Bible in America

The earliest English colonists to America brought with them the Geneva Bible as well as the Bishops Bible and Great Bible. However, by the 18th century, the King James Version had become the most read Bible in America
and continued to be favored until the end of the 20th century. Though most of the American Bibles on display are the King James Version, each has its own interesting story reflecting the Bible’s influence on American life and culture.

The large mural of “The Bible Throughout American History” displays historical figures in American history, from Christopher Columbus through the present day, along with specific Scriptures important to them.

Lunar Bible, 1971

The smallest Bible in the Dunham’s collection is a microfilmed Bible taken to the Moon and back by Apollo 14 in February 1971.  This is one of 101 copies taken to the moon by Astronaut Edgar Mitchell during his nine hour and seventeen minute moonwalk.  The microfilm Bible contains all 1,245 pages of the King James Bible edition 715 published by World Publishing.  It can be read with 200x magnification.  Members of the Apollo Prayer League commissioned the special first lunar Bible.  Bible Societies in 57 different countries united in participating in this project, as well as commercial Bible publishers.

This was not the first time the Bible was in space, however. Apollo 8 was the first manned mission to orbit the Moon. On Christmas Eve, 1968, Apollo 8’s crew of Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and William Anders sent a message to “all the people on Earth.” In a live television broadcast, they showed photos of the earth and moon as they read the first ten verses of Genesis, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters he called Seas: and God saw that it was good.”


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