Protestant Bible: A Journey Through Centuries - THE NEW TESTAMENT

Domenico Ghirlandaio  (1449–1494) created an artistic interpretation of what it must have been like for Jerome to translate the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Latin. This fresco, circa 1480, is known as “Saint Jerome in His Study.” It was created at the Church of Ognissanti, in Florence (Italy). Image online via Web Gallery of Art.


Most scholars agree that the New Testament was written within the first century after Christ's birth. Although we have no originals, a precious fragment of the Gospel of John has survived. Many scholars believe this Greek manuscript was copied around 125 A.D., about 35 years after John wrote his account.

Discovered in Egypt, this two-sided fragment is maintained in the John Rylands Library in Manchester, England. The front side, John 18:31-33, contains part of the account of Jesus' trial before Pilate. The back side, John 18:37-38, includes Pilate's words:

I find no crime in him.

Another papyrus manuscript—containing most of the Gospel of John in Greek—is known as Bodmer II. It was likely copied around 175-200 A.D. and is maintained by the Bodmer Library and Museum in Cologny, on the southeastern shore of Switzerland's Lake Geneva. (Follow this link to see how far Christianity had spread by the year 180 A.D.)

In addition to the Old Testament, the Codex Sinaiticus—found in St. Catherine's Monastery—also contains most of the New Testament in Greek. So does the Codex Vaticanus.

Early Church Fathers quoted extensively from their sacred Scriptures. Some of those early writings, including New Testament quotations, have survived. The quotes match the surviving fragments and manuscripts.

But how—and when—did the Bible get translated from Hebrew and Greek? One of the most important translations was by St. Jerome (pictured here in a 1524-29 painting by Joos van Cleves), whose work came to be called the Vulgate because it was the version (editio vulgata) commonly used.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jul 01, 2002

Updated Last Revision: Jul 12, 2019

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