The Bible in America

History From its founding in 1816, the American Bible Society has grappled with the task of making the Word of God available to Christians and churches in America. From its earliest days, it has worked to provide scriptures to the men, and later women of the military, to local and international bible societies, and to translate the Holy Bible to other languages used by peoples in the United States so that they could not only possess scripture, but could understand its importance in their own lives.

Leaders Starting with a leader of the American Revolution, Elias Boudinot, John Jay, first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and going right down to the most recent president Lamar Vest, The American Bible Society has always been led by “true believers” in the Bible cause.


Wikipedia ABS Entry
White Christening Bible King James Version

Theodore Frelinghuysen

President of the American Bible Society, 1845-1862

Church Affiliation: Reformed Dutch

Photo of Theodore Frelinghuysen

US Senator, Attorney General of New Jersey, Mayor of Newark, and President of Rutgers College, he was active in many religious organizations including the American Bible Society.

Theodore Frelinghuysen was born 28 March, 1787 in Franklin Township, New Jersey. He served as Attorney General of New Jersey from 1817-1829 and as the Senator for New Jersey from 1829-1835 where he was best known for his stand against removing the Cherokee Indians west of the Mississippi. He served as mayor of Newark, NJ from 1836-1839 and was the Whig candidate for Vice President on the ticket with Henry Clay in 1844. He served as president of Rutgers College from 1850-1850.

Another photo of Theodore Frelinghuysen

Theodore Frelinghuysen was active in many religious organizations including the American Bible Society. He was elected as a vice president of ABS in 1830 and served in that capacity until 1845, and then as its president from 1845 until his death in 1862. One of the vice presidents of the Society during this latter years of his term, was the man who was elected Vice President of the United States when Frelinghuysen ran on the Whig ticket - the Democrat GM Dallas. He served for 50 years as a vice president of the American Sunday School Union, for 16 as president of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and for 6 as president of the American Tract Society. He was vice president of the Temperance Union and gave speeches in the Senate in favor of total abstinence. He was also active against slavery.

The following is a letter from president Frelinghuysen to Queen Victoria on the presentation to her of a Bible from ABS.

Most Honoured Sovereign: The Managers of the American Bible Society, having recently collated the English Bible in their use, with the first edition of King James of 1611, and also with the more recent issues of the auhtorized presses of England, beg leave respectfully to present your Majesty with a copy thus prepared. They believe it to be an unusually correct edition of that incomparable version.

In making this presentation, the Managers cannot but congratulate your Majesty on the happiness in reigning over a people trained under the teachings of the Bible - a people who have for centuries made more personal and household use of it, and done more for its dissemination than any other, and by the results proved its safe and benign influence. Would that all nations had been favoured with a like training.

Black and White Portrait of Theodore Frelinghuysen

The Managers would also take this opportunity to congratulate your Majesty on the happy termination of the war in which your people have recently been engaged. And while they deplore the many sufferings and other evils which attended that sanguinary conflict, they are grateful that under a wise overruling Providence, many thousand copies of that Divine Book were thus, for the first time, furnished to men of different nations and tongues, who would otherwhise have been without them. May the copies thus received and carried to their several homes be the precursors of many more, and their pure principles diffused until peace and good will every where prevail.

In thus presenting this token of regard in behalf of the Managers, with their fervent supplication that your Majesty may enjoy health and happiness through a long and prosperous reign, the undersigned has much personal satisfaction in subscribing himself to your Majesty's

Most respectful and obedient servant,
Theo. Frelinghuysen, President
Bible House
Astor Place
New York, Dec. 31, 1856

(from “The Bible Society Record” April, 1857)

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