Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 1, 1956

A Brief History Of The Bible - (V)

Luther W. Martin, Rolla, Missouri

The Manuscripts Of The Bible

Between the years 1844 and 1859, L.F.C. Tishendorf located the finest manuscript now known, of the New Testament. This work contained twenty-six books of the Old Testament, along with the New Testament complete. It dates from the fourth century, and very favorably compares with the texts of the Greek manuscripts known for several centuries. This manuscript was never in the hands of the Roman Church. It has been named, Codex Siniaticus, inasmuch as it was found in the Convent of St. Catharine, operated by the Eastern Church, at the foot of Mt. Sinai. This manuscript is preserved at London, England.

Another manuscript now available to scholars is the Codex Alexandrinus, which was presented to King Charles the First, of England, by Cyril Lucar, Patriarch of Constantinople, in the year 1628. Although not complete, it contains the greater part of the. New Testament. It has never been in possession of the Roman Church.

There are a total of 114 uncial (capital) manuscripts known, dating from the 4th to the 10th centuries. These also range from fragments to the complete text of the New Testament.

Besides the uncial manuscripts, there are known to be some 1,200 copies of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, in the cursive form of writing. There are known to be over 950 cursive manuscripts of the New Testament epistles. For Acts and the general Epistles, there are about 400 cursive writings. For the letters of Paul, there are about 500 cursive manuscripts. And, for the Book of Revelation, there are some 180 cursive writings.

Popular English Or American Bibles Since 1611 A.D.

The English Revised Version of the Bible was published in the 1880's. The New Testament in 1881 and the Old Testament in 1885. Both American and English scholars participated in this work.

In 1901 the American Revised Version was published. Also called the American Standard Version.

The Revised Standard Version of the New Testament was published in 1946, and the Old Testament of that work in 1952.

Other relatively modern versions and translations in English include: The 20th Century New Testament, with editions published from 1898 through 1904. This work is based upon the Greek text of Westcott & Hort. The New Testament, An American Translation, by Edgar J. Goodspeed, 1923, who also followed the Greek text of Westcott & Hort. The New Testament, A New Translation, by James Moffatt, 1922, who used von Soden's Greek text as a standard.


This treatise started out to be "A Brief History of the Bible," although I find that I may have become other than brief. It is my firm conviction that even a slight study of historical works dealing with the evolution of texts and languages, will be sufficient to convince the unbiased student, that the present American and English translations of the Bible are accurate and correct . . . . being in truth, the word of God. That, further, noncatholics are not in the least dependent upon the Roman Church for any translation of English Bibles in use today.


For the material copied into this article, I am indebted to the following works:

  1. Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, published 1910;
  2. Horne's Introduction To the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, published 1856;
  3. Gisborne's Survey, published 1800;
  4. Green's History of the English People, published 1889;
  5. Origin and Inspiration of the Bible, by L. Gaussen;
  6. Origin and History of the New Testament, by James Martin, published 1882;
  7. Introduction To the Study of the Holy Scriptures, by Henry M. Harman, published 1881;
  8. The Ancient Church, by M. D. Killen, published 1859;
  9. Jones' Church History, published 1831;
  10. Neander's History of the Christian Religion and Church, published 1881;
  11. History of the Christian Church, by Philip Schaff, published 1883;
  12. History of the Christian Church, by W. M. Blackburn, published 1879;
  13. History of the Christian Church, by Dr. Charles Hase, published 1855;
  14. History of the Church of Christ, by Joseph Milner, published 1835;
  15. Works of Flavius Josephus, Translated by William Whiston: Popular and Critical Bible Encyclopedia, published 1902;
  16. And, last but most important, the Bible.