The Aitken Bible is the first entire Bible printed in America. As early as 1777 in the War for Independence, Congress considered funding the importation of Bibles from Holland or Scotland. Robert Aitken, an immigrant from Scotland, published a New Testament, then asked Congress’ permission to publish the entire Bible. As his petition noted, “in every well regulated Government in Christendom” the Holy Bible was “published under the Authority of the Sovereign Powers, in order to prevent the fatal confusion that would arise, and the alarming Injuries the Christian faith might suffer from the Spurious and erroneous Editions of Divine Revelation.” Aitken printed Congress’ authorization and support in the front of his Bible. This was the only Bible ever authorized by an act of Congress.
By The United States Congress Assembled:
September 12th, 1782.
THE Committee to whom was referred a Memorial of Robert Aitken, Printer, dated 21st January, 1781, respecting an edition of the Holy Scriptures, report, “That Mr. Aitken has, at a great expence, now finished an American edition of the Holy Scriptures in English, that the Committee have from time to time attended to his progress in the work; that they also recommended it to the two Chaplains of Congress to examine and give their opinion of the execution, who have accordingly reported thereon; the recommendation and report being as follows: . . .