The Bible Printed for the First Time

On August 24, 1456, one of the 180 Gutenberg Bibles was completed; among the first books ever printed! In Germany, a few years earlier, Johannes Gutenberg had simplified the process of making metal, movable type, enabling mass printing and paving the way for the age of the printed book.

By the time of Martin Luther’s birth in 1483, almost every major European city had a printing press—making Bibles more accessible to masses of people. Many suggested the Protestant Reformation might have been impossible without Gutenberg’s printing press. Of the 180 copies printed, forty-nine are known to have survived, only twenty-one of which are complete copies.

Two of those copies are at the British Library in London. Today, it’s estimated the number of Bibles printed worldwide is over six billion—into over 1,300 languages!


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