“The Bible of the Revolution”


Shelby G. Floyd

Previous to the American Revolution, England was burdened with debt from all the wars they had been fighting in Europe. They levied taxes on the Colonies on all documents—The Stamp Act and of course The Tea Tax that was so onerous to the Colonies.

During this period England would not allow the Colonies to print the Bible. They had to be imported from England—another way to raise revenue for the Mother country. When the Colonies declared Independence, and engaged the British in the Revolutionary war, England refused to export any Bibles to America. Since the Pilgrims, Puritans, and the Colonists based many of their governing principles and their manner of life on the Bible, this famine of the word of God would not stand.

To remedy this need for the word of God, Robert Aitken, a printer in Philadelphia printed and published the New Testament in 1777. Then in early 1781 he petitioned Congress to publish the entire Bible.

Congress gave Robert Aitken approval to print the entire Bible September 12, 1782, and he printed this approval in the “Bible of the Revolution” as it known today. The Congressional approval reads:

“Resolved, That the United States in Congress assembled highly approve the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aiken [sic], as subservient to the interests of religion, as well an instance of the progress of arts in this country, and … they recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States, and hereby authorize him to publish this recommendation in the manner he shall think proper. Cha. Thomson, Secy.”

George Washington, our founding father, was so impressed with the “Bible of the Revolution” published by Aitken, that he regretted that his Revolutionary Army had been disbanded before he could give each soldier a copy to express his gratitude for their great sacrifice.

Our great country was founded and rooted in the English Bible. And the church of the Lord Jesus Christ that was established in America was also founded and rooted in the English Bible.

Many of the problems of the country and the church can be traced to an apostasy from the word of God. Concerning the power of the word of God the writer of Hebrews says,

Hebrews 4:12-13
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

Let all of us return to “the old paths” (Jeremiah 6:16) where is the good way!

Copyright © 2012 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

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