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Translation Of Translations

While it is not obvious in all-English translations (the principle applies to all of the other languages, or "tongues," that the Holy Scriptures have been translated) in which a single language is used from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation, the books of the Bible were actually written in two languages - Hebrew for the Old Testament and Greek for the New Testament.

Greek was used for the New Testament primarily because it was the "world language" (much like English is today) at the time that the Gospel of the Messiah was being taken to the non-Hebrew "gentiles" (although, ironically, the Messianic line began with a righteous "gentile" from Iraq named Abraham; see Israel's Iraqi Roots). But while the New Testament was written mostly in Greek, Hebrew was still the language that was spoken by the people recorded in the New Testament. Unlike the single translation of the Old Testament (i.e. we read a translation of the original Hebrew to English), most of what we read in English in the New Testament has been translated twice i.e. the original Hebrew was translated into Greek, which was then translated into English.

"As His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath Day, and stood up for to read"

Shown below is a translated quote of Jesus Christ actually quoting the book of Isaiah. He spoke the words in Hebrew, as He read the Hebrew words in the Scroll (i.e. verses 18 and 19 below), which were then recorded in the New Testament in Greek, which were then translated into the English that we read.

The Holy Scriptures

"4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. 4:17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 4:19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

4:20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 4:21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." (Luke 4:16-21 KJV)

Was the translation from the Hebrew into the Greek accurate? Was the translation of the Greek into the English also accurate? Here are the verses that He read (keeping in mind that these were translated from Hebrew to English, so we are depending on their accuracy too), highlighted in red, as are the same verses as quoted above:

"61:1 The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 61:2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD" (Isaiah 61:1-2 KJV)

Do you see any slight differences? They are caused by translation, either from the Hebrew to the English, or from the Hebrew to the Greek to the English.

The New Testament is filled with such "quotes" from the Old Testament. Most Bibles identify (in footnotes) what verse is being quoted. In studying the Bible, it's always wise to read both.

Fact Finder: What does "speaking in tongues" mean?
See The Origin Of Speaking In Tongues


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