Tag Archives: 1° Century

This is Church Unity?

At the beginning of the Christian church there was already the difference in the different Jewish families. Many had difficulties to come to read between the lines and come to grab the intention of certain words. Today there are still lots of people and church groups who have difficulties in interpreting the Scriptures. Today there are still the literalists as well as Pharisaic groups.

But the worst matter in Christendom today is still the schism of the 4th century when the majority wanted to go by the Greco-Roman traditions and the will of Constantine I. From the moment those leaders and false teachers agreed to make up creeds that were not in line with biblical teaching, making Jesus into their god, all problems started and made certain people and churches go for power and taking care with their false human doctrines that they could keep people under control.

Jesus never claimed to be God nor wanted to create a new religion. As a Jew he worshipped the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, and wanted all his followers to do the same.
Jesus did not want a restricting church. He came to liberate the people of all chains and especially of the curse of death.

Jesus wanted that people would come to know his God, the God of the Hebrews Who is One (and not two or three) and wanted a church true to his word and his way of life in accordance with the Will of God, in line with God’s Word.

We must grow towards this word of God as brothers and sisters in Christ, following the teachings of Christ and not particularly following the teachings of people, even if they call themselves theologians, bishops or popes.

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Preceding

Many looking for the church of the world instead of the Church of God

Christian denominations as pots in the desert

Having to learn and benefit from other Christian denominations

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Additional reading

  1. Gates to different belief systems in this world
  2. Religion and believers #1 Lots of groups and forms of belief to be taken interest in
  3. Religion and believers #7 Independent and organised form of existence of a religion

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Related

  1. About the different denominations
  2. Christian denominations (sects)
  3. Are denominational differences a blot on the church?
  4. Denominations Losing Internal Influence
  5. Why are there so many splits in the Presbyterian Church? Here’s an Explanation
  6. Do Denominations Divide Us?
  7. Which Church Would Jesus Choose?

The #Heb10 Church

If you watched the series, The Chosen, then you’re familiar with the character of the Pharisee, Shmuel. This Pharisee did everything he could to create division within the synagogue and the Sanhedrin itself!

In the Sanhedrin, there were two schools of thought – the school of Hillel, which was the liberal wing of Judaism, and the school of Shammai, which was the more conservative side of Judaism.

Both schools observed the Law of Torah, but had differing interpretations. This is how the Oral Law came into being – this oral tradition became law based on which school had control of the Sanhedrin at the time. The rabbis would write their interpretation of a specific law, which would be added to the Talmud – taking 613 laws and creating thousands of laws that were required to be followed.

Growing up in this tradition, I’ve seen this firsthand.

Where did the prohibition…

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Many looking for the church of the world instead of the Church of God

Looking for the church

Someone has said,

“I looked for the Church, and found it in the world. I look for the world, and found it in the Church.”

The word ICHABOD has been stamped on many a local church door, but only spiritual eyes can see that the glory of the Lord has departed. {It is Easier to Change the Local Church than the Bible}

That is the problem of our world or the problem of our nation … human beings always looking for other human beings and believing in human beings more than in the Word of the Highest all-knowing eternal God above all gods.

Coming face to face with God

Mankind is afraid to come face to face with God. It is impossible for man to see God, though man wants to have something they can refer to, see and feel or touch. They also want to have a god who has similarities with them, and therefore they took themselves a godhead they can grab. Of that god they created for themselves, a male figure, they can take pictures and statues. Even when the Bible tells mankind that he may not make any graven image of God, man prefers to ignore such demands and has made himself many images of their god.

The Holy Scriptures or Infallible Word of God – Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Too many people do forget or do not want to see that God promises to work through His Word and that This Word of God gives all the knowledge that we need to come to find God and to come to know what God wants from us. God wants to have a relationship with His creatures. He did not create them to be against Him, in the same way, He did not give them commandments of which He knew man would be able not to keep them.

Sinful people

By the first sinful act of Adam and Eve, sin came into the world. All those coming after them were sinful people. Still today it is like that. It would be very difficult to find someone who is without something doing wrong or without having sinned. We are all taken up by sin.

“As by means of one man, sin entered into the world, and, by means of sin, death; and so death passed upon all the sons of men, inasmuch as they all have sinned: — ” (Ro 5:12 Murdock)

“If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.”” (Ge 4:7 KJ21)

“”If they sin against Thee (for there is no man that sinneth not), and Thou be angry with them and deliver them to the enemy so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near;” (1Ki 8:46 KJ21)

It is that sinning that is standing in the way to have a good relationship with our heavenly Father. To come to a better relationship God provided means. One of those was by creating a possibility for man to show his submission to God and his desire to please God by offering sacrifices to God. Later in the history of mankind, there came special places to bring such offerings to God and as such temples came into existence, where also special people took care of the services for God. Those priests were at first anointed by God Himself, though later man took care of themselves to appoint priests and to decide for themselves how those services to God and sacrifices were to be carried out. In a way such services would later become churchservices.

Houses of worship for the Only One God Jehovah

At first Jesus and his apostles went to those houses of worship. In those temples, they praised not Jesus but the God of the Hebrews, the God of Adam and Eve, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Who is the Only True God. Jesus and his apostle were very well aware of that Name of That God. They worshipped Jehovah as the Only One True God.

“that men may know that Thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the Most High over all the earth.” (Ps 83:18 KJ21)

“2 And God spoke unto Moses and said unto him, “I am the LORD. 3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob by the name of God Almighty, but by My name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.” (Ex 6:2-3 KJ21)

When Jesus was gone the apostle did not change their mind about Whom they had to worship and about Whom they had to pray to and call His Name.

“For “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”” (Ro 10:13 KJ21)

“and in that day shall ye say: “Praise the LORD! Call upon His name! Declare His doings among the people; make mention that His name is exalted.” (Isa 12:4 KJ21)

The way of worshipping did not change in the first century. It was customary for them to continue to go to the temple and to praise and glorify God there, as well as to continue to study the Hebrew Scriptures. They were convinced that such worship of God should come from deep within the heart and not be a mere passing fancy.

“God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”” (Joh 4:24 KJ21)

“yet to us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we in Him, and one Lord Jesus Christ by whom are all things, and we by Him.” (1Co 8:6 KJ21)

Yes, not Jesus was their god, but the Divine Creator of heaven and earth was their God. To them, it was as pure as a lump of sugar or clear as water, that this God is only one.

“”Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.” (De 6:4 KJ21)

One God and His beloved son opposite a god the son

They felt that they had become one in God by the sent one from God in whom they came to believe as that promised one from old times, who they now recognised as their saviour or that promised Messiah, by whom they now got the opportunity to get a new life.

“yet to us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we in Him, and one Lord Jesus Christ by whom are all things, and we by Him.” (1Co 8:6 KJ21)

It was several years after Jesus had died that certain people started taking Jesus as their god, forgetting the words Jesus himself had spoken.

“Jesus said unto her, “Touch Me not, for I am not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say unto them, ‘I ascend unto My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”” (Joh 20:17 KJ21)

Today there are still many people who do not hear or want to understand those words of that son of man, who gave his life for many, so that we can have hope for receiving a new life in the Kingdom of God.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (1Pe 1:3 KJ21)

Those who claim that Jesus is God, should better think about the fact that Jesus more than once prayed to Whom he called God. He did not pray to himself, neither cried to himself, or did not ask himself why He had abandoned him. (How would a person abandon or forsake himself?)

“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is, being interpreted, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”” (Mr 15:34 KJ21)

“1  These words spoke Jesus and lifted up His eyes to Heaven and said, “Father, the hour is come. Glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee, 2 as Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him. 3 And this is life eternal: that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” (Joh 17:1-3 KJ21)

The apostle Peter might be one of the first apostles who publicly professed who Jesus Christ was.

“16 And Simon Peter answered and said,

“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

17 And Jesus answered and said unto him,

“Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father who is in Heaven.” (Mt 16:16-17 KJ21)

A son of man as a way to God

It was such confession that the apostles required also from those who wanted to go in the footsteps of their master teacher. This way started of a group of followers of Christ. People who were convinced that Jesus was the way, like he more than once told others.

“Jesus said to him: I am the way, and truth, and life: no one cometh unto my Father, but by me.” (Joh 14:6 Murdock)

“Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” (1Jo 4:15 KJ21)

The apostles also wrote down how they came to understand who Jesus Christ was and how the world had come to see that he is the son of man and son of God. By writing it all down, those writings should give a clear picture of Whom God is and about whom Jesus is.

“And the angel answered and said unto her,

“The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. Therefore also that Holy Being who shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Lu 1:35 KJ21)

“And I saw and bore record that this is the Son of God.”” (Joh 1:34 KJ21)

“29 Jesus said unto him,

“Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed. Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.”

30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, ye might have life through His name.” (Joh 20:29-31 KJ21)

Accepting Jesus as son of God

That life which may come over us is by accepting who Jesus is, the son of God, and not by going all the fancies of the world. It are not the human doctrines we should take for the rules to follow, but the Biblical doctrines we should take for granted and to go by. It are those sacred writings that tell us that Jesus is now sitting at the right hand of God, being a mediator between God and us.

“5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,” (1Ti 2:5-6 KJ21)

For those who continued to follow the apostles of Jesus it is clear that there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and that newt to This God there is the one Who God Himself declared to be His only beloved son, Jesus Christ the Messiah. (1Co 8:6)

Followers of false teachings and false teachers

Up to today there are people who want to follow the teachings of those false teachers who claimed that Jesus would be an incarnated God. Some of the present teachers or pastors even want to twist the historical truth and come to say that it were the non-trinitarian preachers who would have followed Greco-Roman philosophy, though it are the Trinitarians who took all sorts of believes of those philosophers in their teaching, like incarnation, separate souls who would leave the body after death, hell as a burning place of eternal torture, etc. . Instead of bringing people on the right path to God, they mislead their churchgoers and having them worship a false god.

Already in the first century, the apostles warned against such false teachers who violated the Word of God and often came to deceive people with things they liked to hear. Such a God made flesh appealed to many, and still does. Hereby lots of people forget how often in the Bible is told that Jesus is the son of God (something totally different as “god the son”) and how Jesus himself spoke about his heavenly Father, from Whom he came and to Whom he went again.

