MBS Bible Collection at Boston University

On a beautiful first day of November, I found myself walking past swarming students and heading into the quiet of the library at the Boston University School of Theology. The school's archivist, Kara Jackman, had pulled out several boxes of historic records pertaining to what is known as the "MBS Bible Collection" (https://sth-archon.bu.edu/massbibles/exhibit/index.html). As someone who enjoys digging into history, I found it fascinating to review early records reflecting on the acquisition of a massive number of Bibles. Equally profound were the handwritten ledgers detailing the Society's distribution of Bibles to churches, prisoners and seamen. Dusty ledgers and scrapbooks attested to the long history of the mission still being sustained today. Minutes of early board meetings, documents highlighting several years of annual meetings (1949-1954), original ledgers from the Berkshire Bible Society dating back to the early 1800s and all speaking to a mission lovingly pursued for more than 200 years.

Frankly, the biggest surprise came when Ms. Jackman walked me back into the plastic covered stacks! I had seen reference to MBS' Bible collection and, indeed, had uncovered over 100 of them when closing down a storage unit over the summer. I thought that must have been the collection! But at BU, there are over 2000 bound Bibles carefully indexed and housed in the MBS Collection ... one of several special collections of Bibles curated by Boston University and available to researchers and students alike. Apparently donated to BU in 1979, this MBS collection contains Bibles translated into hundreds of languages; they occupy several dozen floor to ceiling shelves covering the entire width of the room in the restricted stacks of the library.

I found it reaffirming to find myself as part of this historic human chain stretching back to the early 1800s...collecting and distributing the Word of God. The power of the message remains undiminished as truth seekers around the world and across the centuries continue trying to understand how to apply the holy words to the issues of their daily lives.

Dr. Theodore (Ted) Wilson
Interim Executive Director
Massachusetts Bible Society

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