This year, events are taking place all over the world to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible and now Liberty University has one more reason to join the celebration. A framed, original page from the Psalms was delivered to campus on Monday, May 2 (the official anniversary), a gift from a former administrator and longtime friend of Liberty, Dr. C. Sumner Wemp.
Wemp, who said he plans on giving several more framed pages from ancient, rare Bibles to Liberty in the coming weeks, first came to Liberty in 1973. He taught classes in pastoral theology and evangelism and served as Vice President of Spiritual Affairs for 17 years.
The university plans to display the pages, but a location has not yet been chosen.
|C. Sumner Wemp is photographed in his office in June 1981 at Liberty University (then Liberty Baptist College).|
“For what [the late Rev. Jerry] Falwell meant and what Liberty meant [to me], I wanted them to have it — they will be able to show it to far more people,” Wemp said. “And that’s the thing; it’s not about just who had it or who gave it, but if people can see something extremely rare and wonderful. … I just wanted students to see the heritage we have like the King James Bible. The 1611 is an extremely rare and important Bible and very few people will ever see it.”
Along with the 1611 Bible page, Wemp also gave Liberty a reproduction painting of John Knox, a leader in the Protestant Reformation.
As it turns out, Wemp said the pieces he is giving Liberty were framed by a Liberty graduate.
“He found out I had all these pages and he did all that framing for me and wouldn’t let me pay him,” Wemp said. The frames cost $1,000 each. “He said, ‘You’ve paid me in the classroom. You’ve ministered to me.’”
The original 1611 King James Bible page is not the only one at Liberty; a page of Nehemiah is currently on display at the Center for Judaic Studies.