“Jesus said to her:

Touch me not; for not yet have I ascended to my Father. But go to my brethren, and say to them: I ascend to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.” (Joh 20:17 Murdock)

Those teachers claiming that Jesus would be God destroy the value of Jesus’ act of sacrifice and make God a great comedian who repeatedly told lies to deceive people, let alone called Himself a “God of no lies” when He did see mankind as lying creatures. Those Trinitarian preachers seem to neglect that The God of no lies said Himself that Jesus is His beloved son.

“And lo, a voice came from Heaven, saying,

“THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED.”” (Mt 3:17 KJ21)

“God forbid! Yea, let God be true, though every man a liar. As it is written:

“That Thou mightest be justified in Thy sayings, and mightest overcome when Thou art judged.”” (Ro 3:4 KJ21)

Not only minimalise those preachers the self-sacrifice of Jesus the also make the resurrection of Jesus as a joke, because God can not die (Him being an eternal Spirit) and when Jesus is God we are still left with no proof at all that man would be able to step out of the dead. As such those trinitarian churches take away our hope for a resurrection, because we can not become God and do like Him, but are then still bounded to the grave (sheol or hell). The real followers of Christ continued teaching the Gospel or Good News of the coming Kingdom of God, by which there is the hope in the resurrection of the man Jesus Christ, as an example of what can happen to us.

“Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, who in his great mercy hath begotten us anew, by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, to the hope of life,” (1Pe 1:3 Murdock)

Not a schizophrenic God

Jesus was or is not a schizophrenic God Who came to pray and cry to himself. Jesus prayed sincerely to his heavenly Father, Whom he considered to be the Only One True God.

“And at the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, and said: [Il, Il, lemono shebakthone;]that is: My God, my God; why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mr 15:34 Murdock)

“1  These things spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said: My Father, the hour is come: glorify thy Son, that thy Son may glorify thee. 2 As thou hast given him authority over all flesh, that he might give life eternal to as many as thou hast given him. 3 And this is life eternal, that they may know thee, that thou art the only true God, and whom thou hast sent, Jesus Messiah.” (Joh 17:1-3 Murdock)

It might have taken some time before the apostles really came to see who their master-teacher really was and how they should behave and go into the world as his disciples and workers for God. It can well be that the apostle Peter was the first one to recognise for the first time in public Jesus real position.

“16 Simon Cephas {Greek: Simon Peter} answered and said:

Thou art the Messiah, the Son of the living God.

17 Jesus answered, and said to him:

Blessed art thou, Simon son of Jonas; for flesh and blood have not revealed [it] to thee, but my Father who is in heaven.” (Mt 16:16-17 Murdock)

The religion of Old Testament not passing away

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

After that Jesus was taken into heaven by his heavenly Father and after Jesus promised helper came over the apostles they dared to come out in public again and started off their great preaching work.

Those who heard and/or saw Jesus preach and/or heard the apostles,  could not believe that the religion of the Old Testament, revealed by God Himself, should pass away. They indeed regarded Jesus as the Saviour of Gentiles as well as Jews. We could say that Judaism was for them considered the necessary introduction to their group (which we call today Christianity). Several people from all sorts of rang came to join the apostles. Their Jewish movement was called “The Way“.

But by joining more non-Jews the matter of circumcision and the observance of the whole Mosaic law came under discussion. The question was the sole condition of an interest in the Messianic salvation. And, offensive as Judaism was, rather than attractive, to the heathen, this principle would have utterly precluded the conversion of the mass of the Gentile world.  The apostles themselves were at first trammelled by this Judaistic prejudice, till taught better by the special revelation to Peter before the conversion of Cornelius.
But even after the baptism of the uncircumcised centurion, and Peter’s defence of it before the church of Jerusalem, the old leaven still wrought in some Jewish Christians who had formerly belonged to the rigid and exclusive sect of the Pharisees, to which the apostle Paul also belonged to.

Difficulties around gentile converts

The churches of Jerusalem and Antioch resolved to hold a private and a public conference at Jerusalem. Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas as commissioners to represent the Gentile converts. Paul, fully aware of the gravity of the crisis, obeyed at the same time an inner and higher impulse. He also took with him Titus, a native Greek, as a living specimen of what the Spirit of God could accomplish without circumcision. The conference was held C.E. 50 or 51 (fourteen years after Paul’s conversion). It was the first and in some respects the most important council or synod held in the history of Christendom, though differing widely from the councils of later times. It is placed in the middle of the book of Acts as the connecting link between the two sections of the apostolic church and the two epochs of its missionary history.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

In the beginning, the people from The Way, like all the Jews, went on the Sabbath to the gathering in the temple. But after more goyim or non-Jews had joined that movement which confessed that Jesus is the son of God (Lu 1:35 ), and as such also came to abide in God (1Jo 4:15), they were not so welcome anymore in the temples and synagogues. Those non-Jews by their baptism in Christ being taken up in the group, which grew fairly quickly, and made others look jealous at them but also did not want those non-Jews in their prayer houses. Therefore The Way started also to come together in private houses and as such creating the first house churches.

Seeing and not seeing the man of flesh and blood

The apostles had after some years got a very clear picture of Jesus and with them many others had seen this man of flesh and blood (remember that God can not be seen by man). They testified that their master is the Son of God (Joh 1:34) and never said that Jesus would have claimed such a position, to be God. The amount of false teachers grew and began to argue with the true followers of Jesus who held to the sonship of Christ Jesus and did not wish to enter into the false teaching of Jesus’ Godhead.

In ancient time people could see and hear Jesus. We do not have such an opportunity anymore, though we should go by the material which is handed over to us in the Books of the New Testament. They provide enough information to learn about the man Jesus from Nazareth and his disciples. In connection with the Books of the Old Testament one should clearly come to see what Jesus role is in the history of mankind. Not having seen Jesus Christ, there were loads of people who came to believe in the son of God, that man of flesh and blood. Not having been able to see Christ we have to believe in him and accept him as the mediator for us by his heavenly Father the Only One True God.

“29 Jesus said to him: Now, when thou hast seen me, thou believest: blessed are they, who have not seen me, yet believe. —  30 And many other signs did Jesus before his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God; and that when ye believe, ye may have life eternal by his name.” (Joh 20:29-31 Murdock)

“5 For God is one; and the mediator between God and men is one, [namely] the man Jesus the Messiah; 6 who gave himself a ransom for every man;  — testimony that arrived in due time,” (1Ti 2:5-6 Murdock)

Jerusalem consultation

The object of the Jerusalem consultation was twofold: first, to settle the personal relation between the Jewish and Gentile apostles, disciples and preachers, and to divide their field of labour; secondly, to decide the question of circumcision, and to define the relation between the Jewish and Gentile Christians. On the first point (as we learn from Paul) it effected a complete and final, on the second point (as we learn from Luke) a partial and temporary settlement. In the nature of the case the public conference in which the whole church took part, was preceded and accompanied by private consultations of the apostles.

Constantine period

In the fourth century the division between the real followers of Christ and the followers of those false teachers who mixed those teachings of Christ with other human teachings, had become so big that they called for a council to decide how the church would continue.

Constantine I (the Great) the founder of Constantinople and the Byzantine empire, and for someone of the most gifted, energetic, and successful of the Roman emperors, was the first representative of the imposing idea of a Christian theocracy, or of that system of policy which assumes all subjects to be Christians, connects civil and religious rights, and regards church and state as the two arms of one and the same divine government on earth. This idea was more fully developed by his successors, it animated the whole middle age, and is yet working under various forms in these latest times; though it has never been fully realised, whether in the Byzantine, the German, or the Russian empire, the Roman church-state, the Calvinistic republic of Geneva, or the early Puritanic colonies of New England. At the same time, however, Constantine stands also as the type of undiscriminating and harmful conjunction of Christianity with politics, of the holy symbol of peace with the horrors of war, of the spiritual interests of the kingdom of heaven with the earthly interests of the state.

He was the man who gave those preachers the choice to come with the world or to stay by their ideas of not being part of the world. The majority choose to be befriended and to walk in fellowship with the world.

Unquestionably every age produces and shapes its own organs, as its own purposes require and as such the Jewish movement of The Way had seen many people going astray and going their own way.  Constantine I did put himself at the head of the age, and was annoyed by the differences and discussions there were by those who claimed to be the followers of the Nazarene rebbe Jeshua ben Josef, Jesus Christ. He also clearly saw that idolatry had outlived itself in the Roman empire, and that Christianity alone could breathe new vigour into it and furnish its moral support.

Donatists and Arians

From the year 313 he placed himself in close connection with the ‘bishops’, made peace and harmony his first object in the Donatist and Arian controversies and applied the predicate “catholic” to the church in all official documents. The Donatists argueing that Christian clergy must be faultless for their ministry to be effective and their prayers and sacraments to be valid. Constantine, hoping to defuse the unrest, gave money to the non-Donatist bishop Caecilian as payment for churches damaged or confiscated during the persecution. Nothing was given to the Donatists; Constantine was apparently not fully aware of the seriousness of the dispute, which his gift exacerbated. The Donatists appealed to Rome for equal treatment; Constantine tasked Miltiades with resolving the issue, which led to the 313 commission.

Many non-trinitarians are often called Arians by Trinitarians, though often those Christians do not follow Arius his teachings but simply the Biblical teachings. The Christian priest Arius, whose teachings gave rise to a theological doctrine known as Arianism, also followed the apostolic teaching that God is One and that Jesus is His son and not God Himself. What makes Arainism so different with what many non-trinitarians are still following today, is that those real followers of Christ (including us) do not integrate Neoplatonism, nor are we inspired by Plato’s ideas or by pre-Socratics (who interpreted the world monistically in terms of nature as such), from the relativism of the Sophists, and from the correction of Platonism in a this-worldly direction carried out by Plato’s greatest pupil, Aristotle.

It is a very big misconception of Trinitarians that nonTrinitarians, or those who do not wish to accept Jesus as God, would be Arians, whereas they do not follow the teachings of Arius at all. The teaching those present non-Trinitarians follow is simply the teachings of Jesus and his apostles.

The only similarity in Arius and the present non-trinitarian denominations is Arius’s basic premise of the uniqueness of God, who is alone self-existent (not dependent for its existence on anything else) and immutable; the Son, who is not self-existent, cannot therefore be the self-existent and immutable God.

