Russian Bible History

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Russian Bible History

860 AD - Cyril and Methodius create the Russian written language for writing the Gospel and some books of the Bible.

1581 AD - Ostroh Bible. In different churches and monasteries of Rus there were separate books of the Bible, for the first time they were collected together. The language was obsolete by that time, but given how hard it was, it was easier to learn the oldest language than to rewrite it.

1876 ​​g. - comes out (after many ordeals) 1st Russian Bible, Bible in an understandable modern language. This translation is basic today. What is important is that the evangelical movement in Russia has now become possible.

1917 AD - Communists come to power forbidding the Bible, but eliminating illiteracy.

1987 AD - Communism has fallen. For the first time in history, Russia has the Bible in its modern native language, is able to read it and there are no prohibitions to it.

History in a simple way

Chirillus and Methodius

863 AD

Cyril (before the schema Constantine, nicknamed "The Philosopher,"[1] 827-869, Rome) and Methodius (815-885, Moravia) were missionary brothers from Thessaloniki.
They created the Slavic alphabet in a way that Russia had no written language.
And they made the first translations of a number of sacred books: the Gospel, the Apostle (Acts and Epistles of the Holy Apostles), the Psalms.

That is how the Word of God appeared in Russia.
It could not appear without writing.

Ostrog Bible

1581 AD

Published in Ostrog by the Russian first printer Ivan Fedorov.
It turns out that we have the entire Bible translated, but in no place is it put together.
We decided to correct this gap.

That's how the 1st Russian Bible came to be.
Only the language was already outdated and it was only read by priests.

Synodal Bible

1876 AD

Many tsars gave the command to make a translation of the Bible into what was then modern Russian.
It went something like this. The tsar would give the command and the translation would go.
The tsar died and his successor on the throne believed that this was an ecclesiastical matter and they would handle it without him.
Then the Orthodox Church stopped the translation.
The next king sees that the translation is not going, again gives the command and so on in a circle.

That's why translation took a long time. It was made by Russian Biblical Society established for this purpose.
The translation of the Old Testament was firstly made from Hebrew texts. Old Slavonic translations were made from Septuagint (Greek translation).
But the Russian Orthodox Church set the conditions to give preference to the Septuagint in case of a discrepancy between the Hebrew and Septuagint texts.
Well not to change the teachings of the church.

And here comes the first translation of the Bible in a language people can understand.
Only the country is illiterate.

But the country started an evangelical movement, which was impossible without the Bible.


1917 AD

The Communists eliminated illiteracy and taught almost everyone to read.
But ... They banned the Bible.

It wasn't until the end of the regime, in the years of perestroika, that the ban was lifted.

So for the first time in history we have a Bible in Russian and people can read it.
And so began the greatest revival in Russian history.

But the translation was pretty old (100-200 years ago) and archaic.
It was a bit difficult to read.

New Russian translations

2010-2015 AD

Since the beginning of Perestroika, attempts began to make modern Russian translations of the Bible.
Such a need was obvious.
A number of translations were quickly made that were not very successful or specific.
The Moscow Patriarchate and the "Light in the East" mission are producing new versions of the Synodal Bible, trying to straighten out the archaicities.

But it does little good, the Synodal Bible is still the only standard Bible and is still written in outdated Russian.

Then the world's leading RBOs and Bible societies put out 3 translations of the Bible into modern Russian at once with little difference.
Soon they all put out a 2nd edition, which made each one very good.

  • The modern translation of the Old Testament
    1996-2010 AD

    Russian Bible Society

  • The Holy Bible: A Modern Translation
    2014 AD

    Bible League

  • The Holy Bible, New Russian Translation
    2010 AD
    International Biblical Society Biblica

All were made from the best available Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible.
And the translations were made without regard to the old Septuagint translation.
By the way, these translations did not change any of the teachings.

So for the first time in history,

  • Russia had a translation of the Bible in modern Russian,
  • people can read,
  • and it is not forbidden, you can buy a Bible in a store, online, or get it for free in digital format.