Transcript from show #269, March 5, 2023
Continuing on the prophecies toward the end time events of the book of Revelations, here's the transcript of another radio show from the Virtual Church for the Spiritual Unchurched, "Our Bible History, Part 1".
Every once in a while I like to review where our Bible came from, so that we don't forget the history behind it, and so that we continue to appreciate -- or for some of us -- begin to appreciate, the background of this wonderful Word of God that we are so privileged to have still today.
I am reminded of an article I wrote many years ago about the various translations of the Bible that began shortly after the king James Bible.
Bible translations are actually what brings us back to the 17th
century when the King James was written in order to bring everybody
to one common book that could be read together by all Christians,
because at that time there were already various Bibles written by
So today we are back to that time with everybody having different versions of the Bible that cannot be read and understood co-relatively.
We'll look at the history of the Word of God in this replay of a program that I did about a year ago, with minor updates for today.
But first, let’s listen to this…
Let us sing the Praise God Doxology together…
Looking into the past
So let’s start looking into the past from which our precious Bible comes from…
First, the word Bible comes from the Latin and Greek word ‘biblia’ which is the plural of ‘biblion, meaning little book… so biblia is ‘little books’- plural.
In other words our Bible is a combination of several smaller books – and we know that the number of books is 66 with 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New.
The Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary says :
“The book; specifically, the volume believed by Christians to contain revelations of God, as well as the principles of Christian faith, and the rules of practice. It consists of two parts, called the Old and New Testaments.”
Indeed it is that, and so much more. And it is so precious. Why?
Because it is the Word of God who created this physical world we live in.
2 Timothy 3:16 says: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God or God-breathed), and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”
And because many people gave their lives for the keeping of this Word of God.
History shows all the struggles and suffering these people endured for the continuity of the holy writings.
The Bible and its translators
The Bible is the Christian scriptures consisting of 66 books of the Old and the New Testaments. It is also the Jewish scriptures consisting of the Torah (the Law), the Prophets and the Hagiographa or what is known as “the Sacred Writings” which are the books other than the Law and the Prophets.
Remember the Gospel came to the Jew first and then to the Gentile…
Now before we go any further, I have to mention something here that is very important to understand.
A lot of people (non believers that is) say that the Bible was written by men and thus they don’t believe its content…
When we hear and read of all the people who were involved in the so-called production of the Bible as we know it today and as we speak of it today… like the list of those from the 2nd century right up to the 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th century… that’s a lot of people. I can understand that non-believers would think it was written by man and therefore not reliable…
However what most people don’t realize or don’t give any thought to, is the fact that there were very few people who actually wrote the Bible… all the rest of the many people we hear about today were “translators” of the Bible -- they were not the writers of the Bible…
All the so-called “Bibles” we talk about today are translations and versions of the one Bible, not the Bible that was originally written…
That’s why, now, I usually refer to the Bible as the Word of God… because that’s what it is…
We hear or read about people such as Jerome, Wycliffe, Tyndale, Coverdale, Rogers, etc… but there were in fact many translations of large parts of the Bible centuries even before them...
The Bible itself was written by only some 35 to 40 writers, throughout a period of some 1500 years from about 1400 B.C. to the 1st century A.D. and it is all in perfect harmony…
It contains the law, history… etc….
By the way the information of this history of the Bible in this 3-part series comes from a variety of resources, much of it from the book “In the Beginning” by Alister McGrath, as well as “Great Leaders of the Christian Church” by John D. Woodbridge”, with checks against various sources such as the Wikipeadia, Google, and other sources.
Moved by the Holy Ghost
This is what the scripture refers to when it says, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Peter 1:21) (Please note: scriptures are quoted from the King James Version).
Yes, some spoke and others wrote. And later on others translated. The last of the writings of the Word of God took place in the first century A.D…. everything else from there on were translations…
So we need to be clear in our reference to the Bible – are we meaning the writing of the Bible itself or the translations of the Bible! – Big difference.
Some people ask the question “When was the first Bible written?” Well there’s no such thing… there is only one Bible – everything else are translations of the Bible.
The first well known translation of the Hebrew/Aramaic Bible into Greek is called the Septuagint (LXX ) which dates back to the 3rd–1st centuries B.C. – that’s Before Christ.
Now that’s the first translation of the Old Testament.
Prior to the scriptures of the gospel that we know today in the New Testament, it was all Jewish scriptures… The Old Testament of the Bible was originally written in Hebrew, with some Aramaic.
The New Testament was originally written in Greek and there were also some Latin translations as well.