“”There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun [a poetic name for the people of Israel, meaning ‘upright people’], who rideth upon the heaven to thy help and in His excellency on the sky.” (De 33:26 KJ21)

“33  O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! 34 “For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been His counselor?” 35 Or, “who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?” 36 For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things, to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” (Ro 11:33-36 KJ21)

Because the Godhead is unique, it cannot be shared or communicated according to Arius. Because the Godhead is immutable, the Son, who is mutable, must, therefore, be deemed a creature who has been called into existence out of nothing and has had a beginning. Moreover, according to Arius the Son can have no direct knowledge of the Father, since the Son is finite and of a different order of existence. For the real followers of Christ there is the knowledge that Jesus was placed in the womb of that young girl and as such coming directly from God must have some DNA from God. Jesus was born in that very devout Essene family of the tribe of King David and had got a very thorough religious upbringing with the Word of God as an inspirational source.

Name change

Badly enough, most of the clergy wanted to come to an agreement with Constantine the Great in order to keep the peace and not to be persecuted anymore. This was done by the clergy to bring their religion more in line with the Greek Roman religion and their triple deity Zeus who was then the main deity worshipped by Constantine and his followers. In order to equate Jeshua (Yeshua) with that deity Zeus, his name was transformed from Jeshua to Issou or Yai_Zeus > Je-Zeus which means Hail Zeus. Since then, the false name (Jezus – Jesus – Chesu) has become fully accepted and in time it was also used by the non-trinitarians to make clear that they were talking about one and the same person as the Trinitarians.

Constantine was praised and censured in turn by the Christians and Pagans, the Orthodox and the Arians, as they successively experienced his favour or dislike, but the real followers of Christ saw in him a very dangerous despot who could easily subdue the false teachers and in unity oppose the true followers of Christ.

The ones coming under agreement with each other about the deity of Jesus and the wishes of Constantine, became the Roman Catholics, who claimed to be the only true church and continued to grow by making sure people from all sorts of tribes could find themselves at home, because many of their traditions were taken in or integrated into that religion.

The real followers of Christ Jesus did not like the name change but had to do with it. for many centuries they tried those who worshipped Jesus as their god to come to know the real Jesus from the Bible.

The groups which accented the absolute oneness of the Divinity as the highest perfection, with a literal, rationalist approach to the New Testament texts sought their way in the world. That point of view was publicized about 323 through the poetic verse of his major work, Thalia (“Banquet”), and was widely spread by popular songs written for labourers and travellers.

The non-Trinitarian aspect and the other Arian teachings (of Arius) and papal positions (Ursinus) brought forth further disputes and conferences, synods or councils. The Ursinians became established in Milan and rekindled their opposition to Damasus.

Damasus I presided over the Council of Rome of 382 that determined the canon or official list of sacred scripture. He encouraged the production of the Latin Vulgate Bible with his support for Jerome.
He spoke out against other groups of Christians that had grown in popularity and denounced several major heresies in the church (including Apollinarianism and Macedonianism). In two synods (368 and 369) the unorthodox teachings of Bishop Macedonius of Constantinople and of Bishop Apollinaris (the Younger) of Laodicea were condemned. Among Damasus’s literary remains are 24 anathemas against various 4th-century heresies.  Apollinaris The Younger and his father (Apollinaris the Elder) had reproduced the Old Testament in the form of Homeric and Pindaric poetry and the New Testament in the style of Platonic dialogues after the Roman emperor Julian had forbidden Christians to teach the classics.
Apollinaris the younger denied the existence in Christ of a rational human soul, a position he took to combat Arianism. Skilled in logic and Hebrew and a teacher of rhetoric, Apollinaris also lectured at Antioch c. 374. Their different ideas also brought forth several schisms.

Current Churches in a Torn Church World

It would not remain at all with these few schisms in the church community; in each century several schisms occurred. Today, many even regard certain breakaway groups as churches of the commons, such as the Lutheran, Calvinist and Anglican Churches. They now belong to the generally accepted Protestant churches.

Lots of churches sought ways to get as many followers as they could, claiming that they are the only church by which people can be saved. They forget that it are no other human beings, than Christ Jesus who saves people of all races and people of all persuasions or from all walks of life. They claimed and still claim that their sacraments, religious signs or symbols, are the way to be saved. Many of those churches are convinced that their liturgy is the best one to prepare people to receive those sacraments, as visible symbols of the reality of God, as well as a channel for God’s grace and helps to understand what they are doing. Their liturgy is used to give the sacraments context and is there to allow folks to see them in action. Outside of the liturgy, the sacraments lose direction and application. For some that is the reason why a private baptism or communion is a sacrament without purpose or meaning.

It is a sacrament that is cut off from its intended goal. {The Role of the Church}

For non-Trinitarians, like the Christadelphians, there does not have to be a set of liturgical rules and order. Each church service can be done in a different order or different way. but what is most important is that the service is built upon the Word of God, and as such most time of the service should be spent on that Word, or readings from the Holy Scriptures and not on readings from human beings. Next to that Word of God people should be able to find, feel and see, that love of God and love of Christ present and shown by those people of that church.

The church is tasked with loving the Lord and loving its neighbor. The church takes what it receives from God and shares it with the world. Taken together, this means God acts through even-broadening layers to bring His grace into the world. {The Role of the Church}

Receiving God and being united with His son

But to receive God and to be united with God and His holy son, people have to do away with pagan or heathen teachings and traditions. In the Church of God, there can be no place for pagan rituals and false worship, like praying in front of pictures or sculptures. So, there has to be no place for crosses, paintings or portraits and statues of gods and saints, no idolisation taking place in the liturgy. Done away with a “Hail Zeus” or calling unto “YaiZeus” or JeZeus – Jezus or Jesus as a figure that would be three in one, a God the Father, a god the son and a God the Holy Spirit.

In case we want to hold on to that changed name of Jeshua, namely Jesus, that hopefully would be not too bad and shall be accepted by the Elohim Hashem Jehovah (That we can only hope and pray for – that he forgives us to use that name so that we shall be able to get others to get to know the Name of Jesus his God.) Better would naturally be that by the years coming closer to the end-times, people shall come to use more the real names of the Biblical characters and especially of Jehovah God, Whose Name is holy, and of the son of God, Jeshua ben Josef.

Sin is the opposite of God’s will, so to be a sinner means to be one who is opposed to God, who is an offense to everything God is. Sin is intolerable to God and so God destroys it, even if that means destroying the one who commits it. {Face to Face with God}

Having idols and false gods is “sin” because it goes in against the Will and Commandments of God. Real lovers of God have to keep tp those Commandments of God and not to the commandments, human doctrines or will of human beings.

Active in the world

The Role of the Church

In this picture, from a Lutheran pastor his site, you might see how far the church is gone away from God’s Word that forbids such pictures or reflections of people they call their god.

It is true that the Church or the community of believers has to be active in both worship and in the world so that God’s grace can reach those who need it.

This becomes the central work of the church and everything God does for His people is designed to facilitate that work. {The Role of the Church}

Though that does not mean the church has to think and act like the world! It is totally wrong to think you should be part of the Church of the world, because people have to be part of the Church of God of which Jesus is the foundation. Jesus should be the man whom we follow and whom we take as the cornerstone of our community.

“Jesus saith unto them,

Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, The same was made the head of the corner; This was from the Lord, And it is marvelous in our eyes?” (Mt 21:42 ASV)

“being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner stone;” (Eph 2:20 ASV)

Loving Christ is not only loving his word, it is living by his word that one fully accepts as a truthful word. And as such that one does not think when Jesus says God is greater than him that he (Jesus) is the greatest and that he can do everything because he would be God. all the thing Jesus did, we should appreciate and understand why he did it and how he wanted to be a faithful servant for God the same as he requires from his followers to be servants for man and for God.

Servants not doing bad things

Those who call themselves servants of God have to do their best to live according to the Will of God. In the last few decades, people should have had enough opportunities to see how many in those so-called churches of God have gone astray. In several Trinitarian denominations, being them Catholic or Protestant, we have seen that there were priests who used little children (boys and girls) to have sex with. Some churches thought that they could cover those paedophile acts by transferring those paedophiles to another church in another village. For centuries the Catholic Church has been a male bastion where male domination and tyranny were giving opportunities to defile the Name of God.

They thought to clean up the cesspool of sin in that religious structure, but the roots have gone very deep.

Furthermore many churches do not dare to speak out about certain Rules of God.

Sung Mass with the ordinations of two deacons and seven priests by the Bishop of Stockholm, in St Nicholas’s Cathedral (Storkyrkan)

In Europe’s largest Lutheran denomination, hundreds of clergies, staff, and congregates of the Church of Sweden, have declared, in an open letter that it is now a trans-inclusive institution.
While the hearts of the faithful Christians are broken, while heaven weeps, while the demons of hell dance in delight, the modern-day church is changed. Why? Because it is easier to change the local assembly than the eternal Word of God, which lives and abides forever. {It is Easier to Change the Local Church than the Bible}

After all those centuries the Catholic church did not change one hair.

In Rome, the Vatican is now home to a woke Pope, who allowed South American animistic religious rituals in the opening of the recent pan-Amazon Synod. Kathy Clubb writes in the conservative Catholic publication, The Remnant:

Idol worship was on full display in preparation for the Pan-Amazon synod, with the tacit approval of Pope Francis. Although the Synod hadn’t yet started, the celebration of pagan ceremonies added weight to the concerns being voiced by prominent prelates and laymen that the Synod will be a vehicle for apostasy.”

{It is Easier to Change the Local Church than the Bible}

Strangely enough, when the Pope says something which comes closer to the Biblical truth, all the hairs of Catholic and Protestant (Trinitarian) priests raise up to heaven.

To embracing idol worship, Pope Francis is said not to believe in the eternal divinity of Jesus as the Son of God. Instead,

“Pope Francis conceives the Christ as Jesus of Nazareth, a man, not God incarnate. Once he took flesh, Jesus ceased to be a God and became a man until his death on the cross… {It is Easier to Change the Local Church than the Bible}

Pope Francis has said to Eugenio Scalfari: ‘There is proof that Jesus of Nazareth, once he became a man, even a man of exceptional virtue, was in no way a God’.” (Mark Powell, CALDR@N POOL on the web; see also, Fatima Perspectives #1343) {It is Easier to Change the Local Church than the Bible}

Several priest think wrongly that it would be changing Catholic dogma because the non-Trinitarians are gaining field in this world.

