The Bible, also known as Holy Bible is a collection of religious texts of Judaism or Christianity. The word Bible comes from the Greek word τὰ βιβλία (biblia) which means "books" in English, because it is many books in one book. It includes laws, stories, prayers, songs, and wise words. A number of texts are both in the Hebrew Bible, used by Jews, and this Christian one.
When talking about the Bible, a book is used to speak about a number of texts. All the texts that make a book are believed to belong together. Most of the time, people believe they were written or collected by the same person. The Bible contains different kinds of such books. Some are history, telling the stories of the Jews, Jesus, or Jesus' followers. Some are collections of wise sayings. Some are God's commands to His people, which He expects them to obey. Some are songs of praise to God. Some are books of prophecy, messages from God that He gave through chosen people called prophets.
Christian Bibles range from the 66 books of the Protestant canon to 81 books in the Ethiopian Orthodox Bible. The oldest surviving Christian Bible is the Codex Sinaiticus, a Greek manuscript from the fourth century AD. The oldest complete Hebrew manuscripts date from the Middle Ages.
There are many names for the Bible; some call it Holy Scripture, Holy Writ, “the Word of God” or the Good Book.
How it was written [change]
For a long time the texts were passed on by word of mouth from generation to generation. The Bible was written long ago in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, and translations were made later into Latin and some other languages. Now there are translations in English and many other languages. The books of the Hebrew text—what Christians call the Old Testament—were not all written at the same time. It took hundreds of years (about 1200 years). The process of putting it all together began around 400 B.C. The New Testament, which was originally written in Greek, began to be put together in about 100 A.D.
Translations and versions [change]
A translation is when a scribe takes the Hebrew and/or Greek source and writes it in another language. The New Testament was first translated in 1525 by William Tyndale. At the time, people did not have their own Bible at home and only heard it read in Latin in churches. He did it even though at the time it was a crime to translate the Bible into English. Another well known translation is the 1611 King James Translation (commonly known as the Authorized King James Version of the Bible).
Some texts were written by historians who tried to show what Ancient Israel was like. Other texts are poems about God and his work. And others were used to make laws. Followers of Judaism and Christianity consider the Bible sacred but they do not all agree about what belongs in the Bible. What is considered part of the Bible changed with history. Different denominations include certain parts or leave out other parts. There is not one single version of the Bible; both the content of the books and their order may change.
Today there are dozens of versions of the Bible. Some are translations and some are paraphrases. A paraphrased version is where people take a translation and put it in their own words. As the Bible has been translated into modern languages, it is also possible that there are different translations of the same texts. The Bible is the best selling book of all time. 2.5 billion to more than 6 billion copies of the Bible have been sold to date. A complete version of the Bible exists in 471 languages. Parts have been translated in 2225 languages. Most Bibles can be found in the British Museum in London.
Old Testament [change]
The Christian Bible is a collection of books. The first part is called the Old Testament.
New Testament [change]
The second part is called the New Testament. It was first translated from Greek into English in 1525 by William Tyndale. The main part of this book is the story of the life of Jesus Christ. The four different versions of this story in the New Testament are called the Gospels. After the Gospels, there is also the story of what happened to the Church after Jesus's death. Part of this is told through letters by early Christian leaders, especially Saint Paul. One of the most quoted verses in the Bible is John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish [die] but have eternal life." NIV
Views about the Bible [change]
People have different ideas about the Bible. Christians believe it is God's Word to people. The Jews believe that only the Old Testament is from God. Protestants and Catholics believe that the Old and New Testaments are God's Word. Catholics also believe that the books called Apocryphal or Deuterocanonical are part of the Bible. Sometimes different denominations disagree over exactly what the Bible means.
Atheists do not believe that God exists, so they do not believe in the Bible.
Some people in the Bible [change]
- Codex Sinaiticus: http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/codex/
- Philip R. Davies, "Memories of ancient Israel", p.7
- Ash, Russell (2001). Top 10 of Everything 2002. Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 0789480433, 9780789480439.
- Businessweek on The Bible: "The Bible (2.5 billion copies sold)" (18 July 2005)
- Wycliffe translators' hompage, (Sept 2009)
- Entre Galilée et l'Église : la Bible., Une mise au point. Étude. Joël COL. ISBN 2-9520299-0-3, AutoEdition Méguila, 2003.
Other websites [change]