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essential guide to bible versions

This section serves as a guide to the English Bible and English Bible translations. This guide should help you understand key points on some history about important ancient manuscripts and significant English translations that have been made throughout history. The book, by Philip Comfort, Ph.D., can also guide you in your selection of Bible versions and give you direction in using each one. View each of the PDFs by clicking on the links below.

what are the differences in bible versions? do they matter?
where does the bible text come from?
how are bible translations made?
essential guide glossary

This tool will help you understand terms and words used within this reference.
Select a letter below to view all the associated words.

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
paleography:
The study of ancient handwriting.
paleo-Hebrew script:
An archaic style of writing the Hebrew alphabet. See also square script.
palimpsest:
An animal skin manuscript on which the original writing was later scraped off and replaced with a newer text; very often the older manuscript is much more valuable and can be recovered as an important textual witness.
papyrology:
The study of ancient papyrus manuscripts.
papyrus:
A manuscript writing surface prepared from strips of papyrus reed pounded to make a flat surface.
parchment:
A manuscript writing surface prepared from animal skins that have had the hair removed and have been rubbed smooth.
Pentateuch:
The first five books of the Old Testament (literally, "five in a case"--that is, five scrolls kept together in a box), consisting of the law of Moses; also called the Torah.
Peshitta:
The Syriac version of the Old and New Testaments, which became the common Scriptural text for the Syriac church.
proto-Alexandrian manuscript:
A New Testament manuscript that pre-dates the Alexandrian manuscripts but appears to have been used in composing those later manuscripts.
proto-Masoretic manuscript:
An Old Testament manuscript which pre-dates the Masoretic manuscripts but appears to have been used in composing those later manuscripts.
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“The NLT second edition communicates the truth of the Gospel in a clear, understandable way that can help bring spiritual seeking people across the line of faith.”

Bill Hybels
Willow Creek Community Church
South Barrington, Illinois

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