If you’re at all interested in Reformed theology, the Geneva Bible, part of the English Bibles Collection, is an important resource to add to your library. It was the Bible read by the Puritans and the original study Bible of the English-speaking Reformers. It’s also one of our most requested Bible translations, and digitizing it will be no small project.
Why the Geneva Bible was translated
In 1553, Queen Mary ascended the British throne, which began a period of intense persecution of Protestants in England. More than 700 people fled England to escape persecution and settled in and around Geneva, Switzerland, in 1555. The refugees included Miles Coverdale, John Knox, and William Whittingham.
Geneva in the 1550s was the center of Reformed Protestantism. And because of the presence of Theodore Beza, it was also a growing center of biblical scholarship.
While there, the exiles began to see the need for a new translation of the Bible in their own language. The New Testament was finished in 1557, and the complete Bible—along with a revised New Testament—was finished in 1560.
The Geneva Bible becomes the Bible of the common people
The exiles began returning to England in 1558 when Elizabeth I ascended the throne, and they brought their Bible with them.
The Geneva Bible soon became the prominent Bible translation for English-speaking Reformers. More than 140 editions were printed between 1560 and 1644. It was the Bible used by the Puritans, so when you’re reading the Geneva Bible, you’re reading the Bible the Puritans read. The Parliament of Scotland even passed a law mandating that every home contain a copy of the Geneva Bible. And despite Shakespeare’s long association with the King James Version, the translation he used was actually the Geneva Bible.
The Geneva Bible also had a lasting influence on what later became the most popular English Bible translation—the King James Version. Although King James, in 1604, called the Geneva Bible the worst of all Bibles (one of the reasons he authorized the new translation that now bears his name), C. Butterworth has argued that 19% of the wording of the King James Version comes from the Geneva Bible.
How did the Geneva Bible get so popular?
What made the Geneva Bible so popular in Protestant circles was the notes. In fact, it’s not too much of an exaggeration to say that the Geneva Bible was the original study Bible of English-speaking Reformers.
The notes are massive—roughly 300,000 words, approximately one-third of the length of the Bible text itself.
James B. Williams has argued that the notes of the Geneva Bible made it popular in the sixteenth century for the same reason the Scofield Reference Bible—with its notes—became popular among dispensationalists in the twentieth century.
The notes reflect the influence of Calvin’s preaching and the exiles’ theological views. Calvin even wrote the introduction to the Bible. Ezra Abbott has written that “all the features of [Calvin’s] theological, ecclesiastical, political, and social system are accordingly reflected in the marginal annotations of the English Bible that issued from the city of his residence.”
4 benefits of the Logos edition of the Geneva Bible
- Get the best price. Most print editions of the Geneva Bible are around $30. However, with Logos, $30 gets you not only the Geneva Bible, but 26 additional Bible translations as part of the English Bible Collection. This collection contains numerous important English Bible translations, such as the Wycliffe Bible, the Tyndale Bible, the Matthew Bible, the Coverdale Bible, the Bishops’ Bible, and several others. This price is available only as long as this collection is on Community Pricing, so you need to bid now to get it at this price.
- Access the Geneva Bible on mobile devices. With the Logos edition, you’ll get the most advanced digital version of the Geneva Bible ever created—and you can take it with you on your iPhone, iPad, or Android phone or tablet.
- Take notes and highlights. In Logos, you can mark up the text and take notes on any device, and then access all your notes and highlights later at Documents.Logos.com.
- Do in-depth comparison between Bible translations. You can use the Text Comparison tool to do in-depth comparison between the translations in the English Bible Collection—and access amazing visuals to help you understand the data.
Place your bid now!
The best part of all? You get to help pick the price!
Head over to the product page and enter the price you’d be willing to pay for the Geneva Bible and the rest of the Bibles in this collection. Whether you want the text and study notes the Puritans used, you’re interested in Bible translation, or you simply want additional translations to aid your own Scripture study, this collection is a must-have. For a limited time, you can get it at an unbeatable price.
It’s a massive undertaking to digitize these works, so place your bid right now to help move the project forward.