Freemasonry and the Bible
Masonic Bibles In History
Freemasonry and the Bible...From the first Hebrew texts
upon papyrus and leather scrolls, the Old Testament, as we know it, today, comes
down to us, through the ages.
The Bible in the foreground of the picture, above, is
a Geneva Bible from 1581. It is leather and tooled in gold.
Q: Why is a basic understanding of Bible
important to a Freemason, today?
A: The reason is that Freemasonry has
Q: Is a Freemason Bible any different than
a regular Bible?
The Bible (from the Greek word, biblia) is for all
Christians the most sacred of books, the source of truth and the revelation of
God's word. Throughout the millenniums (thousands of years), no other book
has been reproduced and translated as many times as the Bible.
No original manuscripts are known to exist...only copies
of copies and via the many translations, many errors have invariably crept in.
Written some 3300 years ago (1300 B.C.-100 A.D.), the Bible continues to be, by
far, the most popular of books.
Much of Freemasonry is based upon biblical scripture and
Foundations of Freemasonry and the Bible
Christians, Freemasonry and the Bible are intricately connected....just as the
Holy Books of other religions are central to their Freemason foundations.
The Creator: It is to the Supreme Architect
of the Universe, our Creator, he of many names around the world, that each of us
Masonic Symbols: Ark of the Covenant, the
Mosaic Pavement, Jacob's Ladder, the Lambskin Apron, King Solomon's Temple and
Masonic Ritual Degree Verses: The 3 verses
within the 3 Masonic Degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master
Mason are direct quotes from the Bible.
Biblical Characters: King Solomon, Hiram
Abif, Hiram of Tyre, Tubal Cain, St. John the Baptist, St. John the Evangelist,
Jacob and Jacob's Ladder, etc. All are biblical characters.
Masonic Altar: The Masonic altar holds a
Holy Book (or several Holy Books, depending upon the personal religions of its
members). It is around this Holy book that Freemasons circumambulate in
their attempts to perform acts pleasing to the Creator.
Masonic Charity: The origins of Masonic
charity begin with The Good Samaritan. (Luke 10:25-37)
And so it is written that no man should ever engage in any important undertaking
without first invoking the aid and blessing of Deity.
The table, below, provides the Old Testament Bible
Genealogy of the most famous Hebrew, Greek, Latin and English Bible
Old Testament Bible Genealogy
||First Hebrew texts set down on papyrus and leather scrolls
||Septuagint - First translations from Hebrew to Greek
|7th-9th Centuries A.D.
||Texts edited into present day form by Masoretes
||St. Jerome's Vulgate - Latin translation.
||Wycliffe's Bible. First English
||Guttenberg Bible. First printed Bible, using Vulgate
||Tyndale Bible. First printed English
translation from Hebrew texts.
||Great Bible. First English translation
authorized by Church.
||Geneva Bible. Published by English
exiles. Brought to America by Pilgrims.
||Douay Bible. English translation for
Catholics brought to America.
||King James Bible. Translated by 47 scholars. Most
famous English Bible.
||Algonquin Bible. Translated for Indians. First
Bible printed in America.
||Confraternity Bible. First U.S. Catholic versions
entirely from basic Hebrew sources, including the Dead Sea Scrolls,
discovered in 1947. These are the oldest available texts, some
dating to 200 B.C.
||Revised Standard Version. Protestant Bible
Freemasonry and the Bible
Many more Bible translations have been performed since
Freemasonry and the Bible go hand in hand, but
throughout the centuries, different Bibles have been placed upon the Masonic
altar. ..from the time of Freemasonry's Old Charges (1390 - 1714) and before, as
well as to the current period.
While Holy Books from all languages reside upon the many
Masonic altars around the world, it is of note that for English speaking
Freemasons, whose Masonic lodge uses the Bible, the Bible of today is, like all
Bibles, a translated version of the original Hebrew texts.
Septuagint: The Septuagint's name derives
from the 72 Jewish scholars who translated the Hebrew to Greek. Their work
was performed in Egypt.
It was necessary to translate the Hebrew to Greek
because the Jewish people living in Egypt at the time, spoke and understood
Greek, rather than Hebrew. This Greek translation was in use at the time
St. Jerome's Vulgate: The first rendering
of the entire Bible into Latin was St. Jerome's Vulgate, a named deriving from
vulgatus, meaning for common use.
For a thousand years, St. Jerome's was the only
authoritative Bible in Western Europe, but, ironically, it was seldom read by
the common people.
Wycliffe Bible: It is interesting to
note that the Wycliffe Bible of 1382 was available close to the time in which
the first of the Old Charges were written.
John Wycliffe was among the first of many Englishmen to
incur the Church's wrath for producing unauthorized translations of the
Scriptures, as well as for his heretical writings.
Gutenberg Bible: Johannes Gensfleisch
Gutenberg, of Mainz, Germany created a printed version of the Latin Vulgate
Gutenberg's Bible is the first book created using
movable type. Previous to this time, Bibles were laboriously handwritten
Tyndale Bible: William Tyndale, another
English translator who was persecuted by the Church, fled to the Low Countries,
where he was strangled.
Great Bible: Also, of note, Henry VIII had
copies of the Great Bible chained in order to foil overzealous worshippers.
Geneva Bible: The Geneva Bible was a
Douay Bible: The Douay Bible was translated
in Douai and Rheims, France by Roman Catholics fleeing Queen Elizabeth. It
has remained as a favorite of English-speaking Catholics.
King James Bible: The most popular version
among Anglicans and Protestants has been the King James, whose grand style
influenced all English prose.
Freemasonry and the Bible is, for Christian Freemasons,
the foundation of its Masonic precepts, just as the Vedas, the , Qur'an, the Hebrew
Bible and the Holy Scriptures of other religions are the foundation of their Masonic precepts.
The information on this Freemasonry and the Bible page is gratefully acknowledged
and credit is given to The World's Greatest Religions, Time Inc. Life, Simon &
Schuster, Inc., 1957.
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