• Home /
  • Blog /
  • How did we get our Bible?

How did we get our Bible?

Submitted by Pam Burton, Good News Club Teacher @ TCUSD
Sourced from VENTURE magazine. Copyright ©️ 1977 by Christian Service Brigade.

1. The Bible, God's Word, was originally written on the scrolls in the Hebrew language (the language spoken by the Israelites during the Old Testament times).

2. To save space, because paper was very expensive, the people who copied the scrolls left out all the vowels, used no punctuation, and left no spaces between the words! (If it was English it would look like this: PSLM23THLRDSMYSHPRDSHLLNTWNT.)

3. But that was for the Old Testament. When the New Testament was written, it was written in Greek. It has 27 books written by at least eight men, during the years 45-100 A.D.

4. Copies of the books were made by hand and many of the early churches had at least part of the New Testament

5. By around 200 A.D., all the books that are in the New Testament were put together in one book.

6. Books were usually copied one at a time, but as people needed more, trained slaves probably were used to make many copies at once. The master would dictate to several slaves, who would copy each book as he read it aloud.

7.Because of persecution by people who didn't like Christianity, Christians were arrested and executed. Their Bibles would be destroyed.

8. But Christianity kept growing. By around 1100 A.D., the Bible was copied over and over again. Scribes used vellum (thin sheets of calfskin) or parchment (sheepskin), which lasted longer than papyrus.

9. Because not everyone spoke the same language, the Bible had to be translated into langauges different from Greek and Hebrew. Latin translations were used in the Roman empire.

10. The first person to translate the Bible into English was John Wycliffe. The printing press had not been invented yet, so his copied were also made by hand. The official church declared Wycliffe a heretic and he was under "house arrest" for the last year of his life.

11. In 1437, Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press. By 1456 he had printed the whole Bible (in Latin).

12. In England William Tyndale wanted everyone to have a Bible. Because he was not allowed to translate the Bible into English in England, he went to Germany in 1524.

13. In 1526, Tyndale published the Bible which he had translated into English. But in England the Bible was still illegal. Most of the Bibles that were smuggled into England were burned by the authorities.

14. Once, one of the authorities hired Augustine Packington to go to Germany and buy as many of Tyndale's Bibles as he could so they could be burned. But Augustine was a friend of Tyndale. So Tyndale sold the Bibles for a high price (even though he knew they would be burned) and with the money he printed four times as many Bibles as were burned.

15. Then in 1535, Tyndale was kidnapped and hanged by the authorities. His body was burned at the stake.

16. But the Bible didn't stop. Other men translated it and printed more and more. King James of England finally declared that the Bible should be published and that everyone should read it. The Bible he authorized (he didn't translate it himself) was finished in 1611. It took 47 top men to do it. They translated it from old Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. We call it the King James Version.

17. As Bible scholars found older manuscripts of the Bible (closer to the originals written in the first century), new translations into English were made.

18. Today we have a Bible that is accurate even after 2,000 years! New translations and paraphrases are common. (A translation is a Bible that was translated into English from Greek and Hebrew manuscripts or other very old manuscripts. A paraphrase is a retelling of the Bible in different words.)

Gift a Bible Project

Dear CEF San Gabriel Valley Family and Friends,

"Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path." - Psalm 119:105

Would you consider contributing any amount to help fund this project? With your support, we can gift a Bible to every child through our outreach programs.

You can give online or mail your contribution by check to our office. Make your check payable to CEFSGV. Together, we can gift children the everlasting Word of God, save lives and change the future.

Thank you again for your generous support. God bless!

In His Service,

CEF San Gabriel Valley
4054. E Live Oak Ave
Arcadia, CA 91006