Online Bible Translations

The history of different Bible versions is a complex topic that delves into the study of textual criticism, the method for determining the correct text for any ancient literature. With the advent and popularity of the internet, online Bible translations are available to anyone with access to the web. The ability to click a mouse and find Scripture is amazing. Yet it doesn't change the fact that some translations express the original message of Scripture better than others. Not only that, but some texts aren't translations at all. They are paraphrases of existing translations.

In textual criticism, an original document is known as an autograph. This can be a letter, a bill of lading, a poem, or even a tax receipt. Because of the fragility of papyrus, many autographs from the ancient world no longer exist. The manuscripts, whether entire scrolls or mere fragments, that scholars study are copies of the autographs. Homeric scholars compare manuscripts of Homer's epic poems, including The Odyssey and The Iliad, to figure out what the poet actually wrote since the autographs no longer exist. Biblical scholars compare manuscripts of Scriptural texts for the same reason. Both set of scholars utilize basic principles of textual criticism to determine the most accurate text possible. Even so, this sort of study is not an exact science. Even the most objective scholar must guard against allowing personal bias to affect his work. Christians can trust that God providentially protects His Word. As the apostle Paul wrote, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

The history of different Bible versions is not based on the original writings of the various Biblical authors. The Old Testament books were written in Hebrew, but most translations are based on a Greek translation of the Hebrew called the Septuagint, also referred to by the Roman numerals LXX (seventy). Historians believe that approximately seventy Jewish scholars worked on translating the Hebrew into the Greek sometime between 300-200 B.C. The majority of the Old Testament quotes that are found in the New Testament are from the Septuagint. Some of the Apocryphal books, texts not included in the Biblical canon, are found in the Septuagint, but the New Testament never quotes from these books. The New Testament was written, for the most part, in koine Greek, the common language of the first century world. Scribes made copies of the Scriptures and copies of the copies. Over time, differences occurred in copies of the same passages due to human error or bias. Scholars study the copies to determine which ones are the most accurate. As more manuscripts are found and identified, Biblical translators incorporate them into an evolving Greek text that is considered to be as close to the original as possible. The Nestle-Aland Greek text was begun in the 1880s and is now in its 27th edition.

Textual critics who study ancient manuscripts and fragments learn to recognize certain similarities in the writings that enable them to categorize the texts into four text-types: Byzantine, Alexandrian, Western, and Caesarean. Of these, almost 94% of all Greek manuscripts are in the Byzantine family. These manuscripts were preserved by Eastern scholars who fled Turkish invasion, bringing their precious Scriptures with them. In discussing the history of different Bible versions, it's important to note that Martin Luther, William Tyndale, and the translators of the King James Version primarily used the Byzantine texts for their translations. More modern translations, such as the New International Version (1973) and English Standard Version (2002), are based primarily on the Alexandrian text-type, even though only 3-4% of Greek manuscripts are in this family. When textual critics evaluate the trustworthiness of manuscripts, they consider more than the age. Though logic might seem to indicate that older fragments are closer to the original than less-old fragments, and therefore, more accurate, this isn't necessarily true. For example, the same Scripture passage is often found on several fragments. Most scholars will accept the difficult, short version of the passage as being more accurate than the easy, long version. The thought is that the scribe added commentary to the difficult version to make it easier to understand. This evaluation will outweigh the age factor of the fragments.

Many websites on the internet provide access to online Bible translations several languages, including the King James Version and the New International Version. Some sites also access popular paraphrases, such as The Living Bible. This is not a true translation because the author didn't translate the Greek text into English. Instead, he re-wrote an English text in such a way that it was easier to read. Naturally, paraphrases are controversial as revisers may alter the meanings of some passages, even if inadvertently. Biblical websites offer additional features, such as search engines that can locate the use of specific words or phrases. Bible studies on topical issues or specific books can be found on these sites, as well as articles and commentaries. This makes them an invaluable resource for Sunday School teachers, small group leaders, and ministers. Message boards and forums are other options that may be available. The online Bible translations aren't just for English-speakers, either. Scriptural translations are available in many languages.

