When the books of the Bible were first written, the only way people could have a copy
was for someone to write it out entirely by hand. This work was done by mean called scribes, who spent their
entire days copying the Bible. Because this was a long, tiresome job, few people could own a copy of the
The Old Testament was first written in the Hebrew and Aramaic languages. About 250 years before Jesus' birth, it was translated into Greek. All of the New Testament was written in Greek. About 350 years after Jesus' ascension, Jerome, who was a leader in the early church, translated the Bible into Latin, the language commonly spoken by many people at that time. After a several hundred years most people no longer spoke Latin. But even so, Jerome's translation, called the Vulgate, was the official Bible in the western Europe for more than 1,000 years.
In the late 1300's John Wycliffe came to believe that it was important for all Christians to read the Bible in their own language. He and his followers were the first to translate the whole Bible into English. But because the printing press had not yet been invented, copies were made by hand and very few were available. About 140 years later William Tyndale translated the New Testament from Greek to English. This was the first English Bible printed on a press.
In 1611 the best-known English Bible, the King James Version, was published. During the last 100 years many new English translations of the Bible have been made. The goal of each version has been to make a translation of God's Word that is accurate and easy to understand.
The New International Version of the Bible, finished in 1978, is one of the most important new translations. The translators carefully studied the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts so they would know exactly what the writers of the Bible were saying. Then they translated the Bible into the style of English we speak today so we can best understand God's message.