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Bible printed in 1646 given to church

In May 1924, Barbara Moore's family came from Germany to America and brought one family heirloom along: its Holy Bible.

Moore's parents, August H. and Lena Ziegler, established their family on a farm between Lawton and Elgin and became members of St. John Lutheran Church, which was chartered in 1916. In November the church will celebrate its 100th birthday. The Ziegler family has been with the church since it was meeting in homes, in a white clapboard building, and where it currently stands today in downtown Lawton on the corner of Southwest 7th Street and B Avenue. Moore, now 81, and her brother, August Ziegler, 85, have been members their whole lives and decided to donate their family Bible to the church.

"This is where it belongs," Moore said.

Printed on Gutenberg press

The Ziegler family Bible is a 1646 Nuremberg Bible printed on the Gutenberg press and written in Old German. It was translated by Martin Luther from the original languages a century before the Ziegler family's Bible. Luther was the seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation, and the Lutheran Church will celebrate Reformation Day on Oct. 31, which marks the day Luther nailed his "Ninety-five Theses" on the door of All Saints' Church in Wittenberg, Germany, sparking the Protestant Reformation.

Bill Schneider, pastor of St. John, said back when the Ziegler family Bible was printed, it was a big deal for a family to have a Bible in its native language.

"A lot of people didn't read Latin or they certainly didn't read Greek or Hebrew," Schneider said. "So having it in their own language was a very big deal. Even in the 1600s, 1700s, having a Bible in your own language was very important."

Bible handed down in 1970

Moore said her family kept the Bible in their home on a top closet shelf where it collected dust as they read from other Bibles written in German. It wasn't until 1970, when her mother moved from the farm into Lawton with Moore and her two daughters, that it was passed down to her.

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