The early bibles had to be copied by hand in manuscript form, since there was no printing press until the 15th century. The classic Bible of the middle ages was the 4th century Latin Vulgate translation of St. Jerome. The first book ever printed in the 15th century was the Latin Bible. In the 16th century, the various translations began to appear, the most famous being the German New Testament translation of Martin Luther. The English, under King James I (1603-1625) decided to set up a committee to translate the Bible into Elizabethan English. They finished their task in 1611. The King James Bible became the only authorized Bible in the English language and has dominated the American religious scene, because of its use among the American Puritans. The Roman Catholics produced an English Douay-Rheims translation of the Bible in France about the same, in 1609-1610.
In his Easter letter of 367 CE, Athanasius, the bishop of Alexandria, gave a list of the books that would become the 27 book New Testament canon. He actually used the word canonized, (κανονιζόμενα). The first council that accepted the present canon of the New Testament may have been the Synod of Hippo Regius in North Africa in 393 CE. In 397 CE and 419 CE, the Councils of Carthage, also in North Africa, accepted this canonical 27 number of books. These North African councils were under the authority of St. Augustine (354-430 CE), who regarded the canon as already closed. Pope Damasus I (366-384 CE) in the Council of Rome in 382 CE, issued the same biblical canon. This same Pope Damasus I commissioned St. Jerome (347-420 CE) to translate and produce the Latin Vulgate edition of the Bible around 383 CE. Thus, the fixation of the canon in the West was complete at the end of the 4th century CE.
Although many believe that the English translation of the King James Version of the Bible is inspired, the actual inspired words of the Bible were written in Hebrew and Greek. The King James Version of the Bible was the dominant standard translation in the English-speaking world for nearly four centuries, since no other English translations were allowed. The Vulgate Latin translation of St. Jerome in the fourth century remained the dominant normative translation of the original Hebrew and Greek texts for over a thousand years during the European Middle Ages. As there was no printing press, the only way to duplicate the Bible was by hand.