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by Dr. John E. Russell


     The English Bible is the SUMMA BONUM ("highest good") of English literature. In a time of scepticism and relativism, it is comforting to know that God has given us something as an anchor of the soul: His Word. 
     Let us accept His Word into our hearts. Someone has said it well: 


There are some who believe the Bible,
    And some who believe it in part;
Some who trust it with reservation,
    And some with all their heart.
But I know that its every promise
    Is firm and true always;
It is tried as the precious silver,
    And it means just what it says.

It is strange how we trust each other
    And only doubt our Lord;
We will take the word of mortals,
    And yet distrust God's Word.
But Oh! What light and glory
    Would shine o'er all our days
If we always would remember
    That He means just what he says.

(Author Unknown) 

     The Old Testament (Jewish and Christian Scriptures) is a library of 39 books, written by about 30 writers over a period of about 1,000 years. It was written primarily in Biblical Hebrew. It was carefully written and accurately transmitted down through history by Jewish scholars. 
     The New Testament (Christian Scriptures) is a library of 27 books, written by about 9 writers over a period of about 60 years. It was written in KOINE (common) Greek, the universal language of Jesus' time. There are over 5,000 Greek manuscripts (partial or whole) of the New Testament, making the New Testament the most well-authenicated document in human antiquity. 
     There are no autographs (original writings) of the Bible in existence. Until the invention of the printing press by Johann Gutenberg in about 1455, each Bible was laborously copied by hand. (The first book printed by moveable type was the Gutenberg Bible, a Latin Bible printed in Mainz by Gutenberg sometime before 1456). Through the science of Textual Criticism, the various Greek manuscripts are studied and the original is reconstructed. This reconstruction is very accurate. Translations are made from the reconstructed text. 
     Biblical Hebrew and KOINE Greek are "dead" languages. That is, they are no longer spoken, and therefore do not change in meaning. This factor makes for a more accurate base for translation. 
     New translations are necessary because "living languages" (languages that are used) change. The meanings of words change and new words are added to represent new concepts. 
     There have been many translations in many languages down through history. In this short work, we will limit ourselves to recent English translations. 


Copyright © 1995-1997 by Dr. John E. Russell,
Internet Version Copyright © 2001 by Dr. John E. Russell.