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American Bible Society (ABS)

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Organisasi : ABS (American Bible Society)
Berdiri : 1816

Established in 1816, American Bible Society history follows closely and even intersects the history of our nation. In fact, ABS’ early leadership reads like a Who’s Who of patriots. Our first president was Elias Boudinot, former president of the Continental Congress. John Jay, John Quincy Adams, DeWitt Clinton and James Fennimore Cooper also played significant roles, as did Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison and Francis Scott Key. Since those early days, American Bible Society has worked closely with organizations to reach people in the United States and around the world who might otherwise not have access to a Bible. The following timeline traces our ministry history.

  • 1816 Founding of American Bible Society The American Bible Society was founded with Elias Boudinot elected as its first president. He serves in this position until his death in 1821.

  • 1817 The First Grant The first grant was made, giving 300 Bibles to the Steuben County Bible Society in Bath, New York.

  • 1817 Bibles for Sailors Bible were distributed to the crew of the USS John Adams, thus beginning a Scripture grant program to the armed services that continues today.

  • 1817 ABS Library Founded The American Bible Society Library was founded.

  • 1818 Quarterly Extracts First Published Quarterly Extracts, the predecessor to the present day publication American Bible Society Record, was issued.

  • 1818 Delaware Indian/English Parallel Text The Delaware Indian/English parallel text of three Epistles of John was published. Translated by Christian Frederick Dencke, this work marked the first publication by the American Bible Society in another language.

  • 1821 John Jay Elected ABS President John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the United States, was elected president of the American Bible Society. He serves as president until 1828.

  • 1822 First Permanent Home The American Bible Society moved to its first permanent home, 72 Nassau Street, in lower Manhattan.

  • 1823 Support of Translation in India A gift of $1,000 was sent to the missionary William Carey, father of modern missions, to support his Scripture translation work in India.

  • 1828 Richard Varick Elected ABS President Former New York City Mayor Richard Varick was elected president of the American Bible Society.

  • 1835 First Scriptures for Visually Impaired A gift of $1,000 to the New England Institution for the Blind resulted in the first Scriptures for the visually impaired.

  • 1836 First Permanent Foreign Agency The first permanent Foreign Agency was established in the Levant.

  • 1841 ABS Incorporated The American Bible Society was incorporated under New York State Law.

  • 1843 First Annuity The first charitable annuity was issued.

  • 1846 Scriptures for Mexican War Troops The Mexican War was fought and the American Bible Society supplied over 7,000 Scriptures to U.S. troops.

  • 1853 ABS Moves to Astor Place The American Bible Society relocated to Astor Place.

  • 1861 Scriptures for Civil War Troops Scriptures were provided to both the North and South during the Civil War.

  • 1866 ABS Jubilee The American Bible Society celebrates its jubilee year.

  • 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibit The American Bible Society exhibited a collection of historical Bibles at the Philadelphia Centennial.

  • 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition A rare book collection was also exhibited at the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition.

  • 1900 Conference on Auxiliaries A conference on auxiliaries was called to evaluate current domestic fundraising, distribution, and missionary practices. The meeting resulted in greater centralization for the American Bible Society.

  • 1901 Agency Among Colored People The Agency Among Colored People of the South was established. Located in Atlanta, it was headed by Dr. John Percy Wragg.

  • 1904 St. Louis Louisiana Purchase Exposition Scripture texts were exhibited at the St. Louis Louisiana Purchase Exposition.

  • 1905 Frances Snow Hamilton Frances Snow Hamilton was appointed agent in Mexico, the first woman in American Bible Society history to hold that position.

  • 1908 First Permanent Endowment New York philanthropist Mrs. Russell Sage promised ABS $500,000 in the form of a matching gift, thus establishing the first permanent endowment.

  • 1914 World War I The American Bible Society distributed Scriptures to troops serving in World War I. It also launched a European War Fund Campaign for additional donations.

  • 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition An exhibit of Bibles was sent to the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. It also sponsored the World’s Bible Congress, which brought together distinguished religious leaders from around the world.

  • 1915 First Bible Sunday Bible Sunday was first celebrated. The event is still held today.

  • 1916 ABS Centennial The American Bible Society celebrated its centennial anniversary.

  • 1918 ABS Centennial Emma Baker Kennedy and Helen Miller Gould Shepard became the first female Vice Presidents of the American Bible Society.

