Bible History And Timeline*
L. Jeffcoat III
English Bible History
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
The first hand-written English language Bible manuscripts were produced
in the 1380's AD by John Wycliffe,
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,
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 man to
print the Bible in the German language. 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.
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
corrupt that it no longer even preserved the message of the
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.
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
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.
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
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--even as the
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 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
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
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
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 and John
"Thomas Matthew" Rogers had remained loyal disciples the last six
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 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.
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.
It was not that King Henry VIII had a change of conscience regarding
publishing the Bible in English. His motives were more
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
of Rome by funding the printing of the scriptures in English--the first
legal English Bible--just for spite.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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 200 years, all King James Bibles published in
America are actually the 1769 Baskerville spelling and wording revision
of the 1611. The original "1611" preface is deceivingly
by the publishers, and no mention of the fact that it is really the
1769 version is to be found, because that might hurt sales. 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.
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
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.
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
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 "œRoman 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
For this reason, in 1973, the New
International Version (N.I.V.) was produced, which was offered
as a "œdynamic equivalent" translation into modern English. The N.I.V.
was designed not for "œword-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
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
But equally dangerous, is the other extreme--of blindly
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
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 here at
Consider the following textual comparison of the earliest English
translations of John 3:16, as shown in the English Hexapla Parallel New
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
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
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.
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.
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
1982 AD: The "New King James Version" (NKJV) is Published as a "Modern
English Version Maintaining the Original Style of the King James."
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 (c)2002 by
& 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