The Journey from Texts to Translations

The Origin and Development of the Bible

Cover Art Request Exam Copy

Where to Purchase

More Options


"A virtual treasure trove of information. Wegner is an expert guide through the maze of information on Bible origins and development."--Tremper Longman III, Westmont College

This comprehensive volume fills the pressing need for a thorough, accessible, and up-to-date general introduction to the Bible. Paul Wegner's work will familiarize students with the many significant issues involved in the writing, collection, canonization, transmission, and translation of the Scriptures. Keeping in mind the needs of the introductory-level student and lay reader, Wegner admirably avoids or defines the sometimes difficult language and terminology that limit the usefulness of more technical studies.

The work is divided into sections that are logically and clearly arranged, tracing the development of both the Old and New Testaments. Throughout the book the author addresses fundamental questions relevant to all serious readers of the Bible. Part 1 considers the doctrines of revelation and inspiration, the general contents of the two Testaments, and the relationship between the old and new covenants. In Part 2, Wegner deals with the historical processes behind the gathering of the texts and considers the factors that influenced both the Jewish and Christian communities as they settled the question of canonicity. Part 3 considers the practical issues involved in the transmission of the biblical text and provides a basic introduction to textual criticism and the comparing of manuscripts with divergent readings. Part 4 surveys early translations of the Hebrew and Greek texts, such as early Syriac, Coptic, and Latin versions of the Bible. Part 5 presents a detailed study of English versions, including the many translations and paraphrases that have been produced in recent years. This final section will be particularly helpful to students trying to make sense of the sometimes heated debates over modern translations that have divided evangelical Christians and will help them make informed decisions about which Bible version is best for them.

Throughout the book students will find useful charts that summarize the material, compare divergent positions on disputed questions, or reinforce significant points. Numerous historical and archaeological photos and illustrations enrich the text. Each chapter concludes with a bibliography to guide the reader to more detailed studies of specific topics. Wegner's volume will be particularly useful for college and introductory-level seminary classes that introduce students to the history and transmission of the Scriptures, but it is also a work that interested lay readers will find accessible and educational.


"The Journey from Texts to Translations: The Origin and Development of the Bible, takes you on a journey from the original texts to the most recent English versions. This journey begins with the ancient Hebrew texts of the Old Testament and Greek of both testaments (including the exciting Dead Sea Scroll discoveries at Qumran and New Testament discoveries in Egypt), to the making of many translations--especially in English. Take the journey; Wegner's book is an excellent travel guide."--Philip W. Comfort, professor of Greek and New Testament at Trinity Episcopal Seminary, visiting professor at Wheaton College, and senior editor of Bible reference at Tyndale House Publishers

"When it comes to books on the Bible, students are often forced to choose between technical systematic theology or detailed commentaries; a good book on the Bible as Bible is hard to find. Further, what students often look for are 'facts' about the Bible (how it came into being, how books were selected, how the manuscripts fared, and how the translations were undertaken) and this book admirably provides the kind of facts students need. Charts are abundant, tables everywhere, and the text clearly written and clarifyingly illustrated. This is a delightful book which will serve generations to come."--Scot McKnight, Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies, North Park University

"Have you ever wondered about the origins of your Bible or how it relates to other Bibles out there in the marketplace? Have you ever raised the questions why our Bible contains the books it does? Paul Wegner's The Journey from Texts to Translations is a virtual treasure trove of information on these and similar questions. He is an expert guide through the maze of information on Bible origins and development."--Tremper Longman, Professor of Old Testament, Westamont College

The Author

  1. Paul D. Wegner

    Paul D. Wegner

    Paul D. Wegner (Ph.D., King's College, University of London) is professor of Old Testament at Phoenix Seminary, Scottsdale, Arizona.

    Continue reading about Paul D. Wegner


"This is the best and most readable discussion of the origins of the Bible I have ever seen anywhere. . . . It is hard for me to overemphasize the value and significance of this book. It is a wonderful reference as well as an excellent textbook for a course in the history of the Bible."--Paul C. Boling, Christian Library Journal

"This excellent survey of English translations will serve readers of many levels and interests as a useful reference."--Michael W. Holmes, Religious Studies Review

"The strengths of this work are many and obvious."--Southern Baptist Journal of Theology

"There have been many books published about the history of the Bible, and Paul Wegner has created a resource that all layen, students and professors should have in their libraries."--Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin

"I was pleased with the even-handed manner in which controversial matters were recognized. . . . This book is unusual for its many tables or charts which strikingly highlight a wide variety of features involved in the journey from texts to translations."--Gerald C. Studer, Bible Editions & Versions

"Wegner shows the amazing journey and origin of the Bible and deals with textual criticism, early versions and translations of the Bible, canonical issues and then offers a detailed treatise on the different English translations available today. This is a must read for any interested in the history and development of the Bible."

"I've been wanting to teach a 'How We Got the Bible' class at my church for a while. I have a good outline, but I had trouble finding a book for the class. I looked at a number of good books on the subject, but most were not comprehensive, and the ones that were comprehensive were either too long or were written for seminary or graduate students. I had resigned myself to using at least three books in order to cover everything I wanted to cover, and to do it at a level that the average person would comprehend. Then a copy of Paul Wegner's The Journey from Text to Translations landed on my desk. I quickly discovered that this was the one book on the history of the Bible for which I'd been searching. Wegner's coverage is more than comprehensive, from the materials used in writing the books of the Bible, to the transmission and translation of the Bible throughout history, to a very thorough discussion of modern English translations, including advice on how to choose a translation. The writing is clear and concise, and the book is profusely illustrated with tables, charts, and photographs of manuscripts and early versions of the Bible. In short, I believe [it] is the perfect introductory book on how we got the Bible. This is the one history of the Bible to have on your shelves."--Kenneth Kirksey, Singing News

"A highly detailed explanation of how the Bible that Christians use today came to be in its present form. . . . Black-and-white photographs illustrate this extensive and fascinating documentation, as informative and compelling for lay readers as for professional scholars."--John Taylor, Midwest Book Review

"The book is a mine of information, well written and very clearly laid out, and enhanced with a generous supply of figures, maps and tables. It is geared towards the beginning student rather than the scholarly community. . . . Anyone wanting a first orientation and a good exposure to the main information base will be well served."--John Nolland, Journal for the Study of the New Testament

"It was with eager anticipation that I began reading Wegner's volume and I was not disappointed. Well-written, well-organized and concisely stated, his presentation is a readable and fairly comprehensive introduction to a whole host of inter-related topics. . . . Wegner's book is made even more attractive and useful by the plentiful presence of reproductions of early manuscripts and printed versions of Scripture, maps, pictures of important archeological artifacts and many, many charts and diagrams that conveniently summarize the author's prose descriptions and contain a plethora of useful information. . . . There is no question that [Wegner] has produced a work that is exceedingly useful. The book is a mine of information for both students and teachers of Scripture and anyone who spends time with it will be stimulated, informed and made more appreciative of those who have done the difficult and often thankless job of producing vernacular Scriptures for God's people throughout the ages."--Mark Hepner, Ashland Theological Journal

"[An] outstanding work. . . . It is very informative, and wonderfully supplemented with hundreds of pictures, drawings, charts, and tables. It is highly recommended for those interested in this subject matter."--Conservative Theological Journal

"[This] survey is largely factual, primarily for undergraduates, with illustrations and tables, and it is packed with information."--Geoffrey Turner, Heythrop Journal