  • 1919 Advisory Council Meets The Advisory Council met for the first time. This group continues to meet today as the National Church Leadership Council.

  • 1933 Century of Progress Exposition An exhibit was sent to the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago. The display’s highlight was a globe “designed to show the parts of the world in which the Bible, the gospels, and portions of the testaments have been translated and distributed.”

  • 1936 ABS Relocates to Park Avenue The American Bible Society was relocated to 448-450 Park Avenue in New York City.

  • 1939 ABS at World’s Fair The American Bible Society participated at the New York World’s Fair with an exhibit entitled The Book for the World of Tomorrow. A time capsule sponsored by the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company including a King James Version of the Bible.

  • 1940 Scriptures for WWII Troops More than 7.4 million Scriptures were provided to those serving in the U.S. armed forces during World War II.

  • 1946 United Bible Societies Founded The United Bible Societies is founded in Haywards Heath, England.

  • 1955 Illustrated New Testament Published The publication of the illustrated New Testament with over 500 images and maps was completed.

  • 1957 Finger-Operated Phonograph The American Bible Society introduced a finger-operated phonograph—a Finger-Fono machine.

  • 1959 Division of Women’s Activities The Division of Women’s Activities was created, with Inez Moser appointed as its first director.

  • 1962 Bible-A-Month Club The Bible-A-Month Club was begun. Thirty-five staff agreed to contribute $2.00 per month each to support Bible distribution in a selected country of the world. The program continues today.

  • 1964 Good News for a New Age A special exhibit was held entitled Good News for a New Age at the Bible House. The exhibit coincided with the World’s Fair that occurred in New York City.

  • 1965 Warehouse Opens in New Jersey Centralized warehouse facilities were opened at 186 Parish Drive in Wayne, New Jersey.

  • 1966 ABS Celebrates 150 Years The American Bible Society celebrated its 150th anniversary.

  • 1966 Dios Llega Published Dios Llega, a translation designed to reach the newspaper reading level of the Spanish-speaking world, was published.

  • 1966 New Testament in Today’s English The New Testament in Today’s English Version, a translation written in common English language, was published.

  • 1966 ABS Moves to 1865 Broadway The American Bible Society headquarters was moved to its present location at 1865 Broadway.

  • 1967 Scripture Courtesy Centers The Department of Women’s Activities inaugurated Scripture Courtesy Centers.

  • 1973 Jesse Pratt Jesse Pratt became the first African American woman to serve on the American Bible Society’s Board of Managers.

  • 1974 Good News for New Readers The Good News for New Readers program was inaugurated.

  • 1976 Good News Bible Completed The Good News Bible was completed. It was endorsed by the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Lutheran Church and the Presbyterian Church and by 1971, more than 30 million copies were sold.

  • 1979 Alice Ball Becomes General Secretary Alice Ball was named General Secretary of the American Bible Society, the first woman to achieve this position.

  • 1979 Dios Habla Hoy Dios Habla Hoy, the complete Bible in the Spanish Popular Version, was released.

  • 1979 The Jesus Film The Jesus Film Project was launched by Campus Crusade for Christ International using the Good News Translation of the Gospel of Luke as its text. The Jesus Film when on to become the most widely viewed motion picture in history. More than 5.6 billion people have viewed the film in 1,000 languages.

  • 1982 World’s Fair Exhibit The American Bible Society sent an exhibit to the World’s Fair held in Knoxville, Tennessee.

  • 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games More than 4 million Scriptures were provided for distribution to athletes and spectators at the Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

  • 1987 First Chinese Bible Printing in China The year marked the first printing of Chinese Bibles on the Amity Press in Nanjing, China.

  • 1989 Gifts of Love A special appeal drive, “Gifts of Love,” was launched. This program aimed to secure Bibles for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

  • 1989 Rev. Dr. Bryant M. Kirkland The Rev. Dr. Bryant M. Kirkland was appointed the first president and chief executive officer of the American Bible Society.

  • 1990 Gospel of Mark in Navajo The Gospel of Mark was released in modern Navajo.

  • 1990 The Life of Christ in ASL The Life of Christ was introduced in the American Sign Language Translation.

  • 1990 Eugene Habecker Appointed President Eugene Habecker was appointed president and chief executive officer of the American Bible Society.

  • 1991 Camouflage Bibles The military was provided with 300,000 compact Bibles with camouflage covers.

  • 1991 175th Anniversary The American Bible Society celebrates its 175th Anniversary.

