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Latin was the language of the ancient Roman empire (see Ancient Empires - Rome), and so naturally became the language of the Roman Catholic Church that was created from and within it (Roman emperors, such as Constantine, made Roman Catholicism the official religion of the Roman empire, and in order to keep Christians from, as it was decreed, "Judaizing" on the seventh day of the week, as Christians had been properly doing for centuries, he in effect banned the Fourth Commandment in 321 AD, replacing it with the enforced observance of Sunday, the day of the Roman / Babylonian sun god Sol - from which we also get the word solar). The Bible has about two dozen Latin military and governmental words that have been translated into the original Greek of the New Testament.

Roman Cathedral In 382, Pope Damasus commissioned Jerome, a prominent Roman church scholar of the day, to produce a new Latin version of the Bible from the various translations then in existence. The result was the Latin Vulgate, one of the most well-known Latin versions ever done. With various revisions made over the centuries, it eventually became the official Bible of the Roman Catholic Church.

Although most of us cannot understand Latin, it can still be interesting to compare some well-known English-translation verses of the Bible with the corresponding words in the Latin Vulgate. Some examples:

Exodus 20:4-5

"You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them" (RSV)

"non facies tibi sculptile neque omnem similitudinem quae est in caelo desuper et quae in terra deorsum nec eorum quae sunt in aquis sub terra non adorabis ea neque coles ego sum Dominus Deus tuus fortis zelotes visitans iniquitatem patrum in filiis in tertiam et quartam generationem eorum qui oderunt me" (Latin Vulgate)

Exodus 20:8-10

"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a Sabbath to The Lord your God" (RSV)

"memento ut diem sabbati sanctifices sex diebus operaberis et facies omnia opera tua septimo autem die sabbati Domini Dei tui non facies omne opus tu et filius tuus et filia tua servus tuus et ancilla tua iumentum tuum et advena qui est intra portas tuas" (Latin Vulgate)

Matthew 23:9

"And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, Who is in heaven." (RSV)

"et patrem nolite vocare vobis super terram unus enim est Pater vester qui in caelis est" (Latin Vulgate)

Revelation 13:16-18

"Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let him who has understanding reckon the number of the beast, for it is a human number, its number is six hundred and sixty-six." (RSV)

"et faciet omnes pusillos et magnos et divites et pauperes et liberos et servos habere caracter in dextera manu aut in frontibus suis et ne quis possit emere aut vendere nisi qui habet caracter nomen bestiae aut numerum nominis eius hic sapientia est qui habet intellectum conputet numerum bestiae numerus enim hominis est et numerus eius est sescenti sexaginta sex" (Latin Vulgate)

1 Timothy 4:1-3

"Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, through the pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth." (RSV)

"Spiritus autem manifeste dicit quia in novissimis temporibus discedent quidam a fide adtendentes spiritibus erroris et doctrinis daemoniorum in hypocrisi loquentium mendacium et cauteriatam habentium suam conscientiam prohibentium nubere abstinere a cibis quos Deus creavit ad percipiendum cum gratiarum actione fidelibus et his qui cognoverunt veritatem" (Latin Vulgate)

Revelation 17:3-6

"I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and bedecked with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her fornication; and on her forehead was written a name of mystery: "Babylon the great, mother of harlots and of earth's abominations." And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus." (RSV)

"et abstulit me in desertum in spiritu et vidi mulierem sedentem super bestiam coccineam plenam nominibus blasphemiae habentem capita septem et cornua decem et mulier erat circumdata purpura et coccino et inaurata auro et lapide pretioso et margaritis habens poculum aureum in manu sua plenum abominationum et inmunditia fornicationis eius et in fronte eius nomen scriptum mysterium Babylon magna mater fornicationum et abominationum terrae et vidi mulierem ebriam de sanguine sanctorum et de sanguine martyrum Iesu et miratus sum cum vidissem illam admiratione magna" (Latin Vulgate)

Revelation 19:20

"And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had worked the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulphur." (RSV)

"et adprehensa est bestia et cum illo pseudopropheta qui fecit signa coram ipso quibus seduxit eos qui acceperunt caracterem bestiae qui et adorant imaginem eius vivi missi sunt hii duo in stagnum ignis ardentis sulphure" (Latin Vulgate)

Fact Finder: Was Latin one of the 3 languages that were written on the sign above Jesus Christ as He was crucified?
John 19:19-20

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