The Greek language had several different dialects which caused several different translations to be produced by different people.
These translations can be categorized into works performed before about 1300 A.D. and after 1300 A.D.
The Vulgate or the Latin translation from Jerome, took place around the 4th & 5th centuries.
The 5th century saw the fall of the Roman Empire but the Latin continued. …this became the widely used and accepted Paris version manuscript within medieval Christianity.
Rapid spread in spite of severe persecution
Before and during this period of time, Christians experienced a very persecuted life in spite of a rapid spread of Christianity among all classes of people.
They shared circulating letters from the Apostles and other early translations from various leaders of Christendom.
We read of Christians such as Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian of Carthage, Athanasius, Basil the Great, Jerome… etc…
These early Christians were strong advocates and defenders of the church, writing various apologetical works of letters and books, defending the church and the faith to their deaths.
…these are just to name a few up to and during the time of the Emperor Constantine who is known to be the first Roman Emperor to accept Christianity internationally around the 4th century. That is when it is usually accepted the Catholic church began. Catholic means universal.
The ”so called” Dark Ages ended over Europe around 1000 A.D.
The break between the Church of Rome and other Christian faiths began with the split with Orthodox Christians in around 1054 over questions of doctrine and the absolute authority and demand of the popes.
Later on in the 1600th century, the people would experience a similar break again with the reformation of the Protestant churches.
And we’ll go there in our next segment….
After the 1300’s
So in this segment, let’s begin with after the 1300’s…
The language of the elite in these times was French & Latin… English was looked upon as a debased language of the peasantry “incapable of expressing anything other than the crudest and most basic of matters” according to historical records if “In the Beginning”.
During this time, we see the beginning of the 100-years war with France, a revolt of the people in England referred to as “the Peasant revolt” which was a punitive new tax imposed by King Richard…
The works of John Wycliffe which led later into the statute passed by King Henry IV called “De Haeretico Comburendo’, or “On the Burning of Heretics” in English, which was a response to the teachings and English translations of the Bible by Wycliffe.
Then in the 1400’s we see a continued conflict over the various translations and attempted translations by Christians who wanted to bring the knowledge and personal reading of the Word of God to the people of England…
You see, the Kings and the Church wanted to keep control of the Bible which had been only available to the Clergy in the Greek and Latin.
This eagerness of the believers to make available a translation of the Bible in their own language for reading themselves, led to another decree in 1408 known as “The Constitutions of Oxford” which prohibited any person from translating any text of scripture or the reading of any unauthorized translation – punishable by death.
This didn’t stop the work of translating the Bible but created a religious underground of English language.
In between 1413 to 1422, Henry V turned a new leaf in securing new respectability for the English language… His defeat of the French armies at Agincourt began a new trend of using the English language in his letters.
Remember French and Latin used to be the language of the Elite. Then in 1450, the world saw the first printed Bible by Gutenberg. Now of course that was not done in England, for England had forbidden the translation of the Latin or Greek Bible into English.
The year 1453 saw the end of the 100-year war with France… this brought the English to the choice of the upper class and government in England… with an increased sense of national identity, shared purpose and strengthened by England’s growing maritime enterprise...
… this was foreshawdowing the Elizabethan era to fame when under her rule, England would again experience another great maritime victory over the Spanish Catholic aggressors.
In 1466, the 1st German Bible was printed in Strasbourg. By 1483 there were 9 different vernacular German Bible Translations in print. But by this time, there was still no English version of the Bible in print despite the best efforts of John Wycliffe and his followers.
It is interesting also that around this time – in 1492, while all this is happening in England, Christopher Columbus was setting out for the new world under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain.
Some significant observations
In conclusion, there are some significant observations from this last Great Hamilton Revival of 1857, that can be noted by Christians who want to see revival take place in their geographical location:
1._The prominence of the laity who brought people from their neighbourhood and gave their testimonies… and the participation of local officials in the city had a great influence on the community for credibility of what was happening, as seen in the conversion and subsequent enthusiasm of the Mayor of the city of Hamilton.
2._ Rapid growth takes place best in a harmonious group through practical usefulness of the denominations working together.
3._The uniqueness of the camp meetings that set aside all the rules of formalities for the time of the events, such as sermons being replaced by the prominence of the exhorters in their delivery of the inspired testimonies.
4._The revivalistic heritage of early Christianity being put to work again in a real time, prayed-up pursuit of the Kingdom.
5._Christians must repent if revival is to take place. The church often spends time with “healing meetings”, or going off to far-away countries, rather then spending their energy and resources to local outreach.
