Did You Know?


Johannes Gutenberg was a German inventor, printer, and publisher who introduced printing to Europe with the invention of the movable-type printing press. His greatest accomplishment was the first print run of the Bible in Latin, the language of the church. It took three years to print two hundred copies, a miraculously speedy achievement in a day of hand-copied manuscripts.

Martin Luther summed up the role of the printing press in the Protestant Reformation as the “ultimate gift from God.” Thanks to the printing press and the timely power of his message, Luther became the world’s first best-selling author.

Luther’s translation of the New Testament into German sold five thousand copies in just two weeks. From 1518 to 1525, Luther’s writings accounted for a third of all books sold in Germany, and his German Bible went through 430 editions. No Reformer was more adept than Martin Luther at using the power of the press to spread his ideas. Between 1518 and 1575, Luther published more works than the seventeen most prolific Reformers combined. The invention of the printing press made it possible and economical for anyone to purchase a copy of the Bible. Before this, only the churches had a Bible that the clergy or scholars would read to the churchgoers. Eventually people were able to get the Bible in their own language.

Submitted by the Editor