# 11: So, You Think You Know Your Bible
History has told us the Bible was written and rewritten by what we call scribes. But it wasn’t until the Gutenberg Bible before what the scribes first wrote in the Vulgate were put into an order of semblance that made sense to any reader.
But as you read further, you will find out that portions of the Vulgate, or what I consider to be important Biblical history have been omitted.
And no, before you ask, I am not a biblical scholar, but there are certain things I find interesting.
This famous edition of the Vulgate was published in 1455. Like the manuscripts on which it was based, the Gutenberg Bible lacks a specific Apocrypha section. Its Old Testament includes the books that Jerome considered apocryphal and those Clement VIII later moved to the appendix. The Prayer of Manasseh is located after the Books of Chronicles, 3 and 4 Esdras follow 2 Esdras (Nehemiah), and Prayer of Solomon follows Ecclesiasticus.
The Gutenberg Bible pictured above (also known as the 42-line Bible, the Mazarin Bible or the B42), was the first foremost book published with movable type in the West. It assessed the start of the “Gutenberg transformation” and the age of the printed book in the West. broadly applauded for its high aesthetic and creative qualities, the publication has an iconic status. Written in Latin, the Gutenberg Bible is an version of the Vulgate, printed by Johannes Gutenberg, in Mainz, Germany, in the 1450s. Forty-eight exact replicates, or considerable portions of exact replicates, survive, and they are advised to be among the most valuable publications in the world, even though a entire copy has not been sold since 1978. The 36-line Bible, believed to be the second published version of the Bible, is also occasionally mentioned to as a Gutenberg Bible.
Martin Luther translated the Bible into German during the early part of the 16th century, first releasing a complete Bible in 1534. His Bible was the first major edition to have a separate section called Apocrypha. Books and portions of books not found in the Masoretic Text of Judaism were moved out of the body of the Old Testament to this section. Luther placed these books between the Old and New Testaments. For this reason, these works are sometimes known as inter-testament books. The books 1 and 2 Esdras were omitted entirely. Luther was making a polemical point about the canonicity of these books. As an authority for this division, he cited St. Jerome, who in the early 5th century distinguished the Hebrew and Greek Old Testaments, stating that books not found in the Hebrew were not received as canonical. Although his statement was controversial in his day, Jerome was later titled a Doctor of the Church and his authority was also cited in the Anglican statement in 1571 of the Thirty-Nine Articles.
Luther also expressed some doubts about the canonicity of four New Testament books, although he never called them apocrypha: the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Epistles of James and Jude, and the Revelation to John. He did not put them in a separately named section, but he did move them to the end of his New Testament.
In 1592, Pope Clement VIII published his revised edition of the Vulgate, referred to as the Sixto-Clementine Vulgate. He moved three books not found in the canon of the Council of Trent from the Old Testament into an appendix “lest they utterly perish.”
Prayer of Manasseh
3 Esdras (1 Esdras in the King James Bible)
4 Esdras (2 Esdras in the King James Bible
The protocanonical and deuterocanonical books he placed in their traditional positions in the Old Testament.
King James Version
The English-language King James Version (KJV) of 1611 followed the lead of the Luther Bible in using an inter-testament section labelled “Books called Apocrypha”, or just “Apocrypha” at the running page header. The KJV followed the Geneva Bible of 1560 almost exactly, although it eliminated the variations below.
1 Esdras (Vulgate 3 Esdras)
2 Esdras (Vulgate 4 Esdras)
Judith (”Judeth” in Geneva)
Rest of Esther (Vulgate Esther 10:4 – 16:24)
Ecclesiasticus (also known as Sirach)
Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremy (”Jeremiah” in Geneva) (all part of Vulgate Baruch)
Song of the Three Children (Vulgate Daniel 3:24–90)
Story of Susanna (Vulgate Daniel 13)
The Idol Bel and the Dragon (Vulgate Daniel 14)
Prayer of Manasseh (Daniel)
This tells you there are aspects of what happened that are lost to time that for any layperson could question the Bible’s validity beyond that of a religious aspect.
Of course there have been other Bibles since King James and I present just two as there are actually over 400 throughout the world. (If you want a complete list ask me and I will send it to you.)
The New American Standard Bible (NASB) is a literal translation from the original texts, well suited to study because of its accurate rendering of the source texts. It follows the style of the King James Version but uses modern English for words that have fallen out of use or changed their meanings. It holds the reputation for being the “most accurate” Bible translation in English. This translation was first published in 1963, with the most recent edition being published in 1995.
Considered to be the most exact translation is The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (NWT) is a translation of the Bible published by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.
So, the next time you open your Bible to read a passage or scripture you feel is vital for your personal well-being, ask yourself this question … “What am I missing here?”