History and Story Behind the New Testament of the Bible Part 2

About the religious books that make up the New Testament of the Bible, history of the Christian holy works.

STORIES BEHIND THE HOLY BOOKS OF THE WORLD

THE NEW TESTAMENT

At any rate, it is by faith, as the Bible tells us, that one receives the transmission of grace, according to one's own degree of understanding, surrender, and readiness. For as a whole, the Bible is a testament to loving service to God.

Sample Quote: "Owe no one anything, except to love another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments... are summed up in this sentence: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." (Romans 13:8-10)

Its Publishing History: As in the case of the Old Testament, there was some dispute as to what constituted scripture. The oldest Greek manuscript, the Codex Sinaiticus, written around the 4th century A.D., ends with the books of Barnabas and The Shepherd, which do not appear in most versions. The advent of printing made the arrangement more definite, beginning with a Latin Bible in 1456 at Mainz.

The Geneva Bible was the first to set the scripture into verse, in 1560. As for translation, when William Tyndale translated the New Testament from Greek and Hebrew into English, he was burned at the stake for an allegedly untrue translation. The King James Version was no easy job either, for it was based upon a Greek text bearing the accumulated mistakes of 14 centuries of manuscript copying.

The first New Testament to appear in the Americas was Puritan missionary John Eliot's translation for the Massachusetts Indians, printed in 1661. In the 20th century, there have already been 15 to 20 English translations of the Bible. Portions of the Bible have been translated into 1,603 languages, and the complete Bible has been translated into 261 languages. It is difficult to estimate how many copies have been distributed over the centuries; the American Bible Society records the printing and distribution of 2,188,491 Bibles in 1975 alone--and that includes only the three versions which they handle (King James, Revised Standard, and Good News). Since their inception in 1816, they have distributed a total of 76,628,272 Bibles. The Good News Bible is in contemporary language, including contractions and other colloquial speech. Another contemporary Bible is the Jerusalem Bible, among whose editors was J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings.

Unusual Facts: A cartoon-type Bible called Bible of the Poor was a picture book with brief captions, by Koster, printed during the Reformation.

The unpredicted success of the Revised Standard Version, published in 1946 by Thomas Nelson & Sons, made it necessary for Nelson's, one year, to buy up the entire seal catch in North America to leather-bind their volumes. In fact, the company needed extra hides of India water buffalo that same year to complete the task.

The world's only finger-powered phonograph was made so Navaho Indians who live without electricity, could play scripture records. The same method is used in nonliterate areas of India, Africa, and South America.

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