What Language is The Bible Written In?

By lan Warner

Wondering what language The Bible was initially written in? The Bible was written in three different languages consisting of Hebrew, Greek, and the lesser-known Aramaic. 

The Bible was written in the ancient versions of these languages. A modern-day Greek would still struggle a bit with translation from the Bible. Some argue that the books would be entirely unrecognizable for many modern speakers. 

It's essential as a Christian to know what the books original languages are because of translation issues. There are many instances where a Greek word was used that does not have an English translation.

Language of The Old Testament 

The Israelites or God's Chosen People spoke Ancient Hebrew. Hebrew is a Semitic language that goes back to 1500 B.C. Hebrew was the sacred tongue of the Jews; its use as a typically spoken language decline once the Jews returned from exile.

The language went on to become Aramaic, and that became the daily language. Modern Hebrew has roots from Biblical Hebrew but has added in many other influences.

The Old Testament was eventually translated from Hebrew to Greek, and it was called the Septuagint. It was widely accepted and even used in many synagogues. Many early Christians were able to use this to preach the Gospel in people's native language.

Language of The New Testament 

The New Testament was not written in Hebrew. By the time the Gospels were written, the Jews had moved on from the language. Rome had moved on and conquered Greece, and the Greek culture spread through the empire.

Biblical Greek was written in common Greek, which is also called Koine. It was a language for both the rich and the poor, the educated and uneducated, which says a lot. 

From there, the word of God has gone to be translated into many different languages. A language that started with a small people group and now exists in over 2000 different ways. 

People often get caught up in the different versions and languages and use this to discredit the Bible, but it supports it. The Great Commission in Matthew 28 calls us to go and make disciples of all nations. It's hard to do that if all can't comprehend the Bible.

What Parts Were Written in Aramaic?

There are small portions of the Bible that have been written in Aramaic. 

  • Genesis 31
  • Ezra 4
  • Ezra 7 
  • Jeremiah 10

The language originated among the Arameans in northern Syria and became widely used under the Assyrians. Hebrew to Aramaic is like the modern relationship between Portuguese and Spanish. They are different languages but have a lot of commonalities as well.

It was a commonly spoken language when Jesus lived. Some of the Aramaic words were used in the new testament.

How Can This Help Christians? 

All of this is helpful for Christians today because it can help bring a more in-depth understanding of the Bible. By understanding Greek, you can see words for their original meaning. You can guess what the intention of a verse was on an even deeper level.

If there is ever a text that seems controversial, you can go to the Greek and see what authors like Paul and other New Testament writers were trying to say.

lan Warner

About the author

Ian Warner is a believer, husband, and father of three. He grew up running track in Toronto before earning a scholarship to Iowa State University. At Iowa State, he became an All-American and made the 2012 Olympic team. He currently helps people to build better habits and follow Jesus Christ.

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