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Translating the Bible is an ancient art. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament were translated long ago in order to make them available to a wider audience. The Hebrew Scriptures were translated from Hebrew and Aramaic into Greek during the 3rd century BC. Known as the Septuagint, this translation was intended for a Jewish audience outside of Palestine that could not read Hebrew. Early Christians used this translation of the Hebrew Scriptures as their Bible. During the late 4th and early 5th centuries AD, the entire Bible was translated into Latin from the original languages by Jerome. Commissioned by the Bishop of Rome, this version became known as the Vulgate, and it was the official Bible of the Church for nearly a thousand years, even after classical Latin had ceased to be a spoken language. The words of the Bible were not accessible to ordinary Christians because only educated clergy could read it. In the 1400s, an English priest by the name of John Wycliffe translated the Bible into English, an act that was condemned by the Church in 1415. Nevertheless, the invention of the printing press in 1455 resulted in the spread of English translations across Europe. Martin Luther translated a German version of the New Testament in 1522, and the complete Bible was translated into German by 1534. William Tyndale translated an English version of the New Testament in 1525, for which he was executed in 1536. For the next couple of hundred years, most English translations borrowed from Tyndale's work. Matthew's Bible was published in 1537, and the Geneva Bible in 1560. In 1604, the King James Version was commissioned by King James I, which is still in use today, along with many other translations. As the original manuscripts of the Bible are lost, existing translations are from either the Septuagint or the Vulgate. Otherwise, modern translations are distinguished by the method of translation used, whether verbal, dynamic or paraphrase.


Douay-Rheims Bible

King James Version



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