Despite popular belief, the Bible is not the most printed or translated book in the English language, reminded a library special collections expert.
Though the statement very likely will puzzle many people, Richard Clement – head of the Department of Special Collections at the University of Kansas – explained that the Bible was not originally written in English.
Instead, he pointed to the Christian allegory Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan, first published in 1678, as the title holder of both the most printed and most translated English book, according to ABC News on Monday.
Pilgrim's Progresswas first translated into Dutch but has since been translated into more than 100 languages.
The book was written by John Bunyan who spent most of his life in jail because he refused to deny his faith and pledge allegiance to the Church of England. He wrote Pilgrim's Progress while in jail.
Perhaps more interestingly, however, is that these two Christian books along with The Purpose Driven Life by Pastor Rick Warren together hold some of the world records for best-selling books in history.
The Bible, with an estimated over 6 billion copies "sold" (publishers say there is no way to track exact copies sold in its lifetime), is by far the best-selling and most translated book in the world.
Meanwhile, the more contemporary Christian book, The Purpose Driven Life, is the best selling hardback in U.S. history with more than 30 million copies sold and translated into over 50 languages, according to its publisher Zondervan.
"People are surprised when they hear that the Bible is not only the best-selling book of all-time, but also the best-selling book every year," said Paul J. Caminiti, vice president and publisher of Bibles at Zondervan, to The Christian Post.
Zondervan is both the world's leading Bible publisher and the publisher of The Purpose Driven Life.
"Who would have ever thought that a book about finding purpose in one's life would give Harry Potter a run for his money?" commented Caminiti. "All of this illustrates that people are incurably spiritual, and the best-seller list is further proof."
More recently, however, militant, atheist writers have been making an all-out assault on religious faith and reaching the top of best-seller lists. While some say liberal outrage over the policies of the nation's born-again president is partly fueling sales, the Rev. Douglas Wilson, senior fellow in theology at New Saint Andrews College, a Christian school in Moscow, Idaho, sees the increase of anti-religion books as a sign of secular panic.
Nonbelievers are finally realizing that, contrary to what they were taught in college, faith is not dead, he told the Associated Press.
According to Lynn Garrett, senior religion editor for Publishers Weekly, religion has been one of the fastest-growing categories in publishing in the last 15 years.
Christian Post reporter Eric Young in Washington contributed to this report.