Article - Languages and Bible Translations (part 1)

Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek

The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew (with parts in Aramaic: Genesis 31:47; Ezra 4:8-6:18; 7:12-26; Jeremiah 10:11; Daniel 2:4-7:28) and the New Testament was originally written in Greek (that is, the “koine”, meaning “common” Greek) . As Greek culture (along with the Greek language) began to influence societies, especially in Alexandria, Egypt, there was a need for Jews who were no longer fluent with the Hebrew language to have a Greek translation. Around the 200s B.C. about 70 Alexandrian Jews completed translating the Greek Translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint (also referred to as the LXX). We know that translating God’s word into other languages is authorized by God because 1) Jesus and the apostles used the Greek Old Testament during their ministry; 2) the apostles frequently quoted from the Septuagint when writing the New Testament; 3) the Bible speaks of translating (Ezra 4:7; Matthew 1:23; Acts 2:7-12).

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