n order to put Bible History in a Nutshell, I will have to be brief. The Bible in the English language has a long history. It was preserved expertly and judiciously. It was corrupted and then restored. It has been used to further God’s kingdom and further the interests of individuals and groups. When furthering God’s kingdom, it is being used properly. When it’s used to promote an agenda, it is not being used properly. This has cause division, deception, and false gospels from false prophets and preachers. While the version of the Bible you read and study is important, the version is much less important than the true message of the full counsel of God. Also known as, the Holy Bible. Not just the parts you agree with and not just the laws and precepts that you are willing to obey. The whole thing.
Bible History in a Nutshell the Beginning
It all started with the Hebrew scriptures. These include the Pentateuch, the Profits, and Writings. Also known as, the Old Testament. These documents were kept and copied by people dedicated to preserving the accuracy and integrity of the inspired Word of God. These were then translated into various languages. Some scholars say they were translated into as many as 500 languages. Then the Roman Catholic Church decided that the only scripture that should exist is the Latin Vulgate. So, the enforced that belief by eliminating almost all other versions of the Bible. They did this by force.
Bible History in a Nutshell the Middle
The Gospels were written and letters from the apostles were also written. These were the bases of what we now know as the New Testament. Apostles inspired by God wrote down what Jesus and they did and said. Consequently, since Jesus is God the Son, these letters were canonized as God inspired scripture.
Bible History in a Nutshell the Reformation
In the 1300s men that were educated began to study and research the Bible. First as the Latin Vulgate and then doing further research into the ancient manuscripts. As they researched, they found that the Latin Vulgate had been corrupted. The faith (Christianity) was further corrupted by the Roman Catholic Church’s mandate that only priests and scholars should read and study the Bible. This led to widespread ignorance of the scriptures and allowed the priests to further the Roman Catholic Church agenda. This held Christianity back for hundreds of years. The reformation was God and good men resetting Christianity to its original truth. John Wycliffe was the first scholar to translate the Latin Vulgate into the English language. Then other scholars joined the cause, including men like John Huss and Thomas Linacre.
After learning Greek and reading the original Greek scriptures, Thomas Linacre stated, “Either this (the original Greek) is not the Gospel… or we are not Christians.” Because in the ancient Greek manuscripts he found the true Gospel and not the corrupted teachings of the Latin Vulgate.
Bible History in a Nutshell the Reformation Continued
Linacre was followed by John Colet and Erasmus. Then finally by William Tyndale, who is very important because most of the KJV Bible is based on his translations. But he lived in the early 1500s and was burned at the stake in 1536 for producing a Bible in the English language. His last words are said to be, “Oh Lord, open the King of England’s eyes". The KJV was still about 80 years away written in 1611. There were many more versions of the Bible after Tyndale. This led to the Bible that would be the most accepted English Bible in existence for some 100 years. The Geneva Bible of 1560. The King James Version of the Bible, published in 1611, did not surpass the Geneva Bible in acceptance and popularity until the 1700s.
Bible History in a Nutshell in Modern Times
There have been many versions of the Bible written since the late 1600s. These versions range from word-for-word translations to thought-for-thought translations. Most of them have merit and are worth reading. If you have a scholarly mind, I recommend the KJV or the NASB. If you are just an average reader you may want to read the NKJV. So, that leaves those that are poor readers that have trouble with English even though it’s their native language. For these people, I would recommend one of the versions that have a reading level that is less than a 7th grade reading level. You know who you are, but you can also aspire for more. As you study the scriptures and learn more, you can graduate to the more difficult word-for-word versions. That’s just a suggestion.
History and Intellect
Some of the most informed and intelligent people are students of history. History can teach you what people have done right and what they have done wrong. If you study history you can continue doing what has proven to be good and avoid those things that have been proven to not work. So, study history and study the history within the pages of the Bible. Study the entire Bible, not just the parts you like. Your life depends on it.
This was not very brief. I wanted this article to have fewer words but the history of the Bible in English is so rich and important this is as brief as I could make it. Many people defied the laws of man to fulfill the laws of God. Many of them lost their lives to give us a Bible that we can read and learn from. Don’t let their sacrifices be in vain. Read and study the Word of God. Your life depends on it.