6._Every revival begins with prayer. But fervent prayer with the Kingdom in mind… not just fluffy uneducated and proud prayer about oneself. And we saw that with Wesley, Whitefield earlier as well as the three Methodist ministers who called the prayer meeting on the Palmer’s stay-over.
7._and very importantly, the resulting events must be prolifically written and sent to local newspapers and Christian publications. This is how, we now know of the Hamilton revival – because of the extensive writing of Mrs. Phoebe Palmer on all the events that her and her husband led.
Now this takes us to the 1500’s which are the most loaded times in the political and religious developments leading up to the birth of the English Bible…
By early 1500’s French translations were available, but again, English Bibles remained illegal in England. But during this time a remarkable rise of confidence in the English language took place to become the esteemed language of patriots, poets, heroes & the riches of the English Bible. How did that happen?
Through new developments taking place in the latter years before the rise of Queen Elizabeth and thereafter….
From the book “In the Beginning” by Alister McGrath, “the story of the King James Bible and how it changed a nation, a language and a culture”, it says this:
“The struggle for an English Bible was long and complex, reflecting the entrenched and vested interests of the medieval Church, and the caution and conservatism of politicians.”
In a following paragraph, the book continues: “The story of the King James Bible cannot be told without an understanding of the remarkable rise of confidence in the English language in the late sixteenth century.
“What was once scorned as the barbarous language of plowmen became esteemed as the language of patriots and poets…”
Gone were any hesitations about the merits of the English language. Elizabeth’s navy and armies had established England’s military credentials; her poets, playwrights, and translators had propelled English into the front rank of living European languages.
Then in 1506 Henry VIII came to the English throne and set himself up to make the realm of England a significant Europe and power.
Internal conflicts, politics and religions
In all of this development taking place in England, there remained a period of internal conflicts between, politics and religions, Kings and Churches (Catholic and Anglican) who were quite happy with holding religious control over their subjects – all of this while a growing hunger for a free Christian faith in England continued…
In 1517 Martin Luther’s conversion finally drove him to nail a copy of his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle church. In 1520, several critical developments took place:
1._William Tyndale undertook to publish his English version of what he had translated so far, outside of England...
2._To overcome the blockage by the ruling elites, English Bibles produced outside of England were smuggled in...
3._As the pressure for a Bible in the English language gradually became irresistible, the seeds of the King James Bible were sown in the 1520’s...
4._By now, Tyndale was widely acknowledged as the most formative influence on the text of the King James Bible…
5._Cambridge was known to be far more sympathetic to the idea of the Reformation than Oxford, and so Luther’s books were more accessible in Cambridge than in Oxford...
6._Tyndale’s primary concern was with the translation of Scripture. Such translation required knowledge of the 3 great languages of antiquity: Greek, Hebrew and Latin...
7._Opponents to Erasmus and all, held that theology rested on philosophical analysis...
…but to Tyndale theology was worthy of its name only when it took its lead directly from the Bible – in other words the Bible itself not the translations that were circulating…
8._ translators such as Erasmus were actively campaigning for the direct engagement with the text of the Bible in its original language as the foundation of Christian theology...
(remember we saw earlier that Erasmus produced a new Latin Translation of the New Testament which Luther translated into German.
Erasmus also combined in a single volume the 1st printed Greek New Testament and a new Latin version.
He took on the scholarly work of correcting this translation from the Greek manuscript and exposing the errors within.
The rise of the English language
As all of this was taking place, there was a development going on of the emergence of English as the world’s favourite language.
In 1522 we see Martin Luther’s German translation of the new Testament... the work was a translation directly from the original Greek into German.
By 1523, Luther translated the Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the Old Testament) into German.
The new technology of printing made Luther’s translation available throughout Europe.
Around 1524-25, Tyndale undertook his translation… he settled in the city of Cologne with his new assistant William Roy…
During this time, Charles V declined to marry Henry’s daughter by Catherine, Mary Tudor. Mary Tudor was very anti-protestant. Therefore Henry began the process of divorcing Catherine… and there was political clash going on between Rome, Charles V and Pope Clement VII.
But through all this, the Bible translations continued to struggle and expand…
In 1526 – Tyndale’s excellent English N.T. which was to become a precursor of the King James Bible was available in London in 1526 and forced the hand of the English church and state to undertake to produce an officially sanctioned English Bible.
…but threatened by Tyndale’s new translation, a relentless campaign began to suppress the book.
Luther’s works were destroyed in England... Thomas More organized a raid and wrote hostile anti-Luther writings.