Why is the woke Pope Francis (b. Dec. 17, 1936), head of the Catholic Church, and sovereign of Vatican City, changing Catholic dogma?

Because it is easier to influence and change a vast religious institution than to change the Word of God, which says: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3). {It is Easier to Change the Local Church than the Bible}

Yes, the Bible is very clear about That! One may not have other gods before the Elohim Hashem Jehovah.

Lots of those learned people do not want to see how a person can be divine but not God. (Perhaps you might have a divine wife, though we hope you would not worship her as a god.)

There is no such verse in the letter of Paul to Timothy that would say

Concerning the eternal divinity of Christ, the Bible says, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Tim. 3:18). {It is Easier to Change the Local Church than the Bible}

The Bible words are as follows in the last verses of that letter:

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; He who was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the spirit, Seen of angels, Preached among the nations, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.” (1Ti 3:16 ASV)

giving an indication that Jesus is one way to come to “see and understand God“. Him being manifested in the flesh is the son of God who “gave himself for us.” Truly they are in harmony. The love of the infinite God could neither be created nor purchased but it could be and is been shown through the work of His son. The Spirit of the Father was manifest in Jesus and by the inspiration and power given by God, Jesus was able to speak wise words and to do many miracles.

All those things which are clearly notated in Scriptures are not to confuse us, but to bring us light. Jesus should be such a light for us, a beacon or a lighthouse in the surf.

When looking at churches we should check how those who call themselves leaders of that church, behave. We should check in which way a church has its teachings in accordance with the Bible and how the leaders of that church live according to those Bible Words.

For sure we should not choose for the church that wants to be fully in line with the world and its traditions. From the Bible, we can learn that most of those traditions are not in line with God’s commandments and as lovers of God we should want to go fully doing the will of God in the same way Jesus put his own will aside to do the will of God. (Naturally, in case Jesus would have been God he would never have put his own will aside. … Is it not?)

“And he went forward a little, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying,

My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Mt 26:39 ASV)

“And again he went away, and prayed, saying the same words.” (Mr 14:39 ASV)

It is not Christ his will that shall be done on earth as in heaven. Also, Jesus prayed and learned others to pray that this Will of his heavenly Father would be fulfilled.

“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.” (Mt 6:10 ASV)

Even in difficult times, Jesus asked his God that not his will was going to be fulfilled, but God His Will

“And he said,

Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; remove this cup from me: howbeit not what I will, but what thou wilt.” (Mr 14:36 ASV)

We should know that like Jesus could not do anything without God, we too cannot do the important thing without our heavenly Father. (Though in fact even the little things we are only able to do because God allows them to happen.) Let us therefore not do our will, but have the courage to do like Jesus, going for the One Who had sent him, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah, God His Word, God His Will and for God His Chuch, doing God His Will.

“I can of myself do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is righteous; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (Joh 5:30 ASV)

“For I am come down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (Joh 6:38 ASV)

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Preceding

A vital question for believers

The rock on which we stand

As near to God as you want Him to be

Religion and the essence of devotion – Necessary parts in the daily walk with God + Christians, Lutherans, Wesleyans, and other followers

Seeds and weeds for being the greatest nation

After darkness a moment of life renewal

Should church members question preachers about the doctrine that is not in the Holy Bible?

Christians saying Jesus is God giving food for atheists to prove there exist no God

Responsibility bigger than those who talk about worldly matters

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Additional reading

  1. Christian in Christendom or in Christianity
  2. Looking for answers on the question Is there a God #1 Many gods
  3. Only One God
  4. God is one
  5. God spoke to our forefathers and speaks to us
  6. Bible Inspired Word of God
  7. Word of God
  8. A Book to trust #12 Archaeology confirming or denying claims of the Bible #3 Material evidence to survive
  9. Written and translated by different men over thousands of years
  10. The One Who divinely inspired the writers of the Bible can also preserve it
  11. Reading to grow and to become wise concerning the most important thing in life 4 Words giving us wisdom and encouragement
  12. The Bible’s View of Itself
  13. Words of God to stand and to be followed and to believe
  14. Vital importance of reading and following the Kitvei Hakodesh
  15. Main verses in the Bible telling us Who God is #1 Exclusive Divine Eternal Unseen Creator and Sovereign Spirit God with set apart Name Jehovah
  16. Main verses in the Bible telling us Who God is #8 Some more attributes of God
  17. Today’s Thought “That they may know that there is none besides Jehovah ” (June 21)
  18. Today’s thought “Do not add anything to what God commands you, and do not take anything away.” (April 21)
  19. Bible exceptional Book of books where nothing can be taken away or added
  20. Today’s Thought “Idols are nothing against the first and the last God” (June 20)
  21. Importance to read the Bible regularly and gain understanding
  22. Everything from the Bible is useful for humans
  23. Reading to grow and to become wise concerning the most important thing in life 4 Words giving us wisdom and encouragement
  24. With the Bible, honour should be given to God and not to people
  25. Deciphering Truth in Word and Concept – That we might see
  26. Objects around the birth and death of Jesus
  27. Spelling Yahshuah (יהשע) vs Hebrew using Yehoshuah (יהושע) (Our world) = Spelling Yahshuah (יהשע) vs Hebrew using Yehoshuah (יהושע) (Some view on the World)
  28. Altered to fit a Trinity (Our world) = Altered to fit a Trinity (Some View on the world)
  29. Jesus the “God-Man”: Really?
  30. Jesus son of God or God the son
  31. Jesus son of God
  32. The sent one from God
  33. Jesus Christ the Messiah
  34. One Mediator
  35. Americans really thinking the Messiah Christ had an English name (Our world) = Americans really thinking the Messiah Christ had an English name (some View on the World)
  36. False opposite true worship which exalts the God of Israel
  37. Behind a False doctrine – the Trinity
  38. The Trinity matter
  39. Trinity – history
  40. Living stones 4 Idols of wood and stone
  41. Iconoclast in the picture
  42. Today’s thought “Do not add anything to what God commands you, and do not take anything away.” (April 21)
  43. Displeasures and Actions of the Almighty God
  44. Paul’s warning about false stories and his call to quit touching the unclean thing
  45. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  46. Different wineskins
  47. The Development of Differences
  48. False teachers and false prophets still around
  49. Devotees and spotters
  50. Disobedient man and God’s promises
  51. An unbridgeable gap
  52. God’s forgotten Word 6 Lost Lawbook 5 Heretics
  53. Not studying an abstract and arcane text of the ancient world
  54. Demanding signs or denying yourself
  55. Troubles testing your faith and giving you patience and good prospects
  56. Hardships for choosing to follow the real Christ
  57. Roads leading to God
  58. Words to bring into a good relationship
  59. Why not quoting more from well-known theologians
  60. Luther on Being a Theologian: Oratio, Meditatio and Tentatio
  61. Denominationalism exists because?
  62. Religious people and painful absence of spring of living water
  63. Living as a believer in Christ
  64. Jewish and Gentile Disciples
  65. Religion and believers #5 Transition to Monotheism
  66. Jeshuaists, Messianic Jews, Messianics and Christians
  67. Changes in the Remnant of Jewish Believers
  68. The belief of one going to heaven
  69. Framework and vehicle for Christian Scholasticism and loss of confidence
  70. Roman, Aztec and other rites still influencing us today
  71. Counterfeit Gospels
  72. Concluding thought by the article series “Key to the Bible”
  73. Certain Catholics claiming that the power of the priest is equal to that of Jesus Christ
  74. When found the necessary books to read and how to read them
  75. Looking for a biblically sound church
  76. Today’s thought “Using God’s words to justify actions” (April 1-2)
  77. Those Belonging to the called ones coming together
  78. Memorizing wonderfully 55 Exchanging the truth of God for a lie
  79. Extra verses to memorize Deuteronomy 4:15-16 Watching yourselves very carefully
  80. Deep sense of consciousness of the brokenness of our system
  81. Noahide Laws or Seven commandments incumbent upon all of humankind
  82. A Gentile and the Mosaic Law
  83. Face to Face
  84. Does God need you?
  85. Does God need your mitzvahs?
  86. Does God really care?
  87. Constantine a brutal sociopath getting the believers in a God man on his side and creating a Christian church
  88. Jewish and Christian traditions of elders
  89. a City full of the Pride of life
  90. Cyrus the Persian
  91. Today’s thought “A house of prayer” (March 27)
  92. Good or bad preacher
  93. 3 Reasons the Resurrection Matters
  94. One in God’s Hand
  95. Sacrifices in the Millennium
  96. Matthew 24 about temples or Houses of God and the end of the age
  97. Pope Benedict will hide (Our World) = Pope Benedict will hide (Some View on the World)
  98. ast day of Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI (Our World) = Last day of Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI (Some View on the World)
  99. Catholic church asking for forgiveness and promising to take action against child-abusers (Our World) = Catholic church asking for forgiveness and promising to take action against child-abusers
  100. French Catholic church covered up abuse of 330,000 children
  101. The decline of religion in the US continues unabated
  102. Matthew 12:1-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Something Greater than the Temple
  103. Inculturation today calling for a different attitude (Our world) = Inculturation today calling for a different attitude (Some View on the World)
  104. Male domination and tyranny giving opportunities to defile the Name of God
  105. Kler the Polish Spotlight on Poland’s Clergy Sexual Abuse
  106. Americans their stars, pretension, God, Allah and end of times signs #3 Cyberwars and prophesy
  107. Move ahead with the commitment against child sex abuse says Pope Francis I (Our wold) = Move ahead with the commitment against child sex abuse says Pope Francis I (Some View on the World)
  108. The abuses of priest make Catholics give up their religion 
  109. Disciple of Christ counting lives and friends dear to them
  110. Christadelphians or Messianic Christians or Messianic Jews

