The All-Time Number One Bestseller

The best-known of all Bible translations is the King James Version, which was commissioned by King James I of England in 1611 and completed by a team of fifty-four of the world';s finest linguists. These were incredibly well-qualified men who had an excellent grasp on the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek languages of the Bible. On top of that, they were all devout Christians who held the Bible in the highest esteem. Their work is still praised for its accuracy in holding to the original manuscripts, and it has become by far the world';s best-selling book of all time. Since that time, there have been many translations and paraphrases of the Bible.

Here is a timeline of some of the key dates in the writing and translation of the Bible, courtesy of www.greatsite.com and adapted for this book. Please note that some of the dates may be approximate:

  • 1400 B.C. — the first written Word of God: the Ten Commandments delivered to Moses

  • 400 B.C. — completion of all original Hebrew manuscripts that make up the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament

  • 200 B.C. — completion of the Septuagint Greek manuscripts that contain the thirty-nine Old Testament books and fourteen Apocrypha books

  • First century A.D. — completion of all original Greek manuscripts that make up the twenty-seven books of the New Testament

  • 315 — Athanasius, the Bishop of Alexandria, identifies the twenty-seven books of the New Testament that are today recognized as the canon of Scripture

  • 382 — Jerome';s Latin Vulgate manuscript produced, which contains all eighty books (thirty-nine Old Testament, fourteen Apocrypha, and twenty-seven New Testament)

  • 500 — Scriptures have been translated into over 500 languages

  • 600 — Latin was the only language allowed for Scripture

  • 995 — Anglo-Saxon translations of the New Testament produced

  • 1384 — Wycliffe is the first person to produce a (hand-written) manuscript copy of the complete Bible (all eighty books)

  • 1455 — Johann 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 — Erasmus produces a Greek/Latin parallel New Testament

  • 1522 — Martin Luther';s German New Testament

  • 1526 — William Tyndale';s New Testament, the first New Testament printed in the English language

  • 1535 — Myles Coverdale';s Bible, the first complete Bible printed in the English language (all eighty books)

  • 1537 — Tyndale-Matthews Bible, the second complete Bible printed in English; done by John “Thomas Matthew” Rogers (all eighty books)

  • 1539 — the Great Bible printed, the first English language Bible authorized for public use (eighty books)

  • 1560 — the Geneva Bible printed, the first English language Bible to add numbered verses to each chapter (eighty books)

  • 1568 — the Bishops Bible printed; the Bible which the King James revised (eighty books)

  • 1609 — 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 (eighty books)

  • 1611 — the King James Bible printed, originally with all eighty books; the Apocrypha was officially removed in 1885 leaving only sixty-six books

  • 1782 — Robert Aitken';s Bible, the First English language Bible (KJV) printed in America

  • 1791 — 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 eighty books

  • 1808 — Jane Aitken';s Bible (daughter of Robert Aitken); the first Bible to be printed by a woman

  • 1833 — Noah Webster';s Bible; after producing his famous dictionary, Webster printed his own revision of the King James Bible

  • 1841 — English Hexapla New Testament, an early textual comparison showing the Greek and six famous English translations in parallel columns

  • 1846 — The Illuminated Bible; the most lavishly illustrated Bible printed in America. A King James Version, with all 80 books

  • 1885 — the English Revised Version Bible, the first major English revision of the KJV

  • 1901 — the American Standard Version, the first major American revision of the KJV

  • 1971 — the New American Standard Bible (NASB) is published as a modern and accurate word for word English translation of the Bible

  • 1973 — the New International Version (NIV) is published as a modern and accurate phrase for phrase English translation of the Bible

  • 1982 — the New King James Version (NKJV) is published as a modern English version maintaining the original style of the King James Version

  • 2002 — 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

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