There were neither bookstores nor downloadable Kindle apps for the earliest Christians to obtain their own copy of the Bible.
In fact, the first complete Bible was compiled almost 400 years after Jesus’ Resurrection. Until then, there only existed various versions (and parts) of the Gospels, letters of Saint Paul and other New Testament writings along with variant manuscripts of the Old Testament. These had been copied and shared between communities of believers, whether in Hebrew or Greek along with several different partial Latin translations.
In response to the obvious threat of textual corruption, Pope Damasus I commissioned Saint Jerome in 382 A.D. to study the Gospels and complete a new Latin translation (from available Greek manuscripts and Latin copies).
Soon thereafter, his task extended beyond the Gospels and some 16 years later resulted in an astonishing new Latin translation of (nearly) the entire Bible. Popularly known as the “Vulgate” (meaning “commonly used”), this biblical hallmark gave the Church and world a readable Latin equivalent while remaining faithful to the original.
Saint Jerome, pray for us!