Get to know the sacrifices that were made for a Bible to reach your hands

The history of Bible translation into other languages is marked by many difficult episodes for translators.

The Bible is clearly not just a book. Whoever takes the time to reflect on what is written in it realizes that it brings a very profound content about human life. That’s because it was through her that the Creator wanted to reveal Himself to human beings. In it we find what God wants us to know about His thoughts about His main creation. Therefore, it is timeless. Humanity’s most central problems have always been the same and are connected with sin, man’s rebellion against God.

The big picture:

Over time, numerous archaeological discoveries have proven the reports that are found in it. Even when copies of the Sacred Text from different times are compared, it is possible to notice an immutability in what is written.

Thus, it is important to understand how the Bible is divided, which are the books that compose it, because this facilitates the understanding of what is written.

First, it is important to know that the Bible was not originally written with chapter and verse numbers (they were inserted later to make it easier to find passages). In this way, it is recommended not to take verses out of context, because this generates many problems of interpretation of what is written. Try to read larger portions of text to understand the overall picture of that passage.

The Old Testament is divided into: the “Pentateuch” (the first 5 books of the Bible), the “Historical”, the “Poetic” and the “Prophetic” books (divided into “Major Prophets” and “Minor Prophets”).

Afterwards, the Lord Jesus came into the world and completed what God the Father had established in the beginning. Thus, in the New Testament, we have the “Gospels” (which tell the story of the Lord Jesus on Earth), a “History” (Acts), the “Letters” (which provide guidance for the Christian life) and, finally, the “Revelation”.

Furthermore, the original texts of the Bible were written in Hebrew (with some portions in Aramaic) and Greek. Therefore, in order for you to have a copy in your language at home, it was necessary to carry out a translation (which may have been by dynamic or formal equivalence).

These translations cost a lot:

The history of Bible translation into other languages is marked by many difficult episodes for translators. Let’s get to know briefly some of these facts.

John Wycliffe (1330 – 1384):

In Wycliffe’s time, people were poorly literate and thus they were dependent on what the clergy of the Catholic Church taught about the Bible. This allowed some false teachings to be passed on. So Wycliffe decided to translate the entire Bible into the English language (something that took 13 years). Because of disagreements with the clergy, he began to be persecuted. Years before the Bible translation, he was sentenced to be imprisoned in a partial trial. And when the translation appeared, a bill was put forward against publication (fortunately, it was not approved, because a parliamentarian interfered). However, Wycliffe and his translation continued to be opposed by the clergy with great hatred.

Jan Hus (1369 – 1415):

Inspired by Wycliffe, Hus decided to translate the Bible from Latin into Czech, with the intention that the population of Prague would have access to the Sacred content. The project was completed in 1416. Of course, the price was high: the clergy of the Catholic Church forged a prison for Hus. After a controversial trial, he was burned alive.

William Tyndale (1484 – 1546):

By Tyndale’s time, Martin Luther (who had led the Protestant Reformation in Germany) had already translated the Bible into German. Wycliffe’s version was hard to come by. So Tyndale decided to have his translation done and made several attempts to print it (but always with difficulties because of the clergy). He was burned alive after being trapped in an ambush.

What to notice:

In addition to these historical characters, many others have experienced difficulties because of their faith and the biblical translations. Among them, we can remember Martin Luther, John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, Johannes Bugenhagen, William Farel, Theodore of Beza and John Knox, for example. We must also remember the Christians of the Early Church and the apostles who paid with their lives through prisons, Roman arenas with lions, crucifixions and beheadings. And even in modern times there are Christians with their biblical translations who were persecuted, killed, arrested or suffered prejudice in different locations around the world. If we were to quote every known story, this post would be endless.

Bible Study

For those who are not very familiar with the content of the Bible, it can be a little difficult at first to understand the meaning of some passages. At the Universal church we hold a special meeting every Wednesday that dives into the scriptures in spiritual ways, to promote communion with God. Welcome every Wednesday 10am and 6pm in English, and 3pm in Portuguese.