The history of different Bible versions is a long and fascinating one that utilizes textual criticism, the study of ancient manuscripts to determine an author's original message. Many scholars have worked diligently to evaluate the many thousands of manuscripts and fragments that archaeologists have discovered to ensure that Bible versions are as accurate as possible. Technology provides an opportunity for anyone to compare different versions by accessing online Bible translations via the internet.

The Bible Online

The Bible online offers many great opportunities for those individuals who spend a large amount of time using the Internet for various tasks or hobbies. For an individual who enjoys studying or reading the Bible, an online audio Bible may be a great way to further enjoy the time that is spent studying God's Word. Using the Scriptures online can also be a way to prepare for lessons or sermons as a preacher. Writing these lessons can be much easier if all the information is found on the computer and there is no need to go back and forth between the written page and the computer screen. Listening to an on line audio version can offer the chance to listen and study while completing other tasks. While the person may not learn as much as they would by only studying and reading, some individuals have the ability to do two or three things at once without losing focus on any of the individual tasks that are occurring around them.

Anyone wanting to develop a better understanding of the Scriptures can use an Internet audio Bible to listen to the words instead of reading them. This is a great tool for someone who may not particularly like to read. Listening can also be more dramatic or interesting than reading silently. The Internet version in written form can also be useful for individuals who may be interested in studying the Bible. For someone who does not own a Bible, the Internet is a great place to find free copies. Studying can be done at no cost and with many different versions of the Holy Book being available. Using Internet resources, including the Bible online, can provide people with a chance to read and study in order to develop a deeper and more meaningful relationship with God.

The use of the Bible online can be very beneficial to a preacher or other church leaders. Preparing lessons or sermons will often require the use of a computer to type out the lesson, especially in churches that use multimedia tools to enhance the learning experience of the congregation. Many churches use slide shows or other computer-based tools that require the use of computer programs or the Internet to prepare for church services. As a preacher or other church leader is preparing the lesson or sermon, they can use a resource like an online site to find verses or other material that will be helpful in preparing the lesson. Also, some preachers or leaders may prefer to listen to the verses they will be using from an online audio Bible. This can be helpful in determining what certain words are or how to pronounce them in the instance that it is a word that is not often used. Internet resources can be very helpful for church leaders when preparing lessons or sermons to bring to a congregation.

Having the ability to multi-task, or do several things at one time, can be very helpful in completing assignments while doing something enjoyable like studying the Bible online. As a student, writing papers or doing other assignments on the computer might provide a good opportunity to listen to an Internet audio version. The audio versions can be found on many Christian websites that offer both written and audio versions. Sometimes these are provided at no charge while other sites may require a small fee for the use of a written or audio Bible. Other than students, any individual who may be completing work either on the computer or on the Internet may be able to take advantage of an online audio Bible while completing these tasks. Writing a report for a business meeting, preparing a statement for monthly bills, or playing online games can be completed while listening to an audio Bible. This provides the individual with a chance to listen to or study the Scripture lesson while accomplishing other tasks.

The Bible online is a resource that can be used by anyone needing or wanting to develop a better understanding of the scriptures or a closer relationship with God. As individuals want to study, listening to an online audio Bible may be a good alternative for those who do not like to read. For a preacher, creating a sermon can be done using the Internet version. Preparing multimedia tools like a slide show for use in a church service can be done with the help of online resources. Using computer tools where the Scripture can be read or listened to can offer chances to study to people who might not regularly take the time to complete a scripture study. Using the audio version will also allow individuals to complete other work while listening to the Word of God. Someone working on the computer can listen to an audio version while writing papers or completing work. Taking advantage of online resources can be very helpful to someone who is seeking God. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)

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