The Bible Museum
by on December 29, 2022

After the invention of the printing press in the 15th century, the publication of texts got a big boost. During those early years of printing, there were many takers for the Latin Bible. However, things changed after the Gutenberg Bible was printed in 1455. It was followed by 90+ other editions of the Vulgate, some of which came equipped with commentary, and were published by presses spread across Europe.

The 15th and early 16th centuries in Europe are marked by significant intellectual change, which had a direct impact on the Bible’s availability and accessibility in the vernacular language to the commoners. 

Tracing the Bible History

The first hand-written Bible manuscripts in English were produced by John Wycliffe in the 1380’s AD. Wycliffe was a leading theologian and scholar of his time, who believed the organized Church's teaching was in contrast to the Bible.

In the 1450s, after the printing press was invented, Johann Gutenberg printed a Latin language Bible. This became the first book ever to get printed.

Over time, the Latin Vulgate became so corrupt that it could no longer preserve the message of the Gospel. This was exactly what Thomas Linacre, an Oxford professor, stated after he learned Greek and then read the Gospels in Greek. His words couldn't be taken lightly as he was the personal doctor to England’s King Henry VII and VIII.

After he found 6,000+ mistakes in the Vulgate, Erasmus, a priest based in the Netherlands, published a new Greek translation of the Bible by using multiple sources.

In 1522, Martin Luther's translation of the New Testament into German was published, which became renowned as Luther’s September Testament. In 1526, William Tyndale published his New Testament. Later, in 1530, he published the Pentateuch. Often called the Protestant Reformation’s “father,” Tyndale’s work had a significant impact on subsequent Bible translators.

Wrapping Up

In 1539, the Great Bible was published. It was the first authorized version of the Bible in English. Some years down the line, the Geneva Bible and the Bishop’s Bible came into existence, and then came the KJV in 1611, which quickly became the most extensively published text in the English language.

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