Online congregation, I really don't know how I'm feeling about this information. Now I'm no bible scholar, but doesn't the last page of the bible say something like "if anyone twists or removes parts of this text may they be stricken with the plagues and retributions described herein?" That's what I thought! Anyhow, on display now at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., is a special exhibit centered on a rare Bible from the 1800s that were used by British missionaries to convert and educate slaves. What's notable about this Bible is not just its rarity, but its content, or rather the lack of content. It excludes any portion of text that might inspire rebellion or liberation.
Anthony Schmidt, an associate curator of Bible and Religion in America at the museum, says the first instance of this abridged version titled, Parts of the Holy Bible, selected for the use of the Negro Slaves, in the British West-India Islands, was published in 1807.
"About 90 percent of the Old Testament is missing [and] 50 percent of the New Testament is missing," Schmidt says. "Put in another way, there are 1,189 chapters in a standard Protestant Bible. This Bible contains only 232." Schmidt says passages that could have prompted rebellion were removed, for example: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:28.
I'm glad this book is being displayed, and in a context meant to engage people. It's far better to know about this and to be able to frame it. The only way to justify oppression with the Bible was always cutting passages that proclaim liberation and as you see they are almost 3/4 of the book.