Beginning with this lesson and continuing through fourteen additional lessons, this series of Biblical studies will guide the student into a better understanding of the over-all content of the Bible. These lessons have been prepared for those who already accept the Bible as the Word of God. Although there is an abundance of evidence which could be cited in support of the Bible’s claim to be the inspired word of God [II Timothy 3:16-17), no attempt will be made to consider this material in our Beginner’s course since such an undertaking would involve a complete study within itself.
Originally the Bible was written in the Hebrew and Greek languages. The Old Testament was written mostly in the Hebrew language and the New Testament was written in the Greek language.
Sometimes people became confused when they realize that we have so many different English translations of the Bible. The first English translation of the Bible was finished in 1382. John Wyclif was responsible for making this translation. Wyclif’s Bible was not widely distributed because it was translated before the invention of printing.
Many English translations have been made since the appearance of Wyclif’s Bible in 1382. A few facts about some of the major English translations are listed as follows:
1. The King James Version was completed in 1611. The translation was done by 47 scholars at the direction of King James of England.
2. The American Standard Version was finished in 1901. This translation represents the work of 101 scholars.
3. The Revised Standard Version is one of the most recent English translations. It was finished in 1952.
The Bible was first written on scrolls. There were a large number of these scrolls and they were written over a long period of time. The scrolls containing the Old Testament were written hundreds of years before the New Testament. By studying the Old Testament scrolls the people learned about the coming of the Christian age, which is described more fully in the New Testament.
In the 17th Century, King James of England wanted a Bible that everyone could read.
So he had some scholars [people who could read and write the Hebrew and Greek languages] to translate the Bible into the English language. Translate means to change from one language to another. The scholars took the scrolls that were written in the Hebrew and Greek languages and changed or translated them into the English language so we could read them. This translation was completed in the year 1611.
It has been a long time since King James had the Bible printed in English. Many of the words that were used then mean something entirely different today. For example, when the King James version was printed: “let” meant “hinder”, “allow” meant “approve”, “communicate” meant “share”, prevent” meant “precede”, “kine” meant “cow”, etc. In Genesis we read where Pharaoh saw seven fat kine come out of the river. Today we would say “cow”. For this reason we have more modern translations [versions] that could say that the Pharaoh saw seven fat cows instead of seven fat kine. Some translations might not be as accurate as others and we need to be careful in choosing the version we want. Most translations are good enough though and are easily understood. Many students find it helpful to employ several different translations in their study of the Word of God.
Even though some words have changed since the completion of the King James Version in 1611, this translation is still more widely used than any other.
In Lesson 2 we will begin a study of the Bible itself. We will use the King James Version as that is the one most people own. Quotations from other versions will be used from time to time so as to make these lessons easier understood.
1. Study the lesson text carefully till you understand its meaning. Then answer the Questions to this lesson.
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