In its generally accepted collection of 66 books (39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament), The Bible is a record of human history from creation to the final restoration of God’s perfect Kingdom. It is the ONLY book with the longest publishing history, the ONLY book most widely travelled across cultures, nations and continents, and ONLY most widely translated book, both in number of languages and in number of versions in many languages, especially the english language.
It is also humorously noted, the Bible is the ONLY book which offers several layers of dust gathered while resting on bookshelves in many homes, which might be of particular interest to those wishing to study a sample of the 40,000 tons of cosmic dust that reaches the earth every year!
“The Bible is the sacred Book, or collection of books, accepted by the Christian Church as uniquely inspired by God, and thus authoritative, providing guidelines for belief and behaviour” (R. F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison & Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, “Bible,” Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, TN, 1995)
As a record of human life on earth, the Bible’s divine origin is affirmed throughout human history (see Genesis 6:9-13, Exodus 20:1-17, 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21 and Revelation 1:1-2). Many human authors either dictated or wrote God’s revelation to them, some having received God’s message directly (e.g. book of Revelation), some having researched and compiled from the recollection of those present (e.g. Luke 1:1-4) and at times, some offered their own opinions (e.g. 1 Corinthians 7:12). Each author wrote according to the language of their time, reflecting their personalities, world views and cultural backgrounds, expressed uniquely by their own writing styles and presentation skills.
During the first century after Christ’s resurrection, Latin replaced Greek as the language of the Roman Empire. In 405 A.D., a Latin translation of the Old and New Testaments was completed. This version, known as the Vulgate, became the standard Bible for Christians for several centuries. The first English version of the complete Bible was John Wycliffe’s translation from the Vulgate, in 1384.
Seventy-two years later, The Bible was the first book printed in 1454 A.D., when Johannes Gutenburg invented the “type mold” for the printing press. The King James Version was published in 1611.
The ravages of time has destroyed or made inaccessible, almost all original manuscripts of the Old Testament or New Testament. The best available sources are hand-made copies of copies. However, developments in Biblical scholarship, archeology and recent archaeological discoveries such as the vast libraries in the Qumran caves, have made possible a number of modern, more accurate English translations of the scriptures. These newer versions are translated from the best available ancient Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, rather than from the King James Version or the Latin Vulgate.
A search of the word BIBLE on Google will yield many creditable and worthy resources. Scouring through this seemingly indefinite list can be daunting and confusing. We offer the following resources as a guide, hoping it will also be helpful to those starting or early in their search.
It is widely known that God reveals Himself to anyone earnestly searching for Him.
May your search to “find” God and your quest to know Him, bring you joy in your heart, peace in your soul and unnumbered blessings in your life.