The history of the Bible is tied directly to the Jewish and Christian Religions. The Bible is divided into two sections, the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament, originally composed primarily in Hebrew, began in approximately 1875 BC, when Abraham was called by God to Canaan. Historians agree that the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, was written by Moses around 1450 to 1400 BC. Portions of the Bible were written in Aramaic, including parts of the Book of Daniel. It was during this time Jews were held in captivity in Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar and spoke primarily Aramaic. The last book of the Old Testament was written in 425 BC and was written in Hebrew.
The New Testament was written by disciples of Jesus and followers of Christianity. Much of it was written in Greek and then translated into Latin Coptic, and Syriac. The entire Bible was translated into Latin around 195 AD. The Bible was not translated to the English language until 1380 AD. This was the work of John Wycliffe, who used a translation of a translation to complete the work. Wycliffe did not know Greek or Hebrew, so he had to translate from the Latin translation.
Printing the Bible
The invention of printing had a major effect on the distribution of the Bible. Gutenberg produced the first printed Bible in Latin in 1456 AD. In 1611
AD the King James Version of the Bible was printed in English from the original Hebrew and Greek versions. Today, this version is still one of the most widely used versions of the Bible. Subsequent versions included the United Bible Societies Fourth Edition of the Green New Testament published in 1968 AD, the New American Standard Version, published in 1971 AD, and the New International Version, published in 1983 AD. The New International Version used the oldest manuscripts in existence and is considered a thought for though translation, instead of word for word.
There were three criteria used to determine if a book would be included in the New Testament. To begin with, the book must have apostolic authority, which means it needed to be written by an apostle or an associate of an apostle. Next, the book must conform to the rule of faith, meaning it must express the Christian tradition. Finally, it must have had continuous acceptance and usage by the church. There are differences between the number of books in the Bible from religion to religion. For instance, the Jewish faith accepts only the Old Testament, which is called the Torah. Catholics have accepted 73 books, while Protestant religions accept 66.
There are several “lost” or not included books in the Bible. The Emperor Constantine was the primary figure in eliminating or excluding certain books from the Bible. Most of these have been the subject of debate at one time or another. Arguably, there are more than 500 lost books of the Bible. Some of the books included on various lists of lost books include the Book of Moses, the Book of Adam, the Gospel of Thomas, and the Gospel of Jude.