ECPA's Rush To Press

National Bible Association Hosts Special Reading
of Aitken Bible at the Capitol

Contact: Elise Inman, 

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2015 — The National Bible Association is hosting a special scripture reading event on November 17 at 11 a.m. at the nation’s capitol. This reading is a precursor event to the International Day of the Bible which will be held later in November. A number of members of Congress and US Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black will be reading passages of scripture from an original Aitken Bible, which is the only Bible ever formally approved by the Congress.

“The Bible has impacted every aspect of life, including the political history of America. I am thankful for the work of Chaplain Black to bring together an impressive group of our congressional leaders to read from the scriptures,” said Richard Glickstein, president of the National Bible Association. “The opportunity to read from the Aitken Bible just further reinforces the deep ties that our nation has with this great book.”

The Aitken Bible has a unique place in the early history of America. Because of the Revolutionary War, all supplies were cut off from England to the colonies. Consequently the newly formed Congress of the United States instructed the Committee of Commerce to import twenty thousand Bibles from “Scotland, Holland, or elsewhere.” Robert Aitken saw this as an opportunity. He petitioned Congress in 1781 to approve a complete Bible that he was preparing. It did and in September of 1782 issued this statement:

“Resolved. That the United States in Congress assembled highly approve the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aitkin, as subservient to the interest of religion as well as an influence of the progress of arts in this country and being satisfied from the above report (by the congressional chaplains), they recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States and hereby authorize him to publish this recommendation.”

Thus, Aitken printed the first complete English Bible in 1782 in America, which also stands as the only Bible ever formally approved by the Congress.

The Aitken Bible is being provided for this event from the collection of Museum of the Bible.

Naticksqw Chief Caring Hands will read The Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew from the Eliot Bible in the original Natick language. She will be accompanied on the tribal hand drum by Tomorrow Eagle Woman. These Native Americans are descendants of the Indians that became Christians under the ministry of John Eliot and helped him translate the English Bible into their native tongue. Today, they practice their faith today in the church that John Eliot established in 1651.

This event in Washington, D.C. sets the stage for the upcoming International Day of the Bible which will be held on Monday, Nov. 23 at noon in local time zones around the world. People of all ages are being invited to participate by taking pause for a few minutes to read or even sing Scripture or otherwise creatively express their love of The Good Book.

International Day of the Bible is sponsored by the National Bible Association. Organizations like The American Bible Society, YouVersion, Bible Gateway, Scripture Union, Museum of the Bible and Bibles for the World are encouraging participation within their own communities.
A person could simply read a favorite passage with family, friends, co-workers and schoolmates, but participation can go beyond just Bible reading. Other ideas include breaking into a flash mob, singing and dancing Scripture, painting or drawing a picture with a few lines of verse, or capturing God’s creations in photos, selfies included, and sharing them along with a beloved Psalm.

See content of the day unfold by following the hashtag #BibleCelebration on social media.

The scripture reading event will be held at the East Front Lawn of the Capital on November 17 at 11 a.m. Members of the media interested in attending should contact Elise Inman at

About The National Bible Association

The National Bible Association, based in New York City, is a nonprofit, educational association of business leaders operating in the public square. Since 1940, the Association has focused exclusively on encouraging Bible reading in every sector of society regardless of religious or political distinction. For more, visit