Baylor acquires special edition of St. John’s Bible

Photo Courtesy of Baylor Libraries

By Emily Lohec | Staff Writer

Baylor Libraries purchased a one-of-a-kind edition of the St. John’s Bible for the Central Libraries Special Collections on campus during the summer, and a dedication ceremony will be held in honor of the acquisition in September.

Although Baylor has other biblical works in the Library, this is the first full-sized reproduction of the St. John’s Bible the university has acquired.

“The Bible was purchased through the Heritage program which involves the Waco Christian community,” Andrea Turner, special collections manager at the Central Libraries, said. “A few members of the Baylor faculty had been aware of the program for numerous years and the time was right [to purchase one] this previous spring.”

Upon purchasing the Bible, the Baylor Libraries have stored the hand-made reproduction in the Moody Memorial Library Special Collections room. Turner encourages students to view and explore the Bible for themselves.

“One major goal of the Bible for the students was to ignite spiritual imaginations from around the world. The art and images in the book itself are very unique and different from those you see in other Bibles,” Turner said. “A couple intriguing images the Bible holds are DNA strands and [images from] the Hubble telescope—both are two examples of how this Bible brings a new life to the scripture.”

Students are welcome to explore the Bible at their own pace or have a trained faculty member assist by guiding them through the various chapters and sections of the Bible.

Along with the ability to book an appointment to view the Bible in person, there will be a Blessing and Dedication Ceremony at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 27 in the Powell Chapel at Truett Seminary. Students, faculty and the Waco community are all open to come out and be a part of the event.

Kathy Hillman, director of Baptist collections, library advancement, and the Keston Center for Religion, Politics and Society has assisted in the coordination and layout for the upcoming dedication.

“We will have pre-service music, a greeting and introductions by Truett Seminary dean Todd Still and provost Nancy Brickhouse,” Hillman said. “Then [there will be] the processional hymn and invocation by Mary Alice Birdwhistell, pastor of Calvary [Baptist Church], interspersed with seven scripture readings and three musical responses by the Chamber Singers.”

Students will be involved in the ceremony. Those singing in the Chambers Choir will be current Baylor students who have dedicated their time to provide a musical element during the ceremony.

Along with participating students, the dedication will have professors and deans from Truett Seminary and Baylor to read, reflect and pray from chosen passages within the Bible. The dedication will last around 45 minutes to an hour and plans to serve as a joining of individuals throughout the Baylor and Waco communities to fully experience all the St. John’s Bible has to offer.

“Part of the dedication service is to dedicate ourselves to scripture because it is a part of Baylor’s mission to be a light and to illuminate our Christian heritage for the world to see,” Hillman said.

Members of the Baylor and Waco communities are able to make an appointment to view the St. John’s Bible. To schedule an appointment, contact the Central Libraries Special Collections at

Correction: August, 29, 2019.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: an earlier version of this story inaccurately quoted Andrea Turner regarding the “Homestead Heritage program.” The story has been corrected to “Heritage program.”