This chart shows various important versions from the first translations onwards.
Meryl Doney. How the Bible Came to Us. Copyright © 1985 Lion Publishing
Septuagint/ (Greek) First translation from the Hebrew
Latin, The Vulgate Jerome about 400
Bede (died 735) part of John’s Gospel in Anglo-Saxon
John Wycliffe – First complete Bible in English 1384
These two came from the original Greek and Hebrew texts:
Erasmus Greek and Latin New Testament 1516
William Tyndale First printed English New Testament 1526
Miles Coverdale First printed English Bible 1535
The Great Bible 1539
The Geneva Bible 1560
The Bishop’s Bible 1568
Douai-Rheims Bible Roman Catholic version 1609
Authorized King James Version 1611
English Revised Version 1881-5
Revised Standard Version 1952
Jerusalem Bible 1966
New English Bible 1970
Good News Bible 1976
New International Version 1979
Note: The Gutenberg Printing Press was invented in Mainz Germany in the early 1430’s.
Towards the end of the Middle Ages, the church had become very corrupt. Popes had become rich and powerful rulers. Many priests were ignorant and greedy and some were living openly immoral lives.
As a result, individuals and groups of Christians all over Europe began to speak out against the state of the church and to meet to worship independently. Protest (Protestants) was a dangerous business, but many brave men were willing to risk their lives, especially to bring the Bible – the word of God – to ordinary people in their own language.
In England many read from John Wycliffe’s Bible in secret. Each handwritten copy took about ten months and cost L40 to produce. Some of Wycliffe’s followers were burned, with their Bibles around their necks.