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Related

  1. Why does the Bible need 66 books? Part 2
  2. Exquisite Uniqueness of God
  3. “The Eve of Christmas,” Matthew 1:18-25
  4. In the Incarnation, Humanity Received a New Dignity
  5. The Incarnation
  6. Incarnation and all that…
  7. The Mystery of Godliness: The Transformative Power of the Incarnation
  8. Incarnate Love
  9. Truth-less “grace,” or grace-less “truth”?
  10. Mystery and Clarity
  11. John 1:1-14 Sermon: Love Incarnate, Love Divine
  12. Adoption, incarnation, and growing in grace and truth (Growing Deeper with John 1:6-18)
  13. John’s Gospel and the Word made flesh (Growing Deeper with John 1:1-5)
  14. The Word Became Flesh. II: The Word Was God
  15. God the son, Part 1
  16. Epistle Reading for Sunday, January 30, 2022
  17. Hebrews: Superiority of the Son
  18. Creed // Jesus God’s son (Hebrews 1:1-3)
  19. Today’s Scripture – November 15, 2021
  20. All that he is triune
  21. Trinity – Trilogy – Triplet
  22. Definition of the day: Trinity
  23. Trinity
  24. Why a Triune God?
  25. God Who Is—is Triune
  26. Beyond Belief – What the Heck is the Trinity? Is God Three or Is He One?
  27. There are certain Christian preachers who want people to believe that all Christians would believe in the Trinity. Why do Christians beleive in the Trinity? Such a question let us see that the writer of that article either is not aware of other Christians who only believe in a binary god and neglects the most important group which worship only the God of Jesus and not a god the son, namely the unitarians and non-Trinitarians.
  28. Your Divine D.N.A. [Sermon]
  29. Am I headed in the right direction? [Sermon]
  30. The Incarnation in the Life of the Church
  31. He Was, He Is, and Forever Shall Be
  32. “The Word became Flesh,” John 1:14
  33. “Simeon’s Song,” Luke 2:22-40
  34. Statue Of Zeus At Olympia
  35. False Gospels: On Blindness > Antics > Compromise
  36. False Gods by Graham McNeill
  37. Reenacting the Way of Jesus
  38. Loving Christ Really IS Loving His Word
  39. Poetic faith
  40. How can Jesus be considered sinless when the Bible describes his anger
  41. “Jesus in the Temple,” Luke 2:40-52
  42. “Jesus, the Son of God,” Luke 4:31-44
  43. Know Jesus, Know God
  44. Hebrews: The Fulcrum
  45. Direct Access to the Father
  46. Do Denominations Divide Us?
  47. Does Denominationalism Blind You to the Truth?
  48. Nuanced beliefs
  49. Deceived
  50. Throwback Thursday ~ Finding a New Church- Starting from Scratch
  51. Law; Is It For The Rich Or The Poor?
  52. Division Among Christians
  53. From One Religion To Another

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English Bible History by John L. Jeffcoat III and Dr. Craig H. Lampe

 

English Bible History

hourglass

The fascinating story of how we got the Bible in its present form actually starts thousands of years ago, as briefly outlined in our Timeline of Bible Translation History. As a background study, we recommend that you first review our discussion of the Pre-Reformation History of the Bible from 1,400 B.C. to 1,400 A.D., which covers the transmission of the scripture through the original languages of Hebrew and Greek, and the 1,000 years of the Dark & Middle Ages when the Word was trapped in only Latin. Our starting point in this discussion of Bible history, however, is the advent of the scripture in the English language with the “Morning Star of the Reformation”, John Wycliffe.

John Wycliffe

John Wycliffe

The first hand-written English language Bible manuscripts were produced in the 1380’s AD by John Wycliffe, an Oxford professor, scholar, and theologian. Wycliffe, (also spelled “Wycliff” & “Wyclif”), was well-known throughout Europe for his opposition to the teaching of the organized Church, which he believed to be contrary to the Bible. With the help of his followers, called the Lollards, and his assistant Purvey, and many other faithful scribes, Wycliffe produced dozens of English language manuscript copies of the scriptures. They were translated out of the Latin Vulgate, which was the only source text available to Wycliffe. The Pope was so infuriated by his teachings and his translation of the Bible into English, that 44 years after Wycliffe had died, he ordered the bones to be dug-up, crushed, and scattered in the river!

One of Wycliffe’s followers, John Hus, actively promoted Wycliffe’s ideas: that people should be permitted to read the Bible in their own language, and they should oppose the tyranny of the Roman church that threatened anyone possessing a non-Latin Bible with execution. Hus was burned at the stake in 1415, with Wycliffe’s manuscript Bibles used as kindling for the fire. The last words of John Hus were that, “in 100 years, God will raise up a man whose calls for reform cannot be suppressed.” Almost exactly 100 years later, in 1517, Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses of Contention (a list of 95 issues of heretical theology and crimes of the Roman Catholic Church) into the church door at Wittenberg. The prophecy of Hus had come true! Martin Luther went on to be the first person to translate and publish the Bible in the commonly-spoken dialect of the German people; a translation more appealing than previous German Biblical translations. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs records that in that same year, 1517, seven people were burned at the stake by the Roman Catholic Church for the crime of teaching their children to say the Lord’s Prayer in English rather than Latin.

Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 1450’s, and the first book to ever be printed was a Latin language Bible, printed in Mainz, Germany. Gutenberg’s Bibles were surprisingly beautiful, as each leaf Gutenberg printed was later colorfully hand-illuminated. Born as “Johann Gensfleisch” (John Gooseflesh), he preferred to be known as “Johann Gutenberg” (John Beautiful Mountain). Ironically, though he had created what many believe to be the most important invention in history, Gutenberg was a victim of unscrupulous business associates who took control of his business and left him in poverty. Nevertheless, the invention of the movable-type printing press meant that Bibles and books could finally be effectively produced in large quantities in a short period of time. This was essential to the success of the Reformation.

Thomas Linacre

Thomas Linacre

In the 1490’s another Oxford professor, and the personal physician to King Henry the 7th and 8th, Thomas Linacre, decided to learn Greek. After reading the Gospels in Greek, and comparing it to the Latin Vulgate, he wrote in his diary, “Either this (the original Greek) is not the Gospel… or we are not Christians.” The Latin had become so corrupt that it no longer even preserved the message of the Gospel… yet the Church still threatened to kill anyone who read the scripture in any language other than Latin… though Latin was not an original language of the scriptures.

John Colet

John Colet

In 1496, John Colet, another Oxford professor and the son of the Mayor of London, started reading the New Testament in Greek and translating it into English for his students at Oxford, and later for the public at Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London. The people were so hungry to hear the Word of God in a language they could understand, that within six months there were 20,000 people packed in the church and at least that many outside trying to get in! (Sadly, while the enormous and beautiful Saint Paul’s Cathedral remains the main church in London today, as of 2003, typical Sunday morning worship attendance is only around 200 people… and most of them are tourists). Fortunately for Colet, he was a powerful man with friends in high places, so he amazingly managed to avoid execution.

Erasmus

Erasmus

In considering the experiences of Linacre and Colet, the great scholar Erasmus was so moved to correct the corrupt Latin Vulgate, that in 1516, with the help of printer John Froben, he published a Greek-Latin Parallel New Testament. The Latin part was not the corrupt Vulgate, but his own fresh rendering of the text from the more accurate and reliable Greek, which he had managed to collate from a half-dozen partial old Greek New Testament manuscripts he had acquired. This milestone was the first non-Latin Vulgate text of the scripture to be produced in a millennium… and the first ever to come off a printing press. The 1516 Greek-Latin New Testament of Erasmus further focused attention on just how corrupt and inaccurate the Latin Vulgate had become, and how important it was to go back and use the original Greek (New Testament) and original Hebrew (Old Testament) languages to maintain accuracy… and to translate them faithfully into the languages of the common people, whether that be English, German, or any other tongue. No sympathy for this “illegal activity” was to be found from Rome, with the curious exception of the famous 1522 Complutensian Polyglot Bible, even as the words of Pope Leo X’s declaration that “the fable of Christ was quite profitable to him” continued through the years to infuriate the people of God.

William Tyndale

William Tyndale

William Tyndale was the Captain of the Army of Reformers, and was their spiritual leader. Tyndale holds the distinction of being the first man to ever print the New Testament in the English language. Tyndale was a true scholar and a genius, so fluent in eight languages that it was said one would think any one of them to be his native tongue. He is frequently referred to as the “Architect of the English Language”, (even more so than William Shakespeare) as so many of the phrases Tyndale coined are still in our language today.

Martin Luther

Martin Luther

Martin Luther had a small head-start on Tyndale, as Luther declared his intolerance for the Roman Church’s corruption on Halloween in 1517, by nailing his 95 Theses of Contention to the Wittenberg Church door. Luther, who would be exiled in the months following the Diet of Worms Council in 1521 that was designed to martyr him, would translate the New Testament into German for the first time from the 1516 Greek-Latin New Testament of Erasmus, and publish it in September of 1522. Luther also published a German Pentateuch in 1523, and another edition of the German New Testament in 1529. In the 1530’s he would go on to publish the entire Bible in German.

William Tyndale wanted to use the same 1516 Erasmus text as a source to translate and print the New Testament in English for the first time in history. Tyndale showed up on Luther’s doorstep in Germany in 1525, and by year’s end had translated the New Testament into English. Tyndale had been forced to flee England, because of the wide-spread rumor that his English New Testament project was underway, causing inquisitors and bounty hunters to be constantly on Tyndale’s trail to arrest him and prevent his project. God foiled their plans, and in 1525-1526 the Tyndale New Testament became the first printed edition of the scripture in the English language. Subsequent printings of the Tyndale New Testament in the 1530’s were often elaborately illustrated.

They were burned as soon as the Bishop could confiscate them, but copies trickled through and actually ended up in the bedroom of King Henry VIII. The more the King and Bishop resisted its distribution, the more fascinated the public at large became. The church declared it contained thousands of errors as they torched hundreds of New Testaments confiscated by the clergy, while in fact, they burned them because they could find no errors at all. One risked death by burning if caught in mere possession of Tyndale’s forbidden books.

Having God’s Word available to the public in the language of the common man, English, would have meant disaster to the church. No longer would they control access to the scriptures. If people were able to read the Bible in their own tongue, the church’s income and power would crumble. They could not possibly continue to get away with selling indulgences (the forgiveness of sins) or selling the release of loved ones from a church-manufactured “Purgatory”. People would begin to challenge the church’s authority if the church were exposed as frauds and thieves. The contradictions between what God’s Word said, and what the priests taught, would open the public’s eyes and the truth would set them free from the grip of fear that the institutional church held. Salvation through faith, not works or donations, would be understood. The need for priests would vanish through the priesthood of all believers. The veneration of church-canonized Saints and Mary would be called into question. The availability of the scriptures in English was the biggest threat imaginable to the wicked church. Neither side would give up without a fight.

