The Bible Museum
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
The Bible Museum occupies the floor beneath the Museum Of Earth History, and is part of the Great Passion Play theme park. It somehow packs over 6,000 Bibles (in 625 languages and dialects) into a relatively small exhibit space, a minor miracle that is nevertheless impressive.
Museum employee Rachel directs our attention to German Bible that was lunch for some wood beetles. "Normally they eat through anything they attack," she tells us. "But when they came to the actual words in this Bible, they didn't eat the words. God's power protected the words of this Bible."
Any reverent wood beetle would go dizzy avoiding all the Holy Words written here, from a Genesis scroll on deerskin to a Bible in the Mikmak Indian language. One case holds the only complete Bible translated into English by a woman, another has the only Gideon Bible that was signed by all of the Gideon founders. This place even has a Hallmark greeting card Bible. Rachel wants us to look at a replica of a 4,000 year old tablet that tells of a worldwide flood, but we're more interested a set of the Gospels that has been hand-written into Bible character portraits, by some guy from China using a single-hair brush.
We are real pests in museums like this, constantly asking "What's that?" Rachel fields our questions patiently, explaining why certain editions have been labeled the "Chain Bible," "Breeches Bible," and "Horse Bedding Bible" (all references to their physical characteristics), while the "Wicked Bible" and "Murderers Bible" got their nicknames because their typesetters left important "not"s out of the commandments against adultery and killing.
Our eyes wander to a book of martyrs, published in 1641. "They used to do worse things to Christian martyrs than burning at the stake," Rachel tells us. "Can we see what some of those things were?" we ask. Rachel says no. "We used to have the pages open to some of the portraits of what they would do," she says, "but little kids began looking at it, and we didn't want them seeing that. So we have closed it."