Versions of the Bible

also known as “translations of the Holy Scriptures

The word “version” is not found in the Bible, however we frequently mention various ancient and modern versions of the Bible. That is there are various ancient manuscripts in the original languages, copies, and translations and paraphrases into various other languages, such as English.

See: • What is The Holy Bible? • What is the Word of God? • What is the Divine inspiration of Scripture? • What is Divine revelation? • When we say that the Bible is the Word of God, does that imply that it is completely accurate, or does it contain insignificant inaccuracies in details of history and science? Answer

Primary original languages of Scripture

Early Aramaic translations—the Targumim (Targums)

After the return from the Captivity, the Jews, no longer familiar with the old Hebrew, required that their Scriptures should be translated for them into the Chaldaic or Aramaic language and interpreted. These translations and paraphrases were at first oral, but they were afterwards reduced to writing, and thus targumim, i.e., “versions” or “translations,” have come down to us. Both of these targumim came from the Jewish school which then flourished at Babylon.

The chief of these are…

Early Syriac versions (a dialect of Aramaic)


Early Greek versions

Early Latin versions

Other ancient versions

There are several other ancient versions which are of importance to Biblical critics, but which we need not mention in detail, such as the…

Luther Bible

1522: New Testament; 1534: Old Testament

This influential and popular German translation of the Bible was done by Protestant Reformer Martin Luther. It was based on the Latin Vulgate translation, but used the Greek and Hebrew as references, although he was not fluent in the original languages. He heavily relied on various scholars such as Philip Melanchthon and Erasmus of Rotterdam for advice. He placed the Biblical apocrypha between the Old and New Testaments.


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Article Version: April 11, 2024