July 18, 2019

Tiny church finds its bible is a 400 year old original King James Version

Perhaps a slighty more sophisticated display system might now be in order.

The church of St. Lawrence in the little English village of Hilmarton, has discovered that a bible that has been on display for years is actually a 400 year old original verson of the King James Bible.

There are only around 200 of the original editions of the Bible in existence and interest has been heightened by this year being the 400th anniversary of its publication.

In fact, the Bible at St. Laurence Church in Hilmarton, England, was sitting right under a hand-lettered sign saying it was an original.

A sign above the bible said that it had been found in “the parish chest” in 1857, that the cover had been added, and that it was the second of the two impressions published in 1611 – the year of first publication.

Parish council member Geoff Procter said no one was sure if they could believe the claim, so with the 400th anniversary approaching they decided to check out what they had.

Procter and two other church members took the bible to an expert – the Rev. David Smith at the Museum of the Book in London.

Smith knew immediately what he was looking at, Procter said.

“We put it on his table and he opened it and immediately he said, ‘Yes, this is a 1611 Bible.'”

Smith identified it thanks to a printing error – a place in the Gospel of Matthew that should say Jesus entered the Garden of Gethsemane and spoke to his disciples instead says that Judas, who betrayed Jesus to the Romans, entered the garden.

That the St. Laurence Bible had that error, but not another one in the Book of Ruth, enabled Smith to pinpoint exactly when the book had been printed, Procter explained.

“We realized that this is quite an important find,” he said, and last month the church quietly announced the discovery in the diocese newsletter.

The people of St. Laurence Church are now trying to raise money to build a special case so they can keep their Bible in use and on regular display.

Newswarped is not sure how much a rare book like that is worth but we think the insurance premiums may be beyong St. Lawrences capacity to pay. We think maybe they will have to rely on a divine security system.