jewish historical writings which accompanied the Old Testament.

500 AD : Scriptures have been Translated into Over 500 Languages.

600 AD : LATIN was the Only Language Allowed for Scripture.The only organized and recognized church at that time in history was the Catholic Church of Rome, and they refused to allow the scripture to be available in any language other than Latin. Those in possession of non-Latin scriptures would be executed! This was because only the priests were educated to understand Latin, and this gave the church ultimate power… a power to rule without question… a power to deceive… a power to extort money from the masses. Nobody could question their “Biblical” teachings, because few people other than priests could read Latin. The church capitalized on this forced-ignorance through the 1,000 year period from 400 AD to 1,400 AD known as the “Dark and Middle Ages”.

995 AD : Anglo-Saxon (Early Roots of English Language) Translations of The New Testament produced.

1384 AD : Wycliffe is the First Person to produce a (Hand-Written) manuscript Copy of the Complete Bible; All 80 Books.

1455 AD : Gutenberg Invents the Printing Press; Books May Now be mass-produced instead of Individually Hand-Written. The First Book Ever Printed is Gutenberg’s Bible in Latin.

1516 AD : Erasmus Produces a Greek/Latin Parallel New Testament. The Latin had become so corrupt that it no longer even preserved the message of the Gospel… yet the Church still threatened to kill anyone who read the scripture in any language other than Latin… though Latin was not an original language of the scriptures.

1522 AD : Martin Luther’s German New Testament. His Bible was the first major edition to have a separate section called Apocrypha. Books  and portions of books not found in the Hebrew Tanakh were moved out of the body of the Old Testament to this section. Luther placed these books between the Old and New Testaments. For this reason, these works are sometimes known as inter-testamental books. The books 1 and 2 Esdras were omitted entirely. Many twentieth century editions of the Lutheran Bible omit the Apocrypha section. Luther also expressed some doubts about the canonicity of four New Testament books, although he never called them apocrypha: the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Epistles of James and Jude, and the Revelation to John. He did not put them in a separate section, but he did move them to the end of the New Testament.

1526 AD : William Tyndale’s New Testament; The First New Testament printed in the English Language. William Tyndale fought and died for the right to print the Bible in the common, spoken, modern English tongue of his day… as he boldly told one official who criticized his efforts, “If God spare my life, I will see to it that the boy who drives the plowshare knows more of the scripture than you, Sir!”

1535 AD : Myles Coverdale’s Bible; The First Complete Bible printed in the English Language (80 Books: O.T. & N.T. & Apocrypha).

1537 AD : Tyndale-Matthews Bible; The Second Complete Bible printed in English. Done by John “Thomas Matthew” Rogers (80 Books).

1539 AD : The “Great Bible” Printed; The First English Language Bible Authorized for Public Use (80 Books).

1560 AD : The Geneva Bible Printed; The First English Language Bible to add Numbered Verses to Each Chapter (80 Books). The Geneva holds the honor of being the first Bible taken to America, and the Bible of the Puritans and Pilgrims. America was founded upon the Geneva Bible, not the King James Bible.

1568 AD : The Bishops Bible Printed; The Bible of which the King James was a Revision (80 Books).

1582 AD : The Church of Rome surrendered their fight for “Latin only” and decided that if the Bible was to be available in English, they would at least have an official Roman Catholic English translation. And so, using the corrupt and inaccurate Latin Vulgate as the only source text, they went on to publish an English Bible with all the distortions and corruptions that Erasmus had revealed and warned of 75 years earlier.

1609 AD : The Douay Old Testament is added to the Rheims New Testament (of 1582) Making the First Complete English Catholic Bible; Translated from the Latin Vulgate (80 Books).

1611 AD : The King James Bible Printed; Originally with All 80 Books. The Apocrypha was Officially Removed in 1885 Leaving Only 66 Books. The Anglican Church’s (Church of England’s) King James Bible took decades to overcome the more popular Protestant Church’s Geneva Bible.

1663 AD : The first Bible printed in America was done in the native Algonquin Indian Language by John Eliot.

1782 AD : Robert Aitken’s Bible; The First English Language Bible (KJV) Printed in America. The only Bible ever authorized by the United States Congress.

1791 AD : Isaac Collins and Isaiah Thomas Respectively Produce the First Family Bible and First Illustrated Bible Printed in America. Both were King James Versions, with All 80 Books.

1808 AD : Jane Aitken’s Bible (Daughter of Robert Aitken); The First Bible to be Printed by a Woman.

1833 AD : Noah Webster’s Bible; After Producing his Famous Dictionary, Webster Printed his Own Revision of the King James Bible.

