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Sermon Notes

The Bible (3) - Notes

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  1. Inspiration & Composition
  2. Compilation & Preservation
  3. Translation & Illumination
  4. Interpretation & Application

ANCIENT Translations

  1. The Bible wasn’t originally written in English (Spanish, German or Swahili) - Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek
  2. Not everyone has been overly excited about having the Bible translated into their own language
  3. People have died - a LOT of people have died - for translating, preaching and simply having the Bible in their own language
Acts 2:1-13
On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.
At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.
They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!” They stood there amazed and perplexed. “What can this mean?” they asked each other.
But others in the crowd ridiculed them, saying, “They’re just drunk, that’s all!”

What does God think about getting the Good News in the language of the people?

The Greek of the NT proves it! Classic or Koine Greek?

A Whirlwind Tour of ancient Bible Translations

First OT Translation

  • Greek Septuagint (Koine)
  • 70 Jewish Scholars (LXX)
  • 200 BC

First NT & OT Translation

  • Latin Vulgate
  • AD 400
  • St. Jerome
  • The Bible of Europe for 1,000 years

What did people speak in the AD 1000 …

  • In Spain?
  • In Germany?
  • In England?

Innocent III (1160-1216)

As by the old law, the beast touching the holy mount was to be stoned to death, so simple and uneducated men were not to touch the Bible or venture to preach its doctrines.

Why wasn't everyone overly excited about having the Bible translated into their own language?

  • Good reason - To prevent heresy

New World Translation

JOHN 1:1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.

Whose Bible is this?

  • Bad reason - To protect the authority of the church
  • UGLY reason - To eliminate the opposition

John Wycliffe (1330-1384)

He translates the Bible from the Latin Vulgate to Old English (which was common English back then!)

And what happens?

The church authorities respond ...
By this translation, the Scriptures have become vulgar, and they are more available to lay, and even to women who can read, than they were to learned scholars, who have a high intelligence. So the pearl of the gospel is scattered and trodden underfoot by swine.


John Wycliffe

I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy who drives the plough to know more of the scriptures than you do. 
Englishmen learn Christ's law best in English. Moses heard God's law in his own tongue; so did Christ's apostles.

William Tyndale (1494-1536)

He translates the Bible from the Greek manuscripts into Middle English (which was common English back then!)

And what happens?

William Tyndale
I perceived how that it was impossible to establish the lay people in any truth   except the Scripture were plainly laid  before their eyes in their mother tongue.
  1. Be grateful that you have a Bible in your pocket and in your native tongue
  2. Be diligent in your personal reading, study and applying of Scripture
  3. Be aware of the power of Bible translations for both good and bad


John Wycliffe's Translation from the Vulgate
Fro that tyme Jhesus bigan to preche, and seie, Do ye penaunce, for the kyngdom of heuenes schal come niy.
(From that time Jesus began to preach and say, Do ye penance, for the kingdom of heaven shall come nigh.)

John Wycliffe's Bible is a translation from a translation

St. Jerome's Vulgate Translation 
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say:  Do penance (dicere paenitentiam), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.


William Tyndale's Translation from the Greek
From yt tyme Iesus begane to preache and to saye: repet for ye kigdome of heve is at hode.
(From that time Jesus began to preach and to say: Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.)


  • Between you and God through the church
  • Something you do to deserve forgiveness


  • Between you and God
  • The despair of being able to do anything to deserve forgiveness
  1. Let the Holy Spirit convict you of your sin and guilt
  2. Give up trying to earn or deserve forgiveness
  3. Apologize for your sin and rebellion
  4. Ask God for forgiveness and the power to change


New Jerusalem Bible


From then onwards Jesus began his proclamation with the message, “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.”

Whose Bible is this?

Karl House