Bible Translations

Around 340 BC, Alexander the Great Hellenized the area that centuries later would become the Eastern Reach of the Roman Empire.  Among his Hellenistic efforts, he implemented Ancient Greek as the common language for the people of the areas of his conquests.

About 300 BC (300 years before Jesus was born), the Hebrew Rabbis realized that the Israelites that lived in the areas that had been Hellenized by Alexander the Great only understood ancient Greek and could no longer read the Torah and other sacred writings in the Hebrew and Aramaic languages so they translated their sacred writings into the common language of the Israelites that lived in that area which was ancient Greek at that time.  That translation became known as the Greek Septuagint. 

Time passes and the Roman Empire extends its reach all the way to Judea by 63 BC.  The common language of the people is Ancient Greek in that area, so in order for Rome to govern their Eastern provinces effectively, they needed to communicate with their subjects of that region in their common language of Ancient Greek, so Ancient Greek became a universal language throughout the entire Roman Empire.

As time passes, Jesus is born and does His Work for the Salvation of Mankind in a very firmly established Eastern part of the Roman Empire where the common language was ancient Greek.

After Jesus’ Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension and Pentecost, the early Christian church grew with ancient Greek as the language used so all people of the Roman Empire could learn about Christianity.  As a result, the Christian church became known as Greek.  Not because of the country of Greece as we know it today, but because the common language of the people of the entire Roman Empire was ancient Greek and that was the language of the early Christian church. 

Time passes and as was the custom of the Orthodox Church, the Scriptures and Divine Services of the church were translated from the Greek into the language of the people in the areas of the world. Eventually English translations were also commissioned from the Greek Septuagint for the English speaking countries.

In the modern world, we are still struggling with receiving the most accurate translations of the Bible from the Greek. In English alone, there are many different renditions of the sacred texts. This is why so many biblical scholars focus on learning to read and understand the ancient Greek language itself so they can properly understand the scriptural messages of the Bible.

References:

Bock, Darrell L. Acts. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2007

Gaebelein, Frank E. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Volume 9) – John and Acts. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1984.

Gibson, Margaret Dunlop, trans. Didascalia Apostolarum in English. London, England: C.J.Clay and Sons, Cambridge University Press Warehouse, 1903

Hussey, J. M., and Andrew Louth. The Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empire (Oxford History of the Christian Church S). publication place: Oxford University Press, USA, 1990.

L’Huillier, Peter. The Church of the Ancient Councils: The Disciplinary Work of the First Four Ecumenical Councils. Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Pr, 2000.

Mango, Cyril. The Art of the Byzantine Empire 312-1453: Sources and Documents (MART: The Medieval Academy Reprints For Teaching,  No. 16). Toronto, Ontario, Canada in association with the Medieval Academy of America:  University of Toronto Press, 1986.

Martin, Francis, ed. Acts. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2006.

Patsavos, Lewis J. A Noble Task: Entry Into the Clergy in the First Five Centuries. Brookline, Mass.: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2008.

Patsavos, Lewis J. Spiritual Dimensions of the Holy Canons. Brookline, Mass.: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2007.

Payton, James R., and Jr. Light from the Christian East: an Introduction to the Orthodox Tradition. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2007

Robson, Roy R. Old Believers in Modern Russia. DeKalb, Ill.: Northern Illinois Univ Pr, 1995.

Schaff, P. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers Inc.,U.S., 1994

Tarazi, Paul Nadim. New Testament: An Introduction: Luke and Acts V.2. Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Pr, 2001.

Ware, Timothy (Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia). The Orthodox Church: New Edition. Penguin Books,1993