Who printed the first Bible in the United States?

My Pondering

Our founding father believed the Holy Bible was essential and instrumental to the nation’s well being.

Three years prior, the Congress ordered 20,000 copies to be imported as there was a shortage due to the English blockades.

Here is their official proclamation:

THAT the United States in Congress assembled highly approve the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aitken, as subservient to the interest of religion, as well as an instance of the progress of arts in this country, and being satisfied from the above report of his care and accuracy in the execution of the work, 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.

12. Journals of the Continental Congress (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1907), Vol. XIII, p. 574, September 12, 1782; The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments (Philadelphia: Robert Aitken, 1782).

According to historian David Barton:

Robert Aitken then proceeded to print his Bible, now known as the Aitken Bible or the Bible of the Revolution. That Bible – approved by the Founding Fathers in Congress – was the first English-language Bible to be printed in America. 13Records show that of the 10,000 originally printed by Aitken, 30-40 total copies still exist (5-10 of which are in private hands); one of these existing Bibles is at WallBuilders.

(Incidentally, on May 30, 1783, the Rev. John Rodgers, a military chaplain and close friend of George Washington, suggested to his Commander-in-Chief that one of these congressionally approved Bibles be given to every member of the Continental Army. Washington was highly pleased with the suggestion but regretfully noted that Roger’s proposal had arrived too late – Congress had just disbanded the Continental Army, retaining only a skeleton force.


Is is a gross error to believe our Founders wanted to separate the Christian religion from government. This lesson in history dispels that notion unequivocally.

Here is a relevant sign for our current Congress:

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