“Friday Finds” offers public a look at the Saint John’s Bible

“Friday Finds” offers public a look at the Saint John’s Bible

February 6, 2024

By Paula Keshderian

BEREA, Ky. – Berea College’s Special Collections and Archives and the Campus Christian Center is offering the public a closer look at the Heritage Edition of the Saint John’s Bible, which became a permanent addition to Berea College’s religious book collection in 2016.

The program is part of the library’s “Friday Finds” special events held throughout the year. The tours will be from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays throughout February.

“This impressive, multi-volume Bible is a beautiful work of art created to draw new generations and a global audience into the ancient, sacred stories of faith,” said Tim Binkley, Head of Special Collections and Archives. One volume of the Saint John’s Bible is always on display in the Hutchins Library foyer. During “Friday Finds,” Binkley brings the other six volumes into the reading room for visitors to view up close, turning the pages at their own pace. 

The Saint John’s Bible is the first hand-written and illuminated Bible commissioned by the Benedictine Order since the invention of the printing press. The project started in the early 1990s when the community of Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota commissioned calligrapher Donald Jackson – who was also the official scribe to Queen Elizabeth II – to lead an international team of calligraphers and artists and produce the book. The project started in 2000 and was completed in 2011. 

Due to its significance, and in an effort to expand the book's impact beyond Minnesota, the St. John's Bible team created a set of 299 full-size "Heritage Edition" reproductions. Berea owns the 111th set. Hutchins Library is the only place in Kentucky where the St. John's Bible can be viewed. 

“I encourage students and visitors to spend time paging through these seven volumes, taking in all the artistic details," said Binkley.

 Friday Finds Tours are free and open to the public. To pre-register for this experience, visit For more information or to request group viewings of the St. John’s Bible on other days, please contact Tim Binkley at or 859-985-3267.

About Berea College

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College only admits academically promising students with limited financial resources, primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia, although students come from 45 states and 70 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally recognized Work Colleges, where students work at least 10 hours a week to earn money for books, housing, and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.