Today, there are only two known copies left of Tyndale’s 1525-26 First Edition. Any copies printed prior to 1570 are extremely valuable. Tyndale’s flight was an inspiration to freedom-loving Englishmen who drew courage from the 11 years that he was hunted. Books and Bibles flowed into England in bales of cotton and sacks of flour. Ironically, Tyndale’s biggest customer was the King’s men, who would buy up every copy available to burn them… and Tyndale used their money to print even more! In the end, Tyndale was caught: betrayed by an Englishman that he had befriended. Tyndale was incarcerated for 500 days before he was strangled and burned at the stake in 1536. Tyndale’s last words were, “Oh Lord, open the King of England’s eyes”. This prayer would be answered just three years later in 1539, when King Henry VIII finally allowed, and even funded, the printing of an English Bible known as the “Great Bible”. But before that could happen…

Myles Coverdale

Myles Coverdale

Myles Coverdale and John “Thomas Matthew” Rogers had remained loyal disciples the last six years of Tyndale’s life, and they carried the English Bible project forward and even accelerated it. Coverdale finished translating the Old Testament, and in 1535 he printed the first complete Bible in the English language, making use of Luther’s German text and the Latin as sources. Thus, the first complete English Bible was printed on October 4, 1535, and is known as the Coverdale Bible.

John Rogers

John Rogers

John Rogers went on to print the second complete English Bible in 1537. It was, however, the first English Bible translated from the original Biblical languages of Hebrew & Greek. He printed it under the pseudonym “Thomas Matthew”, (an assumed name that had actually been used by Tyndale at one time) as a considerable part of this Bible was the translation of Tyndale, whose writings had been condemned by the English authorities. It is a composite made up of Tyndale’s Pentateuch and New Testament (1534-1535 edition) and Coverdale’s Bible and some of Roger’s own translation of the text. It remains known most commonly as the Matthew-Tyndale Bible. It went through a nearly identical second-edition printing in 1549.

Thomas Cranmer

Thomas Cranmer

In 1539, Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, hired Myles Coverdale at the bequest of King Henry VIII to publish the “Great Bible“. It became the first English Bible authorized for public use, as it was distributed to every church, chained to the pulpit, and a reader was even provided so that the illiterate could hear the Word of God in plain English. It would seem that William Tyndale’s last wish had been granted…just three years after his martyrdom. Cranmer‘s Bible, published by Coverdale, was known as the Great Bible due to its great size: a large pulpit folio measuring over 14 inches tall. Seven editions of this version were printed between April of 1539 and December of 1541.

King Henry VIII

King Henry VIII

It was not that King Henry VIII had a change of conscience regarding publishing the Bible in English. His motives were more sinister… but the Lord sometimes uses the evil intentions of men to bring about His glory. King Henry VIII had in fact, requested that the Pope permit him to divorce his wife and marry his mistress. The Pope refused. King Henry responded by marrying his mistress anyway, (later having two of his many wives executed), and thumbing his nose at the Pope by renouncing Roman Catholicism, taking England out from under Rome’s religious control, and declaring himself as the reigning head of State to also be the new head of the Church. This new branch of the Christian Church, neither Roman Catholic nor truly Protestant, became known as the Anglican Church or the Church of England. King Henry acted essentially as its “Pope”. His first act was to further defy the wishes of Rome by funding the printing of the scriptures in English… the first legal English Bible… just for spite.

Queen Mary

Queen Mary

The ebb and flow of freedom continued through the 1540’s…and into the 1550’s. After King Henry VIII, King Edward VI took the throne, and after his death, the reign of Queen “Bloody” Mary was the next obstacle to the printing of the Bible in English. She was possessed in her quest to return England to the Roman Church. In 1555, John “Thomas Matthew” Rogers and Thomas Cranmer were both burned at the stake. Mary went on to burn reformers at the stake by the hundreds for the “crime” of being a Protestant. This era was known as the Marian Exile, and the refugees fled from England with little hope of ever seeing their home or friends again.

John Foxe

John Foxe

In the 1550’s, the Church at Geneva, Switzerland, was very sympathetic to the reformer refugees and was one of only a few safe havens for a desperate people. Many of them met in Geneva, led by Myles Coverdale and John Foxe (publisher of the famous Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, which is to this day the only exhaustive reference work on the persecution and martyrdom of Early Christians and Protestants from the first century up to the mid-16th century), as well as Thomas Sampson and William Whittingham. There, with the protection of the great theologian John Calvin (author of the most famous theological book ever published, Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion) and John Knox, the great Reformer of the Scottish Church, the Church of Geneva determined to produce a Bible that would educate their families while they continued in exile.

John Calvin

John Calvin

The New Testament was completed in 1557, and the complete Bible was first published in 1560. It became known as the Geneva Bible. Due to a passage in Genesis describing the clothing that God fashioned for Adam and Eve upon expulsion from the Garden of Eden as “Breeches” (an antiquated form of “Britches”), some people referred to the Geneva Bible as the Breeches Bible.

John Knox

John Knox

The Geneva Bible was the first Bible to add numbered verses to the chapters, so that referencing specific passages would be easier. Every chapter was also accompanied by extensive marginal notes and references so thorough and complete that the Geneva Bible is also considered the first English “Study Bible”. William Shakespeare quotes hundreds of times in his plays from the Geneva translation of the Bible. The Geneva Bible became the Bible of choice for over 100 years of English speaking Christians. Between 1560 and 1644 at least 144 editions of this Bible were published. Examination of the 1611 King James Bible shows clearly that its translators were influenced much more by the Geneva Bible, than by any other source. The Geneva Bible itself retains over 90% of William Tyndale’s original English translation. The Geneva in fact, remained more popular than the King James Version until decades after its original release in 1611! The Geneva holds the honor of being the first Bible taken to America, and the Bible of the Puritans and Pilgrims. It is truly the “Bible of the Protestant Reformation.” Strangely, the famous Geneva Bible has been out-of-print since 1644, so the only way to obtain one is to either purchase an original printing of the Geneva Bible, or a less costly facsimile reproduction of the original 1560 Geneva Bible.

With the end of Queen Mary’s bloody reign, the reformers could safely return to England. The Anglican Church, now under Queen Elizabeth I, reluctantly tolerated the printing and distribution of Geneva version Bibles in England. The marginal notes, which were vehemently against the institutional Church of the day, did not rest well with the rulers of the day. Another version, one with a less inflammatory tone was desired, and the copies of the Great Bible were getting to be decades old. In 1568, a revision of the Great Bible known as the Bishop’s Bible was introduced. Despite 19 editions being printed between 1568 and 1606, this Bible, referred to as the “rough draft of the King James Version”, never gained much of a foothold of popularity among the people. The Geneva may have simply been too much to compete with.

By the 1580’s, the Roman Catholic Church saw that it had lost the battle to suppress the will of God: that His Holy Word be available in the English language. In 1582, the Church of Rome surrendered their fight for “Latin only” and decided that if the Bible was to be available in English, they would at least have an official Roman Catholic English translation. And so, using the corrupt and inaccurate Latin Vulgate as the only source text, they went on to publish an English Bible with all the distortions and corruptions that Erasmus had revealed and warned of 75 years earlier. Because it was translated at the Roman Catholic College in the city of Rheims, it was known as the Rheims New Testament (also spelled Rhemes). The Douay Old Testament was translated by the Church of Rome in 1609 at the College in the city of Douay (also spelled Doway & Douai). The combined product is commonly referred to as the “Doway/Rheims” Version. In 1589, Dr. William Fulke of Cambridge published the “Fulke’s Refutation”, in which he printed in parallel columns the Bishops Version along side the Rheims Version, attempting to show the error and distortion of the Roman Church’s corrupt compromise of an English version of the Bible.

King James I

King James I

With the death of Queen Elizabeth I, Prince James VI of Scotland became King James I of England. The Protestant clergy approached the new King in 1604 and announced their desire for a new translation to replace the Bishop’s Bible first printed in 1568. They knew that the Geneva Version had won the hearts of the people because of its excellent scholarship, accuracy, and exhaustive commentary. However, they did not want the controversial marginal notes (proclaiming the Pope an Anti-Christ, etc.) Essentially, the leaders of the church desired a Bible for the people, with scriptural references only for word clarification or cross-references.

This “translation to end all translations” (for a while at least) was the result of the combined effort of about fifty scholars. They took into consideration: The Tyndale New Testament, The Coverdale Bible, The Matthews Bible, The Great Bible, The Geneva Bible, and even the Rheims New Testament. The great revision of the Bishop’s Bible had begun. From 1605 to 1606 the scholars engaged in private research. From 1607 to 1609 the work was assembled. In 1610 the work went to press, and in 1611 the first of the huge (16 inch tall) pulpit folios known today as “The 1611 King James Bible” came off the printing press. A typographical discrepancy in Ruth 3:15 rendered a pronoun “He” instead of “She” in that verse in some printings. This caused some of the 1611 First Editions to be known by collectors as “He” Bibles, and others as “She” Bibles. Starting just one year after the huge 1611 pulpit-size King James Bibles were printed and chained to every church pulpit in England; printing then began on the earliest normal-size printings of the King James Bible. These were produced so individuals could have their own personal copy of the Bible.

John Bunyan

John Bunyan

The Anglican Church’s King James Bible took decades to overcome the more popular Protestant Church’s Geneva Bible. One of the greatest ironies of history, is that many Protestant Christian churches today embrace the King James Bible exclusively as the “only” legitimate English language translation… yet it is not even a Protestant translation! It was printed to compete with the Protestant Geneva Bible, by authorities who throughout most of history were hostile to Protestants… and killed them. While many Protestants are quick to assign the full blame of persecution to the Roman Catholic Church, it should be noted that even after England broke from Roman Catholicism in the 1500’s, the Church of England (The Anglican Church) continued to persecute Protestants throughout the 1600’s. One famous example of this is John Bunyan, who while in prison for the crime of preaching the Gospel, wrote one of Christian history’s greatest books, Pilgrim’s Progress. Throughout the 1600’s, as the Puritans and the Pilgrims fled the religious persecution of England to cross the Atlantic and start a new free nation in America, they took with them their precious Geneva Bible, and rejected the King’s Bible. America was founded upon the Geneva Bible, not the King James Bible.

