International Bible conference announced

23.6.2022 | Moderator, Church in Society, Union Theological College, Church Life, Reformation 500, Commemorations

On the first full day’s business of the General Assembly the newly elected Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Right Reverend Dr John Kirkpatrick, was presented with a Bible by the Bible Society in Northern Ireland, a tradition that goes back many years. The presentation also came on the same day that the General Assembly heard that a major international conference on the Bible would take place in the city this autumn.

Organised by the Church’s Union Theological College, the conference, is entitled, ‘Martin Luther: Bible Translator, Illustrator & Publisher’ and celebrates the 500th anniversary of Luther’s translation of the New Testament, known around the world as his ‘September Testament’. The conference will bring together an international team of scholars and will reflect on the legacy of the September Testament and many of the ramifications that are felt to this day.

Speaking to the General Assembly, Professor Gordon Campbell, Principal of Union Theological College, said that its publication in 1522 was part of the Reformation, a pivotal moment in European history, whose impact, legacy and enduring importance continues today.

“Our last major Conference in 2017, spotlighted Luther 500, referencing Luther’s gesture, in October 1517, of publicly nailing a set of reformist statements to a Wittenberg Church door that sparked the Reformation of the Western Church. However, five years later, in September 1522, Luther did something arguably far more significant by putting on sale, at the Leipzig Autumn Fair, a New Testament in sparkling everyday German...” Professor Campbell said.

“To commemorate its first publication and explore ramifications of that event, a team of international contributors will gather at the College on 12 and 13 September. The Conference will focus not only on what Luther did, but also on significant consequences right down to our day, for example, did you know that by the 1550s, Luther’s Bible had spawned an exciting study Bible in English by and for Presbyterians?!” he continued.

The conference, which will also be accompanied by physical and digital exhibitions in the College’s Gamble Library, the largest theological library in Northern Ireland, is supported by Biblica, Bible Society for Northern Ireland and Wycliffe Bible Translators. Encouraging Members of Assembly to consider attending, Professor Campbell said, “Those who join us – ministers, elders, everyone – will discover, in each session, research that is relevant for us today.”

Professor Campbell was speaking during the Report of the Council for Training in Ministry, which has responsibility of looking after all aspects of selection, training and ongoing development of ministers and is also responsible for the management of Union Theological College.

You can find out more details on the conference and can register here.

Photo: Catherine Little, General Secretary of the Bible Society in Northern Ireland presents a Bible to PCI's new Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Rt Rev Dr John Kirkpatrick, at today’s General Assembly.

The 2022 General Assembly opened on Wednesday, 22 June with Dr Kirkpatrick’s election and installation and closes on Saturday, 25 June. You will find the business before the Assembly here and the Reports that will be discussed here. You can  follow proceedings live via Twitter @pciassembly using the hashtag #PCIGA22 for all public sessions, which will also livestreamed from this website. The Evening Celebration will also be livestreamed. You can also watch Assembly debates from the public gallery in the Assembly Hall.

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