Translations of the Holy Bible were the most important Coptic literary form. Translations from Greek were made as early as the second century AD. These early translations were the most accurate as they were carried out by individuals highly versed in both the Greek and Coptic languages.
By the fourth or fifth century AD, the Bible was translated into both the Bohairic and Sahidic dialects, while sections of it were translated into the Ichmimic and the Fayyumic dialects. The lives of the saints were also important religious texts. The numerous stories describe the lives and struggles of martyrs, monks, ascetics, and some of the church's patriarchs and bishops. These stories were recounted in a profound and moving literary style with the result that many of those who heard them were recruited into monastic orders and sought to go down the path of virtue.
The style of these stories aimed at bringing the virtuous qualities of these saints to life in an evocative and moving manner. Some religious stories were told with a degree of imagination, such as the story of the Queen of Sheba and her meeting with King Solomon or the story of King John and the chief monk. Other stories were of a more patriotic nature in which the Copts expressed a nationalistic fervor that had been repressed under the yoke of occupation.
Among these stories is that of Alexander the Great, which was found translated into Sahidic dialect in al-Dayr al-Abyad, and that of Cambyses and the Persian invasion of Egypt.
Many of these stories are in no way related to religion or to scripture. Another example is the story of Theodosius and Dionysius.