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The Beginnings of Bible Translation

Old Testament Languages

Writing in the TorahThe Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew, the language of the Jewish people. As time passed after the original writing, the Greek language gained prevalence. So, in the third century B.C. a Greek translation of the Old Testament scriptures was completed—the Septuagint. This translation was in common use during the time of Jesus’ ministry.

New Testament Languages

When the New Testament was written, the common languages of the time were put to use once more. Text was written in Koine Greek. This familiar language communicated well to average people and deeply impacted the early church. But eventually, this language became less effective at communicating God’s Word. It was no longer in everyday use in some areas, and the gospel spread into entirely new territories not familiar with this language. These factors made translation imperative for an understandable transmission of God’s Word. Translations began early in the history of the Church.

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