How many languages is the bible written in? The Bible was written various languages and just one but what are these languages? Finding out the languages in which the Bible was originally written in is what this article aims at.
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The first human writer to record the biblical record was Moses. God commanded him to do this task according to Exodus 34:27, where God’s words to Moses are written: “Write these words, for by these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel. He wrote in his mother tongue, Hebrew.
Hebrew belongs to the group of languages known as Semitic languages, spoken in what was then Mesopotamia and now mostly in Iraq.
Greek is the major language the New Testament was written in. This seems odd because you might think it would be Hebrew or Aramaic. However, Greek was the language of science during the New Testament years from 50 to 100 AD. In fact, many Jews could no longer even read Hebrew, and this was a great embarrassment to the Jewish leaders! So, around 300 BC. The translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew to Greek was made around 200 BC. It also became a wonderful missionary tool for the early Christians, because the Greeks could now read God’s Word in their own language.
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Nevertheless, New Testament writers did not use classical or high-class Greek, but a very common and colloquial type of Greek. Over the years some scholars have ridiculed New Testament Greek because many of its words are foreign to those who read great classical Greek writings such as Plato. But many records of ordinary people were discovered later, and surprisingly, How many languages is the bible written in, the same general terms are used in everyday language.
The Greek language has gone through several periods of great change. The New Testament was written during an era known as the Koine Age. This is universal or pan-Greek time. Until AD 330, Koine was a common street language in Rome, Alexandria, Athens, and Jerusalem. When the
Romans finally defeated the Greeks, Greek influence spread throughout the empire. Augustus, Emperor of Rome, wrote his seal in Greek. Paul sent his message in Greek, not Latin, when he wrote to the saints in Rome, the capital of the kingdom.
Aramaic is a closely related language (actually a group of Semitic dialects) to Hebrew. Even though Hebrew remained the “sacred” language of the Jews, like others in the Middle East, they began speaking Aramaic in their daily and writing sometime after the 6th century BC. In the first century AD, Aramaic, in one dialect or another, was the common vernacular of the Palestinian Jews, although it is likely that many Jews also spoke Hebrew and Greek.
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In the New Testament, Aramaic expressions that are translated into Greek as can be seen from the following examples:
“Talitha qumi [Virgin, arise!” (Mark 5:41) and “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani,” which is translated into English as “My Lord, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Mark 15:34). There are several Aramaic words in the New Testament Epistles, such as Abba, found in the New Testament book of Galatians 4:6 and Maranatha found in the book of 1 Corinthians 16:22.
How many languages is the bible written in? As can be seen from this article, there are three major languages in which the Bible was written which are Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic.
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