Protestants today are largely unaware of their own history, and unaware of the Geneva Bible (which is textually 95% the same as the King James Version, but 50 years older than the King James Version, and not influenced by the Roman Catholic Rheims New Testament that the King James translators admittedly took into consideration). Nevertheless, the King James Bible turned out to be an excellent and accurate translation, and it became the most printed book in the history of the world, and the only book with one billion copies in print. In fact, for over 250 years…until the appearance of the English Revised Version of 1881-1885…the King James Version reigned without much of a rival. One little-known fact, is that for the past 250 years, all “King James Version” Bibles published anywhere by any publisher are actually Blaney’s 1769 Revised Oxford Edition of the 1611 King James Bible.
The original “1611” preface is almost always deceivingly included by modern Bible publishing companies, and no mention of the fact that it is really the 1769 version is to be found, because that might hurt sales among those imagining that they are reading the original 1611 version.

The only way to obtain a true, unaltered, 1611 version is to either purchase an original pre-1769 printing of the King James Bible, or a less costly facsimile reproduction of the original 1611 King James Bible.  A first edition facsimile reproduction of Blaney’s 1769 Revised Oxford Edition of the 1611 King James Bible is also available, which exemplifies the 20,000 spelling and punctuation changes and over 400 wording changes made to the original 1611 to 1768 King James Bible, when compared to King James Bibles published between 1769 and today.

John Eliot

John Eliot

Although the first Bible printed in America was done in the native Algonquin Indian Language by John Eliot in 1663; the first English language Bible to be printed in America by Robert Aitken in 1782 was a King James Version. Robert Aitken’s 1782 Bible was also the only Bible ever authorized by the United States Congress. He was commended by President George Washington for providing Americans with Bibles during the embargo of imported English goods due to the Revolutionary War. In 1808, Robert’s daughter, Jane Aitken, would become the first woman to ever print a Bible… and to do so in America, of course. In 1791, Isaac Collins vastly improved upon the quality and size of the typesetting of American Bibles and produced the first “Family Bible” printed in America… also a King James Version. Also in 1791, Isaiah Thomas published the first Illustrated Bible printed in America…in the King James Version. For more information on the earliest Bibles printed in America from the 1600’s through the early 1800’s, you may wish to review our more detailed discussion of The Bibles of Colonial America.

Noah Webster

Noah Webster

While Noah Webster, just a few years after producing his famous Dictionary of the English Language, would produce his own modern translation of the English Bible in 1833; the public remained too loyal to the King James Version for Webster’s version to have much impact. It was not really until the 1880’s that England’s own planned replacement for their King James Bible, the English Revised Version(E.R.V.) would become the first English language Bible to gain popular acceptance as a post-King James Version modern-English Bible. The widespread popularity of this modern-English translation brought with it another curious characteristic: the absence of the 14 Apocryphal books.

Up until the 1880’s every Protestant Bible (not just Catholic Bibles) had 80 books, not 66! The inter-testamental books written hundreds of years before Christ called “The Apocrypha” were part of virtually every printing of the Tyndale-Matthews Bible, the Great Bible, the Bishops Bible, the Protestant Geneva Bible, and the King James Bible until their removal in the 1880’s! The original 1611 King James contained the Apocrypha, and King James threatened anyone who dared to print the Bible without the Apocrypha with heavy fines and a year in jail. Only for the last 120 years has the Protestant Church rejected these books, and removed them from their Bibles. This has left most modern-day Christians believing the popular myth that there is something “Roman Catholic” about the Apocrypha. There is, however, no truth in that myth, and no widely-accepted reason for the removal of the Apocrypha in the 1880’s has ever been officially issued by a mainline Protestant denomination.

The Americans responded to England’s E.R.V. Bible by publishing the nearly-identical American Standard Version (A.S.V.) in 1901. It was also widely-accepted and embraced by churches throughout America for many decades as the leading modern-English version of the Bible. In the 1971, it was again revised and called New American Standard Version Bible (often referred to as the N.A.S.V. or N.A.S.B. or N.A.S.). This New American Standard Bible is considered by nearly all evangelical Christian scholars and translators today, to be the most accurate, word-for-word translation of the original Greek and Hebrew scriptures into the modern English language that has ever been produced. It remains the most popular version among theologians, professors, scholars, and seminary students today. Some, however, have taken issue with it because it is so direct and literal a translation (focused on accuracy), that it does not flow as easily in conversational English.

For this reason, in 1973, the New International Version (N.I.V.) was produced, which was offered as a “dynamic equivalent” translation into modern English. The N.I.V. was designed not for “word-for-word” accuracy, but rather, for “phrase-for-phrase” accuracy, and ease of reading even at a Junior High-School reading level. It was meant to appeal to a broader (and in some instances less-educated) cross-section of the general public. Critics of the N.I.V. often jokingly refer to it as the “Nearly Inspired Version”, but that has not stopped it from becoming the best-selling modern-English translation of the Bible ever published.

In 1982, Thomas Nelson Publishers produced what they called the “New King James Version”. Their original intent was to keep the basic wording of the King James to appeal to King James Version loyalists, while only changing the most obscure words and the Elizabethan “thee, thy, thou” pronouns. This was an interesting marketing ploy, however, upon discovering that this was not enough of a change for them to be able to legally copyright the result, they had to make more significant revisions, which defeated their purpose in the first place. It was never taken seriously by scholars, but it has enjoyed some degree of public acceptance, simply because of its clever “New King James Version” marketing name.

In 2002, a major attempt was made to bridge the gap between the simple readability of the N.I.V., and the extremely precise accuracy of the N.A.S.B. This translation is called the English Standard Version (E.S.V.) and is rapidly gaining popularity for its readability and accuracy. The 21st Century will certainly continue to bring new translations of God’s Word in the modern English language.

As Christians, we must be very careful to make intelligent and informed decisions about what translations of the Bible we choose to read. On the liberal extreme, we have people who would give us heretical new translations that attempt to change God’s Word to make it politically correct. One example of this, which has made headlines recently is the Today’s New International Version (T.N.I.V.) which seeks to remove all gender-specific references in the Bible whenever possible! Not all new translations are good… and some are very bad.

But equally dangerous, is the other extreme… of blindly rejecting ANY English translation that was produced in the four centuries that have come after the 1611 King James. We must remember that the main purpose of the Protestant Reformation was to get the Bible out of the chains of being trapped in an ancient language that few could understand, and into the modern, spoken, conversational language of the present day. William Tyndale fought and died for the right to print the Bible in the common, spoken, modern English tongue of his day… as he boldly told one official who criticized his efforts, “If God spare my life, I will see to it that the boy who drives the plowshare knows more of the scripture than you, Sir!

Will we now go backwards, and seek to imprison God’s Word once again exclusively in ancient translations? Clearly it is not God’s will that we over-react to SOME of the bad modern translations, by rejecting ALL new translations and “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”. The Word of God is unchanging from generation to generation, but language is a dynamic and ever-changing form of communication. We therefore have a responsibility before God as Christians to make sure that each generation has a modern translation that they can easily understand, yet that does not sacrifice accuracy in any way. Let’s be ever mindful that we are not called to worship the Bible. That is called idolatry. We are called to worship the God who gave us the Bible, and who preserved it through the centuries of people who sought to destroy it.

We are also called to preserve the ancient, original English translations of the Bible… and that is what we do and what they do at  WWW.GREATSITE.COM

Consider the following textual comparison of the earliest English translations of John 3:16, as shown in the English Hexapla Parallel New Testament:

  • 1st Ed. King James (1611): “For God so loued the world, that he gaue his only begotten Sonne: that whosoeuer beleeueth in him, should not perish, but haue euerlasting life.”
  • Rheims (1582): “For so God loued the vvorld, that he gaue his only-begotten sonne: that euery one that beleeueth in him, perish not, but may haue life euerlasting”
  • Geneva (1560): “For God so loueth the world, that he hath geuen his only begotten Sonne: that none that beleue in him, should peryshe, but haue euerlasting lyfe.”
  • Great Bible (1539): “For God so loued the worlde, that he gaue his only begotten sonne, that whosoeuer beleueth in him, shulde not perisshe, but haue euerlasting lyfe.”
  • Tyndale (1534): “For God so loveth the worlde, that he hath geven his only sonne, that none that beleve in him, shuld perisshe: but shuld have everlastinge lyfe.”
  • Wycliff (1380): “for god loued so the world; that he gaf his oon bigetun sone, that eche man that bileueth in him perisch not: but haue euerlastynge liif,”
  • Anglo-Saxon Proto-English Manuscripts (995 AD): “God lufode middan-eard swa, dat he seade his an-cennedan sunu, dat nan ne forweorde de on hine gely ac habbe dat ece lif.”

Timeline of Bible Translation History

1,400 BC: The first written Word of God: The Ten Commandments delivered to Moses.

500 BC: Completion of All Original Hebrew Manuscripts which make up The 39 Books of the Old Testament.

200 BC: Completion of the Septuagint Greek Manuscripts which contain The 39 Old Testament Books AND 14 Apocrypha Books.

1st Century AD: Completion of All Original Greek Manuscripts which make up The 27 Books of the New Testament.

315 AD: Athenasius, the Bishop of Alexandria, identifies the 27 books of the New Testament which are today recognized as the canon of scripture.

382 AD: Jerome’s Latin Vulgate Manuscripts Produced which contain All 80 Books (39 Old Test. + 14 Apocrypha + 27 New Test).

500 AD: Scriptures have been Translated into Over 500 Languages.

600 AD: LATIN was the Only Language Allowed for Scripture.

995 AD: Anglo-Saxon (Early Roots of English Language) Translations of The New Testament Produced.

1384 AD: Wycliffe is the First Person to Produce a (Hand-Written) manuscript Copy of the Complete Bible; All 80 Books.

1455 AD: Gutenberg Invents the Printing Press; Books May Now be mass-Produced Instead of Individually Hand-Written. The First Book Ever Printed is Gutenberg’s Bible in Latin.

1516 AD: Erasmus Produces a Greek/Latin Parallel New Testament.

1522 AD: Martin Luther’s German New Testament.

1526 AD: William Tyndale’s New Testament; The First New Testament printed in the English Language.

1535 AD: Myles Coverdale’s Bible; The First Complete Bible printed in the English Language (80 Books: O.T. & N.T. & Apocrypha).

