The Bible That Is The Holy Scriptures

Contained In The Old & New Testament

Geneva Version


The Geneva Bible following the Great Bible of 1539, is one of the most historically significant translations of the Bible into the English language, preceding the King James Version by 51 years. During the reign of Mary Tudor, Queen of England, {1553–58, who was committed to eliminating Protestant influences in England and restoring Roman Catholicism as the official religion,} a number of key Protestant scholars from England & Scotland {to escape persecution} fled to Geneva, Switzerland; at that time, the French City of refuge for adherents of the Reformation Movement, where John Calvin, and later, Theodore Beza, were delegated the spiritual oversight of those who sought to conform their lives to the principles of the Gospel of God’s Grace in Christ. Among these scholars who came to Geneva was William Whittingham, {in 1556 elected an elder of the English-speaking church at Geneva, and in 1559 succeeded John Knox as minister,} who supervised the Translation now known as the Geneva Bible, {based on Greek and Hebrew manuscripts and a revision of William Tyndale’s New Testament, which first appeared in 1526,} in collaboration with Myles Coverdale, John Knox, Christopher Goodman, Anthony Gilby, Thomas Sampson, and William Cole. Whittingham was directly responsible for the New Testament, which was complete and published in 1557, whilst Gilby oversaw the translation of the Old Testament, being the first English translation in which all of the Old Testament was translated directly from Hebrew manuscripts. Upon the death of Queen Mary most of the exiles at Geneva returned to England, but Whittingham remained to complete the translation of what would become recognized as the Geneva Bible. In this version of the Holy Scriptures the old black-letter type was abandoned for Roman characters, chapters were for the first time divided into verses, cross-reference verse citations were added, and it was printed in quarto instead of in folio. It also contained an extensive collection of marginal notes, with numerous contributions by Beza, along with other Reformers like Calvin, Knox, Coverdale, Whittingham and Gilby, in attempts to more clearly explain the text. The Bible in its complete form {Old & New Testament} was printed at Geneva by Rowland Hall in 1560, and at once became the most popular version of the Bible in England. More than sixty editions were published before the appearance of the Authorized Version in 1611. It was the primary English Bible used by 16th-century English Protestant Reformers and was the Bible on which most Englishmen in Elizabethan England were brought up; and even after the appearance of the Authorized Version in 1611 continued to be used by many English Dissenters, and, in fact, still respected by Oliver Cromwell’s soldiers at the time of the English Civil War, 1642–1651.