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How Did We Get Our Bible?

Copying, Canonizing, and Translating

We get our Bible, first of all, because God has chosen to reveal himself to humans. If it weren’t for that first step, of course, there would be no Bible. But from there, then we could talk about the incredible work of humans that God has used to bring us the Bible. And the first step of that, of course, is God choosing to speak through human authors.

He inspires the authors of the Bible to write what’s in the Bible. But from there, then the Bible has to be copied by human scribes for thousands of years before the invention of the printing press.

Scribes and Scripture

John D. Meade, Peter J. Gurry

In Scribes and Scripture, scholars John D. Meade and Peter J. Gurry answer common questions about the writing, copying, canonizing, and translating of the Bible and give readers tools to interpret the evidence about God’s word.

Then there’s also the part of the process of getting the Bible. It involves recognizing the books that God has inspired. We call that canonization. And then there’s the process that’s really essential for most of us, and that is the process of translating the Bible into languages that we can read.

So the Bible was translated early on into languages like Latin and Syriac and Coptic, and for the Old Testament translated into Greek. Then that process of translation continues all the way up into the present with translations, of course, into English and languages all around the world. So in short, we got our Bible through the process of copying, canonizing, and translating.

Peter J. Gurry is coauthor with John D. Meade of Scribes and Scriptures: The Amazing Story of How We Got the Bible.

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