1537 AD: Tyndale-Matthews Bible; The Second Complete Bible printed in English. Done by John “Thomas Matthew” Rogers (80 Books).

1539 AD: The “Great Bible” Printed; The First English Language Bible Authorized for Public Use (80 Books).

1560 AD: The Geneva Bible Printed; The First English Language Bible to add Numbered Verses to Each Chapter (80 Books).

1568 AD: The Bishops Bible Printed; The Bible of which the King James was a Revision (80 Books).

1609 AD: The Douay Old Testament is added to the Rheims New Testament (of 1582) Making the First Complete English Catholic Bible; Translated from the Latin Vulgate (80 Books).

1611 AD: The King James Bible Printed; Originally with All 80 Books. The Apocrypha was Officially Removed in 1885 Leaving Only 66 Books.

1782 AD: Robert Aitken’s Bible; The First English Language Bible (KJV) Printed in America.

1791 AD: Isaac Collins and Isaiah Thomas Respectively Produce the First Family Bible and First Illustrated Bible Printed in America. Both were King James Versions, with All 80 Books.

1808 AD: Jane Aitken’s Bible (Daughter of Robert Aitken); The First Bible to be Printed by a Woman.

1833 AD: Noah Webster’s Bible; After Producing his Famous Dictionary, Webster Printed his Own Revision of the King James Bible.

1841 AD: English Hexapla New Testament; an Early Textual Comparison showing the Greek and 6 Famous English Translations in Parallel Columns.

1846 AD: The Illuminated Bible; The Most Lavishly Illustrated Bible printed in America. A King James Version, with All 80 Books.

1863 AD: Robert Young’s “Literal” Translation; often criticized for being so literal that it sometimes obscures the contextual English meaning.

1885 AD: The “English Revised Version” Bible; The First Major English Revision of the KJV.

1901 AD: The “American Standard Version”; The First Major American Revision of the KJV.

1952 AD: The “Revised Standard Version” (RSV); said to be a Revision of the 1901 American Standard Version, though more highly criticized.

1971 AD: The “New American Standard Bible” (NASB) is Published as a “Modern and Accurate Word for Word English Translation” of the Bible.

1973 AD: The “New International Version” (NIV) is Published as a “Modern and Accurate Phrase for Phrase English Translation” of the Bible.

1982 AD: The “New King James Version” (NKJV) is Published as a “Modern English Version Maintaining the Original Style of the King James.”

1990 AD: The “New Revised Standard Version” (NRSV); further revision of 1952 RSV, (itself a revision of 1901 ASV), criticized for “gender inclusiveness”.

2002 AD: The English Standard Version (ESV) is Published as a translation to bridge the gap between the accuracy of the NASB and the readability of the NIV.

This English Bible History Article & Timeline is ©2017 by author & editor: John L. Jeffcoat III. Special thanks is also given to Dr. Craig H. Lampe for his valuable contributions to the text. This page may be freely reproduced or quoted, in whole or in part, in print or electronically, under the one condition that prominent credit must be given to “WWW.GREATSITE.COM” as the source.

 

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Preceding articles

God plays hide-n-seek?

Tyndale, the Bible and the 21st Century

The most important translation…

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Additional reading

  1. Challenging claim 4 Inspired by God 3 Self-consistent Word of God
  2. Written and translated by different men over thousands of yearsBible Translating and Concordance Making
  3. Looking at notes of Samuel Ward and previous Bible translation efforts in English
  4. Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #1 Pre King James Bible
  5. Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #2 King James Bible versions
  6. Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #3 Women and versions
  7. Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #4 Steps to the women’s bibles
  8. Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #5 Further steps to women’s bibles
  9. Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #6 Revisions of revisions
  10. Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #7 Jewish versions
  11. Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #8 Selective Bibles and selective people
  12. Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #9 Restored names and Sacred Name Bibles
  13. Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #10 Journaling Bibles and illustrative women
  14. Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #11 Muslim Idiom Translations
  15. Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #12 God Himself masters His Own Word
  16. Dedication and Preaching Effort 400 years after the first King James Version
  17. Word of God presented to people in more than 3200 languages
  18. Lord in place of the divine name
  19. People Seeking for God 7 The Lord and lords
  20. Corruption in our translations !
  21. Geneva Bible, Source text for our series on the beginning of Jesus
  22. How to Choose a Bible for Preaching

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Also of interest

  1. New Podcast Episode:Bible Translation from 100-500 AD
  2. The Most Dangerous Thing Luther Did
  3. The King James Bible and the Restoration
  4. The Bible: Has It Been Translated Correctly?
  5. Different Bible Translations of God’s Word
  6. Different Kinds of Bible Translations
  7. The Conflict Over Different Bible VersionsThe Conflict Over Different Bible Versions – Part 1 + Part 2 + Part 3  + Part 4 + Part 5  + Part 6
  8. Truth in translation
  9. The Battle to Discredit the Bible/Program 3
  10. Which Translation of the Bible?
  11. A Very Deceptive Statement From Jehovah’s Witnesses About Their Ban In Russia
  12. All About Bible Translations
  13. More translations than hot dinners…
  14. Different Kinds of Bible Translations
  15. Literal Bible ≠ more accurate Bible
  16. Leland Ryken Interview Differences in Bible Translations
  17. Is the KJV a perfect translation? According to its translators, no
  18. It’s A Matter Of Life and Death!
  19. What is wrong with the New King James Version (NKJV)?
  20. 68 – Bible Translation Into English – Video And Chart
  21. And Churchcentral’s Favourite Sunday Morning Bible Translation Is…
  22. 30 September: International Translation Day
  23. The Christian Standard Bible – A Review of the Latest Bible Translation
  24. The NAR’s “Passion Translation” of the NT set for Oct. 31st release!
  25. Wycliffe Bible Translators Celebrating 75 years of Bible Translation
  26. Top 5 Uncommon Mobile Applications Every Christian Should Have
  27. Bible Translation Poll
  28. Times of Zambia | Holy Bible translation to local languages on course
  29. Roma Bible translation (set to “Prodigal’s Hymn” by Mark Beazley)
  30. How Do You Create a New Bible Translation?

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Filed under History, Religious affairs

How to Study the Bible: We Are in This Together

howtostudythebible

This lesson is part of Mel Lawrenz’ “How to Study the Bible” series.


Let’s imagine ourselves as believers in first century Thessalonica, Greece, the day that a letter was received by the leaders of the church — a letter from the founder of the church, the apostle Paul.

You are one of the elders of the church, and you read Paul’s instruction and admonitions with a sense of urgency and care. There is no “New Testament” as the 27 books we know today. The Gospels have not been written yet. Not Romans or Hebrews or Revelation. You and the rest of the leaders in Thessalonica are going on the gradually unfolding apostolic teaching which formed the foundation of the early church (Ephesians 2:20). You listen carefully to the words, read out loud by one of the other leaders.

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And then an important process unfolds. You and the other leaders of the church discuss what you have just heard from Paul. You go over what he has written about suffering, and sanctification, and salvation. You ask for someone to re-read the bit about the coming of Christ. Someone suggests the entire letter be re-read again, from the beginning.

You discuss Paul’s points. Sometimes there is a little disagreement over something specific Paul said. You talk about why he wanted this church, the believers in Thessalonica, to understand these specific things.

You discuss how to apply the meaning of Paul’s words. One leader suggests an application, and someone else enthusiastically suggests another application. After a couple of hours of discussion you realize that this short letter, this authoritative word from God’s chosen apostle, is going to reverberate in your community for a long time to come. Paul has addressed some controversies, reinforced some teachings, and pioneered new ideas.

You come to understand this letter to the Christian community in your city of Thessalonica because you have read it together, discussed it together, and applied it together.

So here we are in the 21st century reading the same words, attempting to get the meaning and apply it responsibly and fully. We do so, not in isolation, but with other believers. We get the gold from the goldmine of Scripture not by prospecting in isolation, but as we work together.

Bible study is a community effort. For some people, that impulse comes naturally. They don’t want to be isolated, and they read Scripture and immediately want to compare reactions and interpretations with other people. Some people, however, so value that holy time when they privately read and explore Scripture, asking the Holy Spirit for illumination, enthused with new discoveries, slain by confrontation, inspired with new visions of God, that they almost want to avoid discussing the Bible with other people. They may believe that private interpretations of Scripture are sacrosanct, and that comparing notes with others takes something away from their genuine interaction with God.

We need to be balanced here. It is true that the truth of God in Scripture is available and accessible to any individual believer. No one stands between us and God. But on the other hand, we are in this together. God gives different insights to different people—not splitting the meaning of his word, but revealing different facets of it. That’s the way Scripture functioned in ancient times, and it is the way we should study it today.

So what does that look like today?

1. We should all find fine Bible teachers and benefit from their instruction. That will include local pastors, but also the radio and the internet. We have a huge advantage today in being able to subscribe to podcasts or log into sermons preached thousands of miles away. It is better to listen to multiple teachers rather than just one. We are disciples of only one figure — Jesus the Christ — not the pastor with the largest podcast.

2. We should read widely, but with discernment. You can google any Bible question you have and get hundreds of links, but much of what Google leads you to is junk. Know the writers you follow— their organizations, their publishers, their associations.

3. We should view our use of commentaries and other tools produced by reliable scholars as a function of the wider Christian community.

4. We should study Scripture with other believers in our communities. It is exciting to sit in a circle and work through Bible study when it is led by someone who understands Scripture and proper methods of interpretation. It is powerful when members of the group contribute their observations, ask their questions, explore their thoughts about application. It is important for the leader to be well prepared, and present enough for a rational discussion to take place, and then to guide the group, drawing people out. Group Bible study should not be passive listening, and it should not be a pooling of ignorance. Group Bible study works best when it unfolds over a long period of time.

We are in this together, just like the early communities of believers were. The beauty of it is that we get to know God better as we get to know each other better. The truth of Scripture is a living, dynamic force in our lives. On our best days we see that power in us — and we see it in each other.


Mel Lawrenz trains an international network of Christian leaders, ministry pioneers, and thought-leaders. He served as senior pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for ten years and now serves as Elmbrook’s minister at large. He has a Ph.D. in the history of Christian thought and is on the adjunct faculty of Trinity International University. Mel is the author of 18 books, the latest, How to Understand the Bible—A Simple Guide and Spiritual Influence: the Hidden Power Behind Leadership (Zondervan, 2012). See more of Mel’s writing at WordWay.

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