I’m aware that the KJV was written around 1611 but I am curious as to when the Bible was first translated from ancient Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic into English?


The Old and New Testaments were first translated into English (actually Middle English) by the priest/scholar Wyclyffe in the 1380s.  However, this translation was from the Latin Vulgate, not from the original languages.  The first nearly complete translation of the Old and New Testaments from the original languages was done by William Tyndale.  Tyndale was inspired by the Protestant reformers, especially Martin Luther.  He translated from the available Greek New Testament of Erasmus and from the Masoretic Hebrew text.  The books were published individually over several years.  His New Testament was completed in 1526.  The Pentateuch was completed in 1530.  Tyndale also translated, Jonah (published 1531).  He later translated Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles, but these translations were never published.  Was Tyndale hailed for his work?  Surely he was appreciated by some, but the established church of the day definitely did not appreciate Tyndale giving the Bible to the common people.  He was hounded and went into hiding.  Finally he was betrayed, arrested and martyred in 1536.  Such attempts to keep the Bible in English from the hands of the people were ultimately unfruitful.   A complete translation of the entire scripture known as the Coverdale Bible, based to a very large extent on the work of Tyndale, was published in 1535.  A number of other translations were completed before the King James or "Authorized" version was published in 1611.  These include "The Great Bible" (1539) the Geneva Bible (1560) and The Bishop’s Bible (1568) are examples.  The King James translation was based largely on the work of William Tyndale.
John Oakes

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