The Bible is the world’s best-selling book. That is no surprise. There are 2.1 billion Christians in the world. It is true that this comprises many different denominations. It is also true that as a result of those many different denominations, there are many different types of bibles. So, my article is really about the scope of these different types of bibles. It is also a guide to which bibles are for sale and which you want to purchase for your edification. The King James Bible is the best known and most loved protestant bible.
Earliest bibles: A history of various Bibles
Protestant bible, Greek Orthodox Bible, Catholic Bible, Septuagint, and the Aprocrapha are all different types of bibles. The King James Bible is the most famous.
The Earliest Bibles
The Earliest Bible
The first bible was a combination of the Jewish Septuagint and the books of the New Testament. The Septuagint was written in Greek and was a translation of the Jewish canon.
How Changes to the Jewish Bible Resulted in Changes to the Christian Bible
In 100 AD, the Jewish scriptures were rearranged to exclude some scripture and include others. It was at this point that Rabbis decided to omit the scriptures that had been written between 170 BC and 70 AD. These were the scriptures that were written in Greek and not in Aramaic. Christians continued to use the version of the Old Testament that included these books until the middle of the 19thcentury when the Protestant Church finally eliminated them
In the 14th century, there were some changes to suit Christianity which had undergone many changes of belief. The old testament was altered so that it was compatible with the Septuagint which existed at the time of the early Church. The books of the Apocrypha were excluded from the protestant versoin and were published separately. Initially, the King James Version of the bible contained the Apocrypha. The Apocrypha is a direct translation of the Septuaginat which was the bible the early Christians used.
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The King James Bible - the most famous protestant bible of all
History of the King James Bible
The King James Bible was published in 1611 in England, the result of a rift between the Catholic Church and the Church of England. That made it 400 years old in 2011. King James gave strict instructions that the bible was to conform to the Church of England’s doctrine. Shakespeare was very much alive when it was being written and that is the reason that the King James Version seems to be using Shakespearean English. That is the way English was spoken during that time.
KJV Favorite Bible
While many would find difficulty in reading the old English within the Authorized Version, it still remains a favorite as a result of the beauty of the language used in it. Many of the phrases that we currently use come from the times during which this bible was written. These include phrases like leading a lamb to the slaughter, obtaining something by the skin of one’s teeth, nothing new under the sun, a land flowing with milk and honey, a man after his own heart, a leopard not being able to change its spots, an eye for an eye, turning the other cheek, and all the days of one’s life.
Influence on Spread and Development of English
It has been said that the King James version has had more influence on the English language than any other book. While all who have read it have derived something from it, there are those that took particular verses and made a life work from it.
The 400th birthday of the King James Bible took place on May 2nd, 2011.
Helen Keller Loved the King James Bible
Helen Keller, the deaf, dumb, and blind scholar was struck by the verse, “"Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD." She spoke up for those that were deaf and dumb and became an international figure.
John Lock also loved the King James Bible
John Lock was a great reader of it and maintained from reading Genesis that kings did not have divine rights.
JRR Tolkien was another famous person who loved the King James Bible.
Tolkien, the author of Lord of the Rings, while stressing that the book was not a biblical fairy tale did say that in his final resolution of his mighty tale, he was aware of the biblical words, ‘‘Forgive us our trespasses a we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Understanding Old English in the King James Bible
While it can be difficult to get the meaning at first glance when reading verses of scripture from the King James Bible, it is not that far removed from our current form of English. As a result, after a few readings, the meaning becomes clear. It's also useful, however, to do a bit of study on the side so that it is understood that when, for instance, John speaks about Charity, the word once meant Love.
The King James Bible is the oldest Protestant bible in existance. It was the first bible that was printed when people began to break away from the Roman Catholic Church.
There are many different kinds of bibles as the first five hundred years produced many different versions of Christianity. The Greek Orthodox bible is the closest to the original.
The King James Bible, or authorized version, is the traditional protestant bible. It was written at a time when Christianity was far more entrenched than it is today. It was, also, however, changed in some ways to suit the times. That was because King James was separating England from the Catholic Church and he did not want the people to worry that they wouldn't be saved. So a few verses were changed. It is for this reason that protestants have a different version of christianity to the Catholic church. That said, students of the bible consider the King James Bible to be the greatest bible ever written as the language is considered to be poetic and beautiful without losing any of the spiritual meaning.
Many Different types of Protestant Bibles.
Revised Standard Version, English Standard Version, New International Version, etc
During the 20th century, there was a spurt of new translations and interpretations of the King James Bibles. The text of the King James Bible was checked against those of the Greek Orthodox Bible and the Catholic Bible and as many of the earlier 'pieces of bible' that were available to check.
These versions include the Revised Standard Version (RSV), the English Standard Version (ESV), the New International Version (NIV), the New American Standard Bible, the New King James Version (NKJV), as well as various amplied bibles which included historical and religious interpretations.
Bibles that came after the Septuagint
The Catholic bible and Greek Orthdox Bibles
The Catholic Bible
The Catholic Bible includes the original Septuagint as it was in the time of the early church. These include 1st and 2ndMaccabees, Baruch, Tobit, Judith, The Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach (Ecclesiastus), additions to Esther, the stories of Susanna, Bel and the Dragon which are part of Daniel.
The Greek Orthodox Bible
The Greek Orthodox Bible contains all the above plus 1st and 2nd Esdras, the Prayer of Manasseh, Psalm 151, and 3rd Maccabees. The above additional books in the Catholic bible plus these extra books are called the Apocrypha.
Modern Types of Bibles
Today, there are almost as many bibles are there are different denominations of the Christian faith. Some are incredibly beautiful and even if one wasn’t a believer, the sheer beauty of the book makes it a desirable purchase.
Some are printed in large print so that those who have weak eyesight can read it. Others have updated the language so that what is being said is more easily understood. Still others have interpreted what is being said in order to encourage a certain perspective. There are bibles that specialize in highlighting those verses that cater to women while others have archeological evidence attached to the various geographical locations in the bible.
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Interpreting and/or Translating the Bible
Translation vs Hermeneutics
Translation vs Hermeneutics
As in all ancient books, hermeneutics and translation are at odds. Because language and culture change, it’s easy to mistranslate what is being said. That is where interpretation of translation comes into being. Most bibles are not only translations of the Greek Version, but have a fair degree of interpretation (hermeneutics) attached depending on which denomination the bible will be used for.
Buying the Right Bible
Check with your church
There are several ways of buying a bible. These include buying the same bible that those around you are using. Another way includes buying several different types of bible, reading and studying them all in the hope that a broader view would be achieved. The last would be consult with people from different denominations and ask them why they selected their bible and go from there.
That said, most bibles contain the central truths of Christianity.