ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Two Stories of Bible Thief: Thou Shalt not Steal - A True Story

Updated on April 22, 2022
Esrom Art profile image

Esrom Aritonang enjoys reading and sharing funny, inspirational, and thought-provoking quotes.

Have you ever imagined stealing a Bible and getting caught? The police then dragged you to court. The judge may feel sorry for you, but steal is steal --even if it's just a bible. You were also sentenced according to the law.

Singapore is a modern small country in Southeast Asia
Singapore is a modern small country in Southeast Asia

Gifts for Bible Thief

The first story happened in Singapore, in October 2007. It's been a long time, but the story has unique and universal value. Singapore is a modern small country in Southeast Asia. I tried to summarize some of the sources and rewrite it. The main source was taken from several sources published in Singapore.

A man named Tan Jit Liang, 26 years old, stole a Bible from a bookstore. Because of his suspicious attitude, a sales assistant intercepted him after leaving the store. Tan hugs the haversack and defends himself. After checking his bag, the sales assistant found an unpaid bible. Tan was handed over to the police.

Thou shalt not steal - Exodus 20:15
Thou shalt not steal - Exodus 20:15 | Source

Tan was brought before a judge in court. Community Court judge Bala Reddy sentenced him to four months in prison. However, many media reported this case because the judge gave Tan a gift: a new bible.

After Tan received his gift, the judge told him to open a page in the Old Testament. What did the judge say after Tan opened the page? The judge said a simple piece of advice, which sounded "funny", but was actually deep and touching.

“You will see at page 65 that it says: ‘Thou shalt not steal’” said the Judge Bala Reddy. “While you are in prison, sit in prison and read the Bible, and ensure that you don't come before the courts again,'' the judge said emphatically.

Judges are not seeking popularity with his decision, nor intend to dramatize the case to attract the media attention. The judge made the decision because Tan was convicted of theft several times, including stealing books. "Now you have gone on to steal the Bible," said Judge Bala Ready.

What is the reason of this man to stolen the Bible? Why not something quite expensive? Based on his confession to the psychiatrist who examined him, Tan stole a new one because his Bible was torn and tattered one.

He was stealing the New International Version Bible and a Bible cover which cost Singapore dollars $99 and put him in jail him for four months. How much is it? It’s about $71 USD or 63 Euro.

The Return of the 200 Years Old Bible

In early December 2013, the Holy Trinity Church in the coastal resort of Hastings, England, received a package. The church treasurer named Simon Scott opened the large leather package.

He was surprised, it contained an old bible. The 200-year-old Bible has returned by the thief. The Bible has been stolen for decades. The following story is summarized from news published in the UK.

Who is the thief? The package was sent from Germany, which was accompanied by a letter. There is only a return address, no sender's name. Anonymous note in the letter is a recognition from the thief who did not have the courage to admit his name.

The old Bible belongs Holy Trinity Church which 200 years old
The old Bible belongs Holy Trinity Church which 200 years old | Source

He wanted to return the Bible, but lacked of courage. Finally, after retirement, based on his quote: "I've never managed to pluck up the courage to come and hand it back personally. But now that I've retired, I've definitely decided to get on the right side of things."

At least four decades, the German man was haunted by bad feelings. "Whenever I came across the Bible I would have this guilty conscience about doing it". He stole the Bible in 1971 and owned it for a long time: 42 years.

"Whenever I came across the Bible I would have this guilty conscience about doing it". He stole the Bible in 1971 and owned it for a long time: 42 years.

How did it happen? In 1971, the man and his wife visited the Hastings, England, to attend an English language course. But he was disappointed because the instructor was old and didn’t have teaching skills. Some classes are held in the church. Feeling disappointed, he ventured to take one of the bible "as compensation for the poor course".

"I'll read it at home later," he thought. But in fact he never did. His wife was very angry about it. This big book is actually not easy to steal because it usually has sat on a lectern in the church.

Holy Trinity Church in the coastal resort of Hastings, England
Holy Trinity Church in the coastal resort of Hastings, England

Unlike the Bible thief from Singapore who were sentenced to four months, the Holy Trinity Church did not try to find and sue this German man. Church treasurer Simon Scott explained that the church had sent a reply to the anonymous address.

The church thanked him for returning the Bible. “I think he is a God-fearing chap and this was his attempt at a confession. It must have weighed very heavily on his mind. I’m sure he will be able to rest a little easier in his bed now,” said the church treasurer.

The lucky German man. Hopefully now the old retiree can sleep soundly after feeling guilty as a Bible thief for over forty years.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)