Now What? American Bible Union
5/2/2011
What can you tell me about the American Bible Union? I found a certificate in our family Bible stating that an ancestor, James Hitching, donated a dime to this group Nov. 24, 1867.
Q. What can you tell me about the American Bible Union? I found a certificate in our family Bible stating that an ancestor, James Hitching, donated a dime to this group Nov. 24, 1867.

A. The American Bible Union was a Baptist organization founded in New York City June 10, 1850, to promote the translation and printing of a revised version of the Bible. It was a splinter group from the American Bible Society (ABS), founded in 1816 by a group of New York philanthropists whose goal was "the dissemination of the Scriptures in the received versions where they exist, and in the most faithful where they may be required."

In 1827, Thomas J. Conant of Rochester Theological Seminary proposed a thorough revision of the Bible in which the Greek word for baptism would instead be translated as "immersion." The ABS rejected Conant's ideas -- along with a translation by Adoniram Judson, a Baptist missionary in Burma, incorporating them -- leading to a split. The American and Foreign Bible Society (AFBS) was formed to promote and distribute Bibles containing the "immersion" translation.