“Such portions of the Scriptures as are both instructive and entertaining: such as will not only feed the fancy, but mend the heart, and establish in the mind those unalterable laws of the Deity . . . and which our happiness both in this life and the next must absolutely depend.” —
The Holy Bible Abridged; or, The History of the Old and New Testament
Printers, compilers, and writers employed various methods to introduce the Bible to children in an accessible form. Beginning in the eighteenth century, abridgements and adaptations became increasingly popular in England and, later, in America. Complementing these textual changes, illustrations often were included to attract the attention and maintain the interest of young readers. Both images and text served equally important functions in hieroglyphic Bibles in which select passages of scripture were conveyed in a curious combination of words and symbols, a puzzle to be solved and holy text to be read, understood, and memorized. The section ends with a selection of these editions printed in Germany, England, and the United States in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.