Harry S. Truman photo

Remarks to Representatives of the National Council of Churches.

September 26, 1952

DOCTOR, I am highly appreciative of the privilege of receiving this first copy of the new revised version and translation of the Old and New Testaments.

My mother owned a big deckle-edged Bible published in 1881, which contained the first revised version of the New Testament parallel to the King James version. I was raised on that book, and I want to say to you that my fondness for the King James version will never leave me.

I shall read this with great interest, and try to use it for a better understanding of the Bible on which I was brought up.

The only thing that James I of England and James VI of Scotland are remembered for is the fact that they had a number of scholars--such as you had in this undertaking-make a direct translation of the Old Testament and the New Testament from what they thought were the original documents on which they were first set up.

Now you have gone further, and have, I am sure, investigated other documents that clarify the meaning of the words in the King James version. And I am certainly most happy to have it.

I think, as you said, that if people understood the contents of this book from cover to cover, and we could get a complete understanding of it behind the Iron Curtain, there would be but one thing in this world: peace for all mankind.

Maybe we can accomplish that some time. I hope you gentlemen will keep working at it. I have made an effort on that subject for 7 years, to get the moral forces of the world in opposition to the unmoral forces.

The people who believe in the teachings of the 20th Chapter of Exodus, and the 5th, 6th, and 7th Chapters of the Gospel according to St. Matthew can't hold any malice against his neighbor or his friend if he does what is right.

Thank you a lot. I appreciate it very much.

Note: The President spoke at 12:20 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House. His opening word "Doctor" referred to Dr. Luther A. Weigle, dean emeritus of Yale Divinity School, and chairman of the Standard Bible Committee which prepared the new revised standard version of the Bible.

Harry S. Truman, Remarks to Representatives of the National Council of Churches. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230532

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