“In what language were the Scriptures written at the time of Jesus?” This question came up in the DTS recently, during the Apologetics class, and we looked at the answer last week.
During the intertestamental period (400BC to 0AD) the Jewish Scriptures were translated from Hebrew into Greek, and we call this translation the ‘Septuagint’ (from the latin word for seventy, septuaginta). There are different theories for why this translation was undertaken, but what we do know was that the Greek language was fast becoming a widespread language during the expansion of the Roman Empire.
So when Jesus came along we find that the Jewish leaders, and the Temple, were using the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Old Testament Scriptures to teach from. When we see Jesus quoting the Old Testament (e.g. Matthew 4:4) he would have been quoting in Greek. Also, the writers of the New Testament were all writing in Greek (albeit in different forms) and would use the Greek translation of the Old Testament when making reference to or quoting from it.
The ESV Study Bible has offered an online trial version of their complete Bible for the month of March. Along with a stellar reference Bible there are several great articles. Two articles of use here are: