In the Beginning was the Word

In the Beginning was the Word

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Join us for this special online event as Sir David Suchet reads St John's Gospel.

The actor, best-known for playing Agatha Christie’s fictional detective Hercule Poirot, made the recording in the Jerusalem Chamber.

The room, in the Abbey’s Deanery, has a pivotal role in the history of printed versions of the Holy Bible. It hosted the committees engaged on writing King James I’s Authorized Version of the Bible in 1611, the Revised Version in 1870, the New English Bible in 1961 and the Revised English Bible in 1989.

Sir David became a Christian in 1986 after reading a hotel room Bible. He has read the entire Bible before, for Hodder & Stoughton’s NIV Audio Bible, which has sold over 100,000 copies worldwide - and a previous reading of the whole of St Mark’s Gospel at St Paul’s Cathedral has received over 2 million views online. Looking ahead to the event, he said: 'I count it as a great privilege to be filmed reading St John’s Gospel in the iconic Jerusalem Chamber of Westminster Abbey.'

St John’s Gospel reached its final form around AD 90–110, although it contains signs of origins dating back to AD 70 and possibly even earlier. Like the three other gospels, it is anonymous, although it identifies an unnamed ‘disciple whom Jesus loved’ as the writer.

Watch the reading

Support the Abbey

Though this new recording of St John’s Gospel is being made available without charge, we hope that those who watch it will be inspired to make a contribution to the Abbey’s heritage preservation fundraising campaign. Covid-19 has posed unprecedented financial challenges, and our reserves, built up over years, are being rapidly eroded.

Viewers can support our Heritage Preservation Appeal by sending a text to 70025 (UK only) with the words ABBEY5 to give £5, ABBEY10 to give £10 or ABBEY20 to give £20.

About the NIV Audio Bible and the New International Version

The New International Version of the Bible is the most popular modern English Bible translation in the UK and worldwide. Developed by Biblica, the International Bible Society, it remains at the forefront of accessibility, relevance and authority. More information about the translation and the range of Bibles available can be found at

The NIV Audio Bible is available in iOS and Android app formats, as well as on MP3 CD and as an audio download:

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The Holy Bible, New International Version (Anglicised) © 1973, 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, the International Bible Society.

Published by Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. Used by permission.