This undated picture made available by the British Library shows a reader examining a page from the earliest surviving Christian Bible. The British Library says the surviving pages of the world's oldest Bible have been reunited _ digitally. The library says the early Christian work known as the Codex Sinaiticus had been housed in four separate locations across the world for more than 150 years. It became available Monday for perusal on the Web so scholars and others can get a closer look. The library says the work will allow scholars to further study the "unique treasure." The project united organizations from Great Britain, Germany, Russia and Egypt. Each possessed parts of the 1,600-year-old manuscript. They worked together to publish new research into the history of the Codex and transcribed 650,000 words during a four-year period. (AP Photo/The British Library) ** EDITORIAL USE ONLY **
A 340-year-old Bible tucked away for decades is discovered in a Bonduel church. No one realized it was there or what is was at St. Paul Lutheran Church.
In a cramped, rarely seen and no bigger than a kitchen pantry are heaps of old books and pamphlets.
Inside the safe "there's some old German catechisms [and] old Bibles," said Rev. Timothy Shoup, from St. Paul Lutheran Church.
He added, many of them are more than 100 years old and in foreign languages.
Most wouldn't fetch a high price at auction but they represent the church's nearly 150 year history and heritage.
Now one item kept hidden for who-knows-how-long has taken the entire congregation by surprise.
"We don't know how we got it. We don't know how it got into the safe. We've been asking some of our elderly folks and people in the nursing home and nobody seems to remember," claimed the Rev. Shoup regarding the authentic 340 year old Bible.
A teacher brought the bible to pastor timothy shoup's attention last year.
"When I did open it up and look[ed] at the title page and saw the roman numerals at the bottom. . . I kept coming up with 1670. I concluded whatever that is I've got it added up wrong," said Rev. Shoup.
He contacted Concordia Seminary Library in St. Louis and learned his math was right.
The German Bible was printed in Nuremberg in 1670, hand-pressed, rare and at a weight of twenty pounds. It's made of pigskin over boards with brass corners and clasps.
"It's amazing. I mean the pages are crisp. It's not like stuff is falling all apart. A couple of the pages are loose but it's in nice condition," he added.
For Shoup, it's a spiritual connection over time and distance.
"For us as Christians to know what the Lord said to us in 2011, is what he was saying to people on another continent in 1670," Rev. Shoup said.
The church is taking extra measures to preserve the Bible and will eventually put it out on display.