As we noted in yesterday’s devotion, Latin was the official language of the Roman Empire. Therefore, a translation of the Bible into Latin became of paramount importance to the western Roman Empire. As a result, Pope Damasus, in the year 382 AD, commissioned his secretary Jerome, an eminent scholar and grammarian, to undertake the important task of translating the Bible into Latin.

Not long after being commissioned by the pope for so important a task, Jerome went to Bethlehem to examine the most ancient manuscripts he could find of the sacred Scriptures. After almost twenty years of tedious and difficult labor, Jerome finished his assigned task around 400 AD. His translation became known as the “Vulgate,” which means “common,” because it was a translation of the Bible into the language of the common people. For more than 1,000 years, Jerome’s Latin Vulgate reigned supreme, as both the most popular translation of the Bible in the world and the official Bible of the Roman Catholic Church.