Let's look at the Bible from the perspective of Armenian history. When did the Armenians first come into contact with her?
The Christian faith in Armenia predates the text of the Bible. Apostolic missions brought Christianity to our country as early as the first century. According to early tradition, Christianity was first proclaimed in Armenia by St Tadeus and St Bartholomew, two of Jesus' twelve apostles. But up until the beginning of the fifth century, the monks and missionaries preached the gospel, reading from the Bible in Greek or Syriac, and translating these readings orally into Armenian. But this method of spreading the Word of God was discouraging and ineffective. Fourth- and fifth-century historians gave unenthusiastic testimonies about the situation of Christianity in Armenia. Although the people were baptized as Christians, these writers usually complained about the indifference and apathy of the populace. In fact, the new converts had not been led to a Christian life because they did not have direct access to God's Word in their own language. They knew about the Bible, but they didn't know the Bible. Christianity seemed to be something outside of their lives in their people and homeland - something imposed on them and alien to their innate cultural ethos.
In the words of a fifth-century historian, Pavstos of Byzantium:
"Day and night the monks poured out the Christian teachings on the population like a torrent of rain from the clouds, but not one of them, not a single one, could understand a word".
There was a kind of invisible but impenetrable screen between the Word of God and the populace. The Holy Scriptures were a foreign language in the ears of the Armenians, which found no direct route to their hearts and minds.
Under these circumstances, evangelization work could at best be a slow process with a discouraging effect on the ministers. Certainly there was no better means of accomplishing this task than to give the people direct access to the original writing of the Christian faith - the Holy Scriptures. A church without the Bible in the hands of its believers could not long stand or stand in the midst of a pagan world. The Armenian Church Fathers were acutely aware of the need for an Armenian translation of the Bible. But at that time no Armenian alphabet existed.
At the beginning of the 5th century, a cleric, Mesrop Maschtotz, a monk who devoted his missionary work to the remote provinces of Armenia, was able to develop an alphabet that was able to reproduce all the peculiarities of Armenian pronunciation. The great work of translating the Bible followed. The translation of the Scriptures produced a total transformation or transformation in the Armenians, the beneficial effects of which were felt not only in the fifth century but also in later centuries. All Armenian literature - and it would not be an exaggeration to say all Armenian culture - was deeply influenced, not only in a linguistic and literary way, but also and especially in a psychological, intellectual and spiritual way. In the words of a famous Armenian scholar, historian and Byzantinist Nikoghayos Adontz:
“The Latin Vulgate did not have the same importance to Latin countries as the Armenian Bible did to Armenians. Latin literature had existed long before the Vulgate appeared. The Armenian Bible, on the other hand, ushered in the beginning of a new era in which the Armenian people, by learning to use the pen for the first time, took their place in world civilization.”
Throughout classical Armenian literature one can see the influence of the Bible. She not only heralded the awakening of Armenian literature as such, but became the inspiration for the entire course of that literature for many centuries to come.
Most of the remaining Armenian manuscripts are either complete copies of the Bible or parts of the Bible as separate books - mainly the New Testament and the Psalms.