on Friday, April 16, 2021

Adoniram Judson, early 19th-century missionary to Burma (Myanmar), endured great hardship during his 40 years of service in Burma. Judson’s legacy includes a Burmese translation of the entire scripture, one that took him 24 years to produce.

Recently, a copy of Judson’s Burmese Bible has been donated to the NOBTS Museum of the Bible and Archaeology.

The 1840 Burmese Bible, second edition, was donated by Mrs. Beatrice Middleton Coker, of Eastside Baptist Church, Marietta, Ga. Kenneth Ellison, a NOBTS alum, former missionary to the Burma region, and pastor emeritus of Eastside Baptist Church, helped facilitate the donation.

Judson, with wife Ann, arrived in Burma in 1812. Judson’s first translation in Burmese, 1837, included the New Testament only. The 1840 edition, published by the American and Foreign Bible Society and the American Baptist Board of Missions, includes both the Old and the New Testaments. 

Judson endured the death of three successive wives, imprisonment, and threated execution during his time in Burma.

According to a June 2009 report of Dunham Bible Museum, Houston Baptist University, Judson’s works, including the 1840 Burmese Bible, are no longer available in Burma yet remain relevant showing “great wisdom in reaching out to the Buddhist people.”

Burma, now Myanmar, is a war-torn country where Buddhism is the dominant religion. A recently produced prayer guide by the International Mission Board reports that Myanmar is caught in the “longest-running civil war in history, spanning 70 years.”

Myanmar borders Bangaldesh, China, Thailand and Laos. Elections held last year in Myanmar held out a glimmer of hope for democracy, but a recent military coup now threatens that hope.

Judson’s Burmese Bible is a prized addition to the NOBTS Museum of the Bible and Archaeology collection that includes a page from the 1455 Gutenberg Bibles, a handwritten parchment scroll of the book of Esther, dated in the 16th to 17th century, sermon notes from John Broadus and Charles Spurgeon, and various other Bible editions and artifacts.


To learn more about the Bible Museum, email Amy Williams, managing director at museum@nobts.edu or call 504.816.8555.