The early church read a Greek translation of the Old Testament called the Septuagint. The early church opted for this version rather than a Hebrew version of the Old Testament which was based on what was called the Masoretic Text. Masoretes (7th – 10 century CE) were a group who standardized the Hebrew text. The problem with standardization is that it gives one the impression that manuscript and textual considerations have never been made. Standardization produces a so-called authoritative text, erasing diversity. Textual history is essential to remember.
Interestingly, there are some notable differences between the Septuagint version of the Old Testament and the Masoretic version of the Old Testament.
“Whereas the Hebrew Bible has preserved just one version of the Book of Ezra, the Septuagint contains two versions, each one with its own literary shape.“ (The Earliest Test of the Hebrew Bible: The Relationship between the Masoretic Text and the Hebrew Base of the Septuagint Reconsidered, ed. Adrian Schenker, p 36)
The Greek translation of Ezekiel is notably shorter than the Masoretic Text. ( p 84)
Jeremiah in the Septuagint is 15% shorter than the Masoretic Text in its number of words, verses, and periscopes, and is sometimes arranged differently. (p. 126)
The Septuagint of Ezekiel is 4 – 5 percent shorter than the Mastoretic Text and in one case (7:3-9) the arrangement of the two editions differed much, involving new ideas.
The Septuagint of 1 Samuel 16-18 is significantly shorter than the Masoretic Text by some 45% and apparently represents one version of the story of David and Goliath, to which a second one, with different tendencies, was juxtaposed in the edition of the Masoretic Text. (p. 126)
The list of inhabitants of Jerusalem in the Septuagint of Nehemiah 11 is considerably shorter than in the Masoretic Text. (p. 127)
The edition of Joshua in the Septuagint differs in several ways from the Masoretic Text. In some segments, the Septuagint is shorter and in other segments it is longer, and in yet other periscopes different details are found. (p. 127)
1 – 2 Kings displays extensive chronological differences between the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint with regard to synchronisms and the counting of the years of the divided monarchy. (p. 127)
The Septuagint text of Chronicles is sometimes shorter, while in one case it adds elements. (p. 128)
The Septuagint Esther presents large additions as well as many smaller, but still sizeable omissions, inversion, and changes. (p. 130)
The Septuagint Psalms differs with the inclusion of Psalm 151 and the combining of some Psalms differently from the Masoretic Text. (p. 131)
The illusion that we were provided with one Bible is a grand illusion. Really it is a big lie.