Bible, The the sacred writings of Judaism and christianity, a term used since the 4th century to denote the Christian scriptures. The Bible consists of two main parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament, originally written in Hebrew and recognised by both Jews and Christians, consists of 39 books. The New Testament, which contains the story of jesus Christ and his teachings, consists of 27 books. Each book has a different name and is made up of chapters and verses. Thus, Mark 2:12 refers to the Book of Mark, chapter 2, verse 12. The Apocrypha refers to certain parts of the Bible found in the Greek and Latin translations of the Old Testament but not in the original Hebrew. The Roman Catholic Church (headed by the Pope) and the Orthodox Eastern Church (mainly in the Middle East and Eastern Europe) include the Apocrypha as part of the Bible, which then consists of 73 books. The Bible is perhaps the most translated book in the world.
The Portuguese introduced the Bible and the Christian religion into Bengal. Portuguese Jesuits rendered parts of the Bible into the Indian vernaculars, including Bangla. But the most systematic translation of the complete Bible into Bangla was made by william carey of the serampore mission in 1799. Interestingly, the Bangla Bible was one of the earliest books written in Bangla prose. The Bible also influenced most school text books as these were originally written by Christian missionaries. The trend of inserting biblical messages in text books continued to the end of the 19th century, after which, under the influence of the Hindu and Muslim reform movements, biblical contents in text books began to wane. Numerous missionary organisations like the Christian Missionary Society, Baptist Missionary Society, London Missionary Society, Bible Society, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge and others used to distribute copies of the Bible either free or at a nominal price. Most Bengali Christians read the Bible in Bangla. Bangladesh Television and Radio start the day with recitations from the scriptures, with the Bible being read on Sundays. [Selmon H Dio]