At the same time, another well produced octavo English N.T. was in circulation at this time and nobody knew where it had come from...the Bishop of London issued an injunction against the work. (Octavo is a small version format, like a pocket book).
…many translations of Tyndale were printed by various printers which were smuggled into England, further adding to the confusion of the English authorities.
All this shows the difficulty that it was to bring about our English Bibles that we read today and so many don’t appreciate to its fullest…
The scripture we read earlier is true here also that holy men of God performed as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
Pain, struggles, sweat and blood
Well there is more to the history of our English Bibles and I have run out of time… as we can see, wow, the pain and struggles and sweat and blood of those who heard from the holy Spirit to bring the Word of God into the languages of the peoples… all because of the obedience and faithfulness of holy men of God, we are to be appreciative of this previous works – the total of many small books, all put together into One Holy Book….
I will continue on this in the next program because there is still much to tell about the development that continues up until the King James Bible and then how other translations followed suit after this authorized English Bible by King James the 1st…
As the song says, “O for a thousand tongues to sing My great Redeemer’s praise”… we ought to be singing that as Charles did… “My gracious Master and my God, Assist me to proclaim, to spread thro all the earth abroad, the honors of your name”… “Jesus the name that charms our fears, That bids our sorrows cease, ‘Tis music in the sinner’s ears, ‘Tis life, and health, and peace….”
Do you know and have that life, health and peace?
Have you asked Jesus Christ into your heart as Gary and million others have done…
If not, you can do that right now… Christ the Redeemer gave his life to redeem us, you and me… and many others gave their lives to bring us the Word of God throughout the generations of history until now…
We must never take this lightly because eternity hangs on this…. Our eternity – one of loss in hell or one of glory in heaven forever…
God did His part to open the gates of heaven wide… the Gospel is the invitation to come through that gate…
And it is very simple, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever (put your name here) believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life…
And that goes for this life as well, He came that we might have life more abundantly down here also…. in Him we find life, health and peace…
Just ask Him into your heart today… just say, “Lord come into my heart, come into my life, I turn to you right now and ask for forgiveness, I repent of my sins and receive your work on the cross... I receive your Gospel , Your Word, as it was delivered through your blood shed on the cross in my place. And I thank you, Amen.
If you said that prayer and meant it in your heart sincerely, He is faithful to do what He promised and that is to come into your heart and make you a child of God today... it is important that you confess your new faith, or renewed faith, and join a Bible believing church in your community where you can fellowship with other Christians and worship God together, learn the Word of God and grow in your new faith.
Before I dismiss the service today, I want to read to you the Blessing that was read to the people of God in Numbers 6:24-26 which is the benediction from God to you today:
“The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.'
I hope and pray that you will come back next Sunday at SpiritFM.ca, 7 am and 7 pm pacific time. And if you want to hear the service again at any time, you can go to my website at TimingRevelation.com, and click on the Radio Shows navigational tab along the left. The replays are available there for five weeks, then they are transcripted into articles as new radio shows are put up.
I encourage you to go to your Bible and read further on the scriptures that were given throughout the program today. And if you like these programs and you've been blessed, call or write the station and let them know... if you said the prayer and have accepted the Lord or you've been healed or touched in some way by the Holy Spirit, write to me on the contact form of this web site...
and this web site is also where you will find the Free Offer of the “Christian Growth and Maturity Chart” that I talked to you about last week... you will see the graphic on any page called “Get your free CGM Chart”, click on it and it will take you to a page that will tell you about it and how you can subscribe to my newsletter to get your free copy of the Chart sent to you.
Until next week, Maranatha, the Lord is coming, very soon. Goodbye and Blessing.
going to go out with a wonderful classical piece, from Johann
Sebastian Bach, which I haven’t done for a while, from “The
Cathedral Consort Series, Concertos & Airs, Vol. 1, recorded by
Final Score Productions at St. Andrew’s Church, Ottawa, Canada…
performed by Michel Rondeau on the Trumpet and Jeffrey Campbell on
the organ… “Jesus, Joy of Man’s desiring”… authored by
Janus Martin in the 1600’s.
To the Reader:
You can listen to a version of it at this link:
As I mentioned earlier, the information of this history of the Bible in this 3-part series comes from a variety of resources, much of it from the book “In the Beginning” by Alister McGrath, as well as “Great Leaders of the Christian Church” by John D. Woodbridge”, with checks against various sources such as the Wikipeadia, Google, and other sources.
I would highly recommend that you look into obtaining your copy of these two books. For your convenience you can look them up on my Christianbook affiliate link just below and purchase these from one of the top Christian books and products suppliers.
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