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What Language Was The Bible Originally Written In

Original Written Language

The Bible, or the Holy Scriptures, is a collection of ancient sacred writings that were originally composed in three different languages: Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. Traditional Christian, Jewish and most Islamic denominations recognize all three written languages as authoritative texts. Jews regard the Hebrew scriptures, known as the Torah, as the oldest and most sacred text. The church fathers of early Christianity accepted the Greek version of the Scriptures as the authentic version, which is now known as the Septuagint. MeanwhileArabic-speaking residents of the ancient Near East during the early centuries of Christianity relied on the Aramaic version of the Bible.

Hebraic Origin

The origin of the Hebrew Scriptures is the most contested territory among Jewish and Christian scholars, since the most influential book of the Bible—the Torah—claims to have been written by the Hebrew prophet Moses himself. Archaeologists and scholars have found evidence that the Torah was in fact written in ancient Hebrew as far back as the second century BCE and, given the frequent use of citations from books like Exodus and Deuteronomy, is considered to be the oldest surviving religious text.
The Jews preserved their original language for thousands of years, outlasting the Aramaic and Greek versions which were eventually replaced by the Latin Vulgate text. Incidentally, the Hebrew alphabet itself served as a source of inspiration for the Greek and Latin alphabets, which are still used in writing today.


The Septuagint was a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible dating back to around the 3rd century BCE. Although the original Septuagint translation quickly lost its importance in Jewish circles, it was adopted by early Christian fathers and served as a starting point for the New Testament. In fact, the New Testament authors relied heavily on the Septuagint version of the Old Testament and the book of Revelation even depends on its Greek words. Thanks to its influence, the Septuagint became an important part of Christian tradition.

Aramaic Versions

Apart from the Hebrew and Greek versions of the Bible, there were also many other versions, including the Aramaic translations. One of the most prolific Aramaic translators was Onkelos, a rabbi who lived in the early second century CE. His translation was written in a type of Aramaic known as Targum, which was the popular language of the Aramaic-speaking population of Babylon during the time of the Maccabean Revolt. The Targum of Onkelos was one of the most widely read translations of the Bible ever produced and also served as a source of inspiration for the New Testament authors.

Aramaic Origin of Christian Texts

In addition to the Hebrew and Greek versions, some of the Christian texts were originally written in Aramaic. The most famous of these is the Gospel of Matthew, which was first translated into Greek in the second century CE. The Aramaic dialogue of Jesus, in particular, was preserved intact in the Greek translation, which indicates that it was probably written in the original language.
The language of the early church was also mainly Aramaic, rather than Greek. This can be seen in evidenced by the fact that many of the new Christian terms, such as ‘angel’, ‘apostle’, and ‘resurrection’, were originally Aramaic words. It is likely that the early church fathers deliberately chose to use Aramaic to ensure that the most important message of the Gospel was kept intact.

Biblical Translation

In the centuries following its writing, the Bible has been translated and adapted into many languages, including English. This is evident in the large variety of English translations that are currently in circulation, such as the King James Version and the New International Version. The process of translation is not an easy one and requires meticulous attention to detail in order to retain the original meaning and significance of the text.

Benefits Of Biblical Translation

The main benefit of translating the Bible into other languages is that it allows readers from different backgrounds to access the sacred text in a language that they can understand. By making the Bible available in multiple modern languages, more people are able to gain an understanding of the ancient values and teachings contained within it. Additionally, translation also helps to preserve the text for future generations, ensuring that its messages will be passed down through the ages.

Biblical Translations and Faiths

It is important to note that while all traditional denominations agree on the original written language of the Bible, there is no consensus on the translations. Different religions have different interpretations and believe that certain translations are closer to the original text than others. This can be seen in the alternative interpretations of important verses that are present in Jewish, Christian and Islamic literature. As such, it is important to bear in mind that translations of the Bible vary and that no one version can claim to be fully authentic or authoritative.

Literal Translations

Despite the wide variety of Bible translations, many scholars advocate for a return to literal translations. This type of translation is based on the original text and seeks to represent the exact wording and meaning of the original words, rather than taking into account cultural references or more recent language trends. Literal translations have proven to be an invaluable resource for Bible scholars and theologians, since they allow a better understanding of the original texts.

Influence Beyond Faith

As the most widely read book in the world, the impact of the Bible extends far beyond the realm of faith. The Bible has had a tremendous influence on education, literature, art, politics, science and even popular culture. Its stories and characters have become deeply embedded in the cultural fabric of many societies and its writings continue to provide timeless lessons and insights into our way of life.

Biblical Scholarship

The study and deciphering of the Bible is known as ‘biblical scholarship’ and is a field of academic pursuit that has been ongoing for centuries. The meticulous analysis of the Bible is essential for gaining an understanding of its many layers and the intricate language in which it was written. This type of scholarship has had an immense impact on both religious and academic life, allowing readers to gain a more meaningful insight into the ancient world and its values.


The Bible was originally written in three different languages, each of which is incredibly important and influential today. Hebrew served as the original language of the Torah, as well as many of the Christian texts, while the Septuagint and Aramaic versions also play an influential role in religious traditions. The many translations of the Bible, both ancient and modern, offer readers a wealth of insight into its contents and the world in which it originated. Biblical scholarship continues to be an integral part of academic and religious discourse and provides valuable lessons for future generations.

Hilda Scott is an avid explorer of the Bible and inteprator of its gospel. She is passionate about researching and uncovering the mysteries that lie in this sacred book. She hopes to use her knowledge and expertise to bring faith and God closer to people all around the world.

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