£9m for the Gospel!

No, this announcement is not news of an amazing donation for evangelising our desperately needy nation, but is from an extraordinary Press Release from the British Library. They have successfully acquired the St Cuthbert Gospel, a miraculously well-preserved 7th century copy of St. John’s Gospel, which is “the oldest European book to survive fully intact and therefore one of the world’s most important books.

The £9 million purchase price for the Gospel has come through the largest and most successful fundraising campaign in the British Library’s history, with a £4.5 million grant coming from Government funds and a further £4.5 million pounds from many other charities and private donors. The Library states that “this precious item will remain in public hands so that present and future generations can learn from it” and says that they are now taking the first steps to increase public awareness and understanding of the Gospel.”

This remarkable seventh century book was only preserved so well, in its original red leather binding, because it was placed in the coffin of St.Cuthbert when he was buried in AD 698. The book was later discovered when the coffin was opened in 1104 for his reburial in Durham Cathedral.

Of one thing we can be certain – the book was only placed there because it was the most precious item that Cuthbert possessed – not because it was a valuable book, however, but because it contained treasure that is beyond earthly value.

As a book-lover, I am delighted that this extraordinary book has been preserved – but as a believer in the One we read of in the book, I wish the Government and other charities were as concerned to communicate to the nation the message of the Gospel as they have demonstrated that they are to preserve a copy of it!

I pray that the Library’s desire to “increase public awareness and understanding of the Gospel” will cause people to think – not just about the importance of the book as a physical object, but also about the importance of the content of the book. A digitised copy of the Gospel is now available on line for anyone to read – in Latin of course! But that can only be a good thing – for those who want to find out why this book was so important to St.Cuthbert will have to buy a Bible to read it in their own language.

I’m praying that there will be many serious minded individuals who will do more than gaze in wonder at the manuscript pages – and will want to find out why the book itself was so important to St.Cuthbert. And that as a result many will read the Gospel of John for themselves and be so impacted by what they read that the message of John 1:12 and John 3:16 will transform their lives.

And then I’m praying that there will be at least one of these who will be so impacted by what God has done for them that they will become another John Wesley who will rise up as an evangelist to the nation. Come to think of it, the Government could well have unintentionally funded one of the most effective evangelistic efforts there has been for many a long year!

£9 million pounds is a huge amount of money for anyone to pay for one book – but if one person is saved as a result, in God’s economy it will be worth it. But just think what the consequences for the Kingdom of God would be if that person had as remarkable an effect on our 21st Century world as John Wesley had on his 18th Century world. £9 million pounds would be a very small price to pay for the consequential incredible blessings to the nation.

Will you join with me in praying that everyone who goes to see this amazing book will be impacted by the presence of God? And that deep in their hearts they will start to ask questions about the content of the book – questions that would never have occurred to them, were it not for the book’s extraordinary age and value? God can still move in mysterious ways!


  1. Thank you Peter for writing this blog. I’m linookg forward to receiving this blog! I wanted to doe 365 but it has too much stuff for me to read, so I really would like to follow this!!I have just done the modulair A and B in Holland and this has already transformed my life a great deal. I would really like to keep growing!!May God bless you in this journey with Him. And through you we also will be blessed;-)Judith Damminga

  2. In 2004 God put my feet on His path. He directed me to Ellel Ministries in Pretoria, South Africa. I have never heard of Ellel berfoe, but I knew it was with a purpose that I went there. What I learned there, was and is still a big anchor in my life. It helped me through so many big and small situations in my life.Thank you for being obedient to the calling on your life, without which so many people would have been left criple’ and the body of Christ so much poorer. May God keep on blessing you and yours, and us through you.

  3. Peter
    Thankyou for the opportunity to stand alongside you in prayer .Father we ask to bless all our prayers as we stand alongside Peter to ask in the power of the Holy Spirit that everyone who goes to see the St Cuthbert Gospel will be impacted by the presence of God .We thankyou father that the library is taking steps to increase public awareness understanding and pray that as they do this peoples eyes and ears will be opened to see and hear the truth of the Gospel.I pray that through people enquiring knowledge of the word I ask for a spirit of wisdom and revelation for understanding of the word in John1 v12 and John 3 v16 and hearts touched to be open to recieve Jesus as Lord and Saviour and lives so transformed that many will rise up to impact the nation as evangelists. I ask these prayers in Jesus name. Amen.

  4. Peter, we will join you on the West Coast of the US, that this book become like the annointed cloth sent out to affect all who come into it’s presence! Max

  5. Hi, this is not the first time the British Library has done something good like this. In 1933 they purchased the Codex Sinaiticus, an important 4th Century Greek Bible, from the Soviet Government for £100,000. Again the British public raised half the total to preserve this manuscript for public study.

  6. I just wanted to add I will pray for this book of John to pierce hearts so many will come to Christ. All over the world!

  7. Thank You Father for Your Astounding Love to so many people! You will use this Book
    to touch and reach many hearts for Christ in this broken hurting world.I can not find the scripture I want. It say ” That the word sent out will not come back empty.” Not
    right but I will find it later. I am so grateful to God! Our world so needs healing. It is always in His timing, and alwaya motivated by LOVE.

  8. Dear Brother Horrobin:

    I join you in prayer, based on Matthew 18:19, that all those who go to view the St. Cuthbert Bible will be profoundly impacted by the Presence of God. In Jesus’ Name. Amen and Amen!

    In the Lamb,

    Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

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