The History of the Bible Part 10: The Geneva Bible (1560)

Cover of Geneva Bible (1560)

In 1543 the Parliament passed a law forbidding the lower classes from reading the

King Edward VI (reign 1547-1553)

Tyndale bible. King Henry VIII back to RCC added that no man or woman was to receive, have, take, or keep Tyndale or Coverdale’s New Testament. The reformation bibles were being ceremoniously burnt in England. The Great Bible probably because of its large and inconvenient size for personal use was the only English bible being allowed in the churches. Henry VIII died in 1547 and Edward VI took the throne and reversed the trend of restricting bibles. During Edward’s seven year reign many editions of Tyndale, Matthew, Coverdale and the Great Bible were reprinted.

In 1553 Queen Mary Tudor also known as Bloody Mary came to throne and

Queen Mary Tudor (reign 1553-1558)

persecution of protestants resumed. The Great Bible again being the only English bible to remain in English churches.  Queen Mary died in 1558 and Queen Elizabeth I took the throne reversing the Pro-Roman Catholic policies.

During the reign of Mary Tudor, William Whittingham an instructor at All Souls College in Oxford and relative of John Calvin produced an English version of the New Testament in 1557. He got help from other scholars and took on a revision of the entire bible. This revision became known as the Geneva Bible and was published in 1560. It contained a dedication to Queen Elizabeth I.

The scholars working with Whittingham did a through revision of the great bible paying particular attention to the books that Tyndale did not translate. Since they had never been translated straight from Hebrew, some of the unclear English was due to Hebrew Idioms. The apocrypha was included but was separated with inscription saying these were not of the same authority. This bible was also the first with numbered verses. The Geneva Bible contained many controversial marginal notes. The notes supported a clearly Calvinistic doctrine and also contained anti Roman Catholic sentiments.

This is the bible that the Pilgrims brought to America on the Mayflower.

John 3:16 The Geneva Bible

For God so loued the worlde, that hee hath giuen his onely begotten Sonne, that whosoeuer beleeueth in him, should not perish, but haue euerlasting life.

The Lord’s Prayer from The Geneva bible (Matthew 6:9-13)

After this maner therefore pray ye, Our father which art in heauen, halowed be thy name. Thy Kingdome come. Thy will be done euen in earth, as it is in heauen. Giue vs this day our dayly bread. And forgiue vs our dettes, as we also forgiue our detters. And leade vs not into tentation, but deliuer vs from euill: for thine is the kingdome, and the power, and the glorie for euer. Amen.

Page from Geneva bible showing mariginal notes (click for larger image)

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One Response to The History of the Bible Part 10: The Geneva Bible (1560)

  1. Oluyemi says:

    charges although I still beivlee she must have been ambitious- whether it was due to her religious convictions or not. Love your wording that Henry 8th was repulsive & ungodly- do agree. And it’s always been my belief that the magnificence of Elizabeth I came from her mother- not the father. I do not call myself a Christian- but obviously- Anne was the only godly person in that marriage.

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