1841 AD : English Hexapla New Testament; an Early Textual Comparison showing the Greek and 6 Famous English Translations in Parallel Columns.

1846 AD : The Illuminated Bible; The Most Lavishly Illustrated Bible printed in America. A King James Version, with All 80 Books.

1885 AD : The “English Revised Version” Bible; The First Major English Revision of the KJV. The widespread popularity of this modern-English translation brought with it another curious characteristic: the absence of the 14 Apocryphal books. Up until the 1880’s every Protestant Bible (not just Catholic Bibles) had 80 books, not 66! The inter-testamental books written hundreds of years before Christ called “The Apocrypha” were part of virtually every printing of the Tyndale-Matthews Bible, the Great Bible, the Bishops Bible, the Protestant Geneva Bible, and the King James Bible until their removal in the 1880’s! The original 1611 King James contained the Apocrypha, and King James threatened anyone who dared to print the Bible without the Apocrypha with heavy fines and a year in jail. Only for the last 120 years has the Protestant Church rejected these books, and removed them from their Bibles.

1901 AD : The “American Standard Version”; The First Major American Revision of the KJV.

1971 AD : The “New American Standard Bible” (NASB) is Published as a “Modern and Accurate Word for Word English Translation” of the Bible. This New American Standard Bible is considered by nearly all evangelical Christian scholars and translators today, to be the most accurate, word-for-word translation of the original Greek and Hebrew scriptures into the modern English language that has ever been produced. It remains the most popular version among theologians, professors, scholars, and seminary students today. Some, however, have taken issue with it because it is so direct and literal a translation (focused on accuracy), that it does not flow as easily in conversational English.

1973 AD : The “New International Version” (NIV) is Published as a “Modern and Accurate Phrase for Phrase English Translation”  of the Bible. The best-selling modern-English translation of the Bible ever published. Easy to understand, however, much has been omitted or changed in order to make it more politically correct and accepted.

1982 AD : The “New King James Version” (NKJV) is Published as a “Modern English Version Maintaining the Original Style of the King James.” Their original intent was to keep the basic wording of the King James to appeal to King James Version loyalists, while only changing the most obscure words and the Elizabethan “thee, thy, thou” pronouns. This was an interesting marketing ploy, however, upon discovering that this was not enough of a change for them to be able to legally copyright the result, they had to make more significant revisions, which defeated their purpose in the first place. It was never taken seriously by scholars, but it has enjoyed some degree of public acceptance, simply because of its clever “New King James Version” marketing name.

2002 AD : The English Standard Version (ESV) is Published as a translation to bridge the gap between the accuracy of the NASB and the readability of the NIV.

As you can see man has had his hands on God’s word from the very beginning. Adding to, taking away, altering many details of accuracy. Mostly to have power over the people. Now, this is not to say the whole bible is flawed. We as the public are not able to study the original words of the men who wrote the bible pages. We do, however, have the ability to find which copy is most accurate. The King James Version is the most accurate English language bible you can find on the market today.

People still find “flaws” or “contradictions”. Here is an explanation for these. Most of the men who wrote the bible, yes they were men, experienced God’s voice and Jesus’s teaching first hand. I have been to many seminars teaching about people and personalities. We had a speaker once that showed us how people can get one simple thing so jumbled up from the original that by the end it has nothing to do with the start. He lined up 10 people and told the first person a short detail about something and then had that person tell the next person in line. All 10 had a chance to hear the original detail but by the tenth person it had nothing to do with what the speaker said at the beginning. Changing the bible is never a good idea.

Have you ever noticed that when you tell people anything some understand it differently than others? An example of this is seen in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. These books are about the same subject but, they are worded differently. One may have more detail and another may use different words with the same meaning. Why? Because these were men with different minds, different personalities, different levels of learning and understanding. Each man different from the other. This is the way God wanted it to be. For this reason different people will relate to certain men of the bible more than they do others. These men were not contradicting. They were expressing the same teachings in different ways.

Many things these men spoke of pertained to the time and place they lived but, we can all learn from them just the same. If ever you have a question to one’s teaching always seek God to show you the truth. He never lies and He never changes. He is the same God He was when He created all we have. Never use the bible is “flawed” or “contradicting” as an excuse to not believe in God or the teachings in the bible. Somewhere in the bible is an explanation from someone you may relate to or understand better. If you don’t find it, it has probably been altered by man during the time of changing God’s word. This is why you must be careful of which bible you use. Man is not perfect. If we were, we wouldn’t need the bible in the first place.

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