Bibles come in all shapes, sizes, and languages. Some are decorated in jewels and embellishments, others are simple and classic, not to outshine the words inside. The Bible is the number one best selling book in history. It has been banned the most, burned the most, and debated the most. It is the book of the American foundation, and the guideline that directed the founding forefathers as they forged this great nation.
There are over 50 different versions of the Bible in English alone. The King James version, written in 1611, uses language of its time, while newer versions of the 19th and 20th centuries use updated phrases that avoid such antiquated terminology. The most notable jump in transcribed versions would post-date America’s secession from Britain, when Britain ceased to import goods, textiles, and English Bibles. When America became a nation of her own, Robert Aitken, an independent congressional printer, went to work to complete the first English Bible printed in America.
Known as the Aitken Bible, this first American version is the only version officially authorized by the Continental Congress when Charles Thomson, the first Secretary of the Continental Congress, as well as one of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence, signed off on production. Museum of the Bible is privileged to have two 1782 Aitken Bibles, and a 1777 Aitken New Testament, one of only two known copies to exist. In order to see these fascinating artifacts from American history, be sure to stop by the Impact floor and see them in the Bible in America exhibit.