The Text of the Holy Scriptures

The Bible is composed of many texts. The books of the law, the histories, and the books of the prophets that compose the Old Testament were originally written in Hebrew. The New Testament was written in the common form of ancient Greek, Koine Greek. It was written in the language of ordinary people; Koine Greek was a kind of lingua franca in areas of the Middle East which Alexander the Great conquered and in which Hellenistic Greek kingdoms were established.  The Church existed before the various books of the Bible were written down. The Church gradually established a canon, or rule, which outlines the books to be included in the Bible or Holy Scriptures.  Except for the Apocalypse of St. John the books chosen for the New Testament were generally those read in Church, as my bishop puts it. St. Athanasius wrote a list in a letter he wrote in the year 367 A.D. around the Paschal season (Eastertide).[1] The Protestants later cut certain books from the books they considered to be Holy Scriptures and labeled them as apocryphal: a Protestant bible, for instance, will not now generally have the books of Maccabees included.

The Blessed Jerome, patron of translators, crafted a new Latin Bible which is called Biblia Sacra Vulgata (The Holy Books in the Vulgar Tongue). St. Jerome was born in Palestine around the year 347 A.D. and died in 419/420 A.D.[2] He was an ordained Christian priest of the Catholic Church.[3]  He was a scholar learned in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. He used the Greek New Testament Writings, the Greek translations of the Old Testament, called the Septuagint (LXX), the Old Latin text of the Bible (Vetus), and Hebrew texts of the Old Testament[4]. His Latin text of the Bible was the most common one in the Western world for centuries. He is a patron saint of translators.

The New Testament has been translated into 1,521 living languages[5]. The King James Version (KJV) and New King James Version (NKJV) are the standard texts for the Church of England and its offshoots in the English speaking world or Anglo-sphere. The Douay-Rheims Version (DRB) is the Standard English translation for the Roman Catholic Church. The New International Version (NIV) is one of many translations of the bible used by the various Protestant communities. The Textus Receptus, or received text, is the received Greek text of the New Testament and its Latin counterpart. It is generally the fullest version and aligns closely to traditional orthodox beliefs held by the church for centuries as outlined in the Nicene Creed of 325 A.D.

[1] http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2806039.htm

[2] https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-Jerome

[3] Ibid.

[4] http://www.vulgate.org

[5] http://www.biblica.com


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