  • 1992 Out of the Tombs Out of the Tombs, translation of Mark 5: 1-20, was produced and sold in video format.

  • 1994 A Father and Two Sons The video, A Father and Two Sons, based on Luke 15: 11-32, was completed. In 1995, this product was available in CD-ROM. Video and CD-ROM versions of The Visit, based on Luke 1: 39-56, were also completed.

  • 1995 CEV Completed The Contemporary English Version, or CEV, was completed. This accurate and faithful translation was created to be easy to read.

  • 1996 Scripture for Olympic Athletes Scripture resources were distributed at the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta.

  • 1996 Scriptures for Southern Churches The American Bible Society pledged to distribute 5,000 Scriptures to African American and interracial churches destroyed by fire bombings in some of the Southern states.

  • 1998 Bible House Renovation The American Bible Society completed the renovation of its headquarters at 1865 Broadway. The project was supervised by Fox & Fowle architects.

  • 1999 African American Jubilee Bible The African American Jubilee Bible is published. The Bible is a collaborative effort involving ABS staff and biblical, cultural, and historical scholars. It featured a nearly 285 page preface devoted to the role of the Bible in African American life.

  • 2000 The Learning Bible The Learning Bible in Contemporary English is published. This Bible is colorful, illustrated, and easy to read. It includes study guides and historical cultural and linguistic information.

  • 2001 September 11th In response to the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center, the American Bible Society published this portion to provide consolation and support to those who were faced with overwhelming loss. More than 1,000,000 copies in English, Spanish, and Chinese were distributed at Ground Zero, in front of the Bible House, and at vigils throughout the city.

  • 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games At the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah in February, the American Bible Society and volunteers distributed 14,000 More Than Gold Bibles that display the connection of sports and spirituality. They also distributed specially made pamphlets, and CD ROMs.

  • 2003 GNT Military Bible With the help of the military chaplains from each branch of the armed services, the American Bible Society published a Good News Translation Bible for military personnel. These Bibles are still being distributed to the members of the armed forces fighting the war in the Middle East.

  • 2005 New Testament in Gullah The American Bible Society celebrated the conclusion of a 26-year project to translate the New Testament in Gullah, a Creole language devised from indigenous African languages and English. The announcement and first sale of this translation occurred on St. Helena Island in South Carolina at the Heritage Days Festival.

  • 2005 Hurrican Katrina In response to the devastation Hurricane Katrina brought to the south, the American Bible Society supplied Bibles and special copies of “God is our Shelter’ to bring comfort and strength to the victims. Over 750,000 Scriptures were distributed as well as over 1,000,000 portions.

  • 2006 Bible Read-a-Thon The American Bible Society held a Bible Read-a-Thon to commemorate the 190th Anniversary of the organization.

  • 2006 Award for Billy Graham Rev. Billy Graham receives a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Bible Society.

  • 2006 Bible Text Messages The American Bible Society and ChristianMobile enter into an Exclusive Agreement to Distribute the Bible via Mobile Phones.

  • 2007 Mission Literacy The American Bible Society joins with the Salvation Army in the Fight to Promote Literacy in New Jersey through their program, Mission:Literacy.

  • 2007 Day of Prayer The first “Day of Prayer for Christian Unity” was held.

  • 2008 CEV Goes Digital The Contemporary English Version becomes available on the Sony Digital Reader and the Amazon Kindle.

  • 2008 Amazing Bible Factbook The American Bible Society introduces the Amazing Bible Factbook for Kids.

  • 2008 Special Bible for Pope Benedict The American Bible Society presents the Biblia Polyglotta to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. The creation of this one-of-a-kind Bible marks the occasion of the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Catholic Bishops.

  • 2008 Dr. Lamar Vest Appointed President Dr. Lamar Vest becomes the President of the American Bible Society.

  • 2009 Poverty and Justice Bible The American Bible Society publishes the Poverty and Justice Bible, a version of the Contemporary English Version that highlights more than 2,000 verses that refer to poverty and justice.

  • 2010 Rare Bible Collection The Museum of Biblical Art and the American Bible Society announce a multi-year loan of the holdings of the Rare Bible Collection to the Museum of Biblical Art.


  1. Soesilo, Dr. Daud H., Ph.D. 2001. Mengenal Alkitab Anda. Lembaga Alkitab Indonesia, Jakarta. Halaman 44-68.
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