Index to this Study


A History of the Bible

Dr. William S. Sadler

4. The English Bible Through the Mid-Twentieth Century



    1. EARLY BEGINNINGS
  • 1. In the third century Origen tells about Christian centers in Britain.
  • 2. Pope Gregory sent missionaries to England in 597.
  • 3. In the eighth century the Venerable Bede and Egbert made translations of the Lord's Prayer, Apostles' Creed, and the gospels.
  • 4. In the ninth century King Alfred promoted further translations.
  • 5. By the tenth century a dozen psalters were in existence.
  • 6. In the tenth century the Rushworth gospels appeared.
  • 7. A Latin psalter appeared in 1320.
    2.THE WYCLIFFE BIBLE
  • 1. The first complete English Bible was translated by Wycliffe (1324-1384).
  • 2. Wycliffe died a natural death, but the Council of Constance (1415) ordered his bones and books burned.
  • 3. The Wycliffe Bible was first published in 1382. It was the only English Bible until the sixteenth century.
  • 4. In 1250 there was a French translation; in 1416, a German.
    3. TYNDALE'S NEW TRANSLATION
  • 1. In 1525,at Cologne, Tyndale's New Testament was printed. Later, it was reprinted at Worms.
  • 2. The British king ordered Tyndale's Bible burned. Packynton, a London merchant kept the book in circulation by selling copies, at a profit, to the Bishop of London to be burned.
  • 3. Revisions of this Bible were published in 1534.
  • 4. Tyndale started to translate the Old Testament, but after imprisonment in Brussels, he was burned at the stake in 1536.
    4. MILES COVERDALE'S BIBLE
  • 1.The first complete printed Bible in English was the work of Miles Coverdale, 1488-1568.
  • 2. This translation was favored by Henry VIII, Cromwell, and Archbishop Latimer.
  • 3. Published in 1535 at Cologne or Marburg.
    5. FIRST LICENSED BIBLE
  • 1. Published by Thomas Matthew, at Antwerp, in 1538.
  • 2. Published in both Latin and English.
  • 3. The Matthew Bible was revised in 1539 and published as the Toveruer Bible. This was the first Bible to be printed in England.
    6. THE GREAT BIBLE OF 1539
  • 1. This was known as Cranmer's Bible and was the first authorized English Bible.
  • 2. This was the first Bible "approved to be read in churches."
  • 3. In 1546 the English began to burn all Bibles except this "Great Bible," which was largely restricted to the upper classes.
    7. THE GENEVA BIBLE
  • 1. In 1557 appears the Geneva Bible, translated by the brother-in-law of Calvin.
  • 2. This Bible reflects the theology of Calvin and Knox.
  • 3. It became known as the "Breeches" Bible from the translation of Gen. 3:7.
  • 4. This was the most scholarly and accurate of all English translations up to this time.
  • 5. This Bible had what might be called "Protestant marginal notes."
  • 6. This is the first English Bible with complete division into chapters and verses.
  • 7. This is the first translation to use italics to indicate supplied words.
  • 8. This was the Bible of Shakespeare and the Pilgrim Fathers.
    8. THE SECOND AUTHORIZED BIBLE
  • 1. The Bishop's Bible. Promoted by Archbishop Parker and published in 1568.
  • 2. The Christian church is at long last publishing a Bible.
  • 3. This was a "church" project from its inception--translation, publishing, and promotion.
    9. FIRST ROMAN CATHOLIC BIBLE IN ENGLISH
  • 1. The New Testament in 1582. The Old Testament in 1609. First printed at Rheims.
  • 2. First complete Bible published at Douay in 1633. Long known as the Douay Bible.
  • 3. This Bible was designed to get rid of the Protestant "slant" of some versions.
  • 4. Example: Matt. 6:24. "Two masters." This had been applied to "two religions." Christ and Calvin, Catholic and Protestant.
  • 5. This was really a revision of Jerome's Vulgate Bible.
    10.THE KING JAMES BIBLE
  • 1.This translation was started by the Hampton Court Conference in 1604 and was published in 1611.
  • 2. The King James Version was produced by a corps of 50 translators.
  • 3. But there was strong opposition to a "Revised Bible," as the King James Version was known at that time.
  • 4. The marginal notes were largely left out.
  • 5. The Apocrypha was left in.
  • 6. This was the third authorized Bible in England.
  • 7. It had many misprints such as:
    • a. Matt. 23:24; "At" for "out", "Strain at a gnat."
    • b. Archaic words: "Prevent" for "go before."
    • c. "Damnation" for "judgment."
    • d. "Carriage" for "baggage."
  • 8. For 250 years this version was the Bible of the Protestant world.
  • 9. This version finally left out the Apocrypha.
  • 10. This Bible had a great influence on the English language for over two hundred years.
    11. THE ENGLISH REVISED VERSION
  • 1. New Testament published in 1881. The whole Bible in 1885.
  • 2. Contained over 30,000 changes.
  • 3. Differences by the American Committee were published in the United States in 1901.
  • 4. The omitted marginal notes were restored largely--in 1898.
    12. MODERN SPEECH VERSIONS
  • 1. The Fenton Bible. England, 1900.
  • 2. Four Gospels, Spencer, 1898.
  • 3. Ballentine, American idiom. 1898.
  • 4. Twentieth Century New Testament. 1901.
  • 5. Weymouth, British idiom. 1903.
  • 6. Moffatt. 1913. 1923.
  • 7. Goodspeed. 1923- 1931.
  • 8. Smith. 1927.
  • 9. Jehovah's Witnesses, New Testament. 1950.
  • 10. Basic English (children). 1949.
  • 11. Revised Old Testament (Jewish). 1917.
  • 12. Beginning in 1948, Catholic revision of the Douay Bible.
    13. REVISED STANDARD VERSION
  • Published in 1952 by a department of the National Council of Churches.
  • In 1961 the English New Testament was published, being the English Comittee differences in the Revised Standard Version of 1952. Publication of the English Old Testament followed.