Review: 1560 Geneva Bible

Welcome to The Braided Circle,

Introduction

The slipcover is cream and muted green with a plate on the front of the slipcover and a summary of the 1560 Geneva Bible on the back of the slipcover. The plate displays a print of the nation of Israel crossing the Red Sea. Upon removing the slipcover and you are greeted with a light brown hardcover book.

The Geneva Bible is The Bible of the Protestant Reformation. The uniqueness of the 1560 Geneva Bible is what first drew me to peruse the book. Inside, I found prints, leafs not pages, old English predating the Authorized Version of the King James Bible by 51 years, and study notes. And then there is the history of the Geneva Bible and all that went into producing it.

This is one of the available versions that came on the Mayflower with the Pilgrims when they landed at Plymouth Rock. Granted the King James version was available to the English Puritans, this version was seen as the Bible of the English King and the state Church of England which had been persecuting them. The prints that are found throughout this Bible are called wood cut illustrations, it refers to the wood carved plates used in the early printing presses that were used to make the images.

The translators were in Geneva Switzerland they included John Calvin, Theodore Beza, William Whittingham, Myles Coverdale, Christopher Goodman, Anthony Gilby, Thomas Sampson, and William Cole. King James stated at the Hampton Court Conference, “I disliked the Geneva Bible and made his views clearly known at the conference: “I think that of all [English Bibles], that of Geneva is the worst.” He was not in favor of a study Bible that did not agree with his beliefs or the beliefs of the Church of England.

Thesis

The old English words at the time of the printing at times varied from one another.

Take for example “eyes”and “eies”. Also, “Marie” instead of “Mary”. And “days,” “dayes,” “daies,” and “dais”. And, “could” may be represented with “could,” “coulde,” or “colde”, regarding “colde” it can also mean “cold”.

Then there is the first “s” of many words that looks like a lowercase “f” without the cross bar. And many many words have “ie” instead of “y”. And to really throw those of us that understand the English of the King James Bible at the very least; “y” with an “e” over it is ye which as you know can be translated to “you” or “the”. However, there is “y” with a “t” over it, “w” with a “c” over it, “w” with a “t” over it, “y” with a “u” over it are; that, which, with, and thou.

It needs to be mentioned that this is a study Bible.

Between the cover you will find:

  • Preface
  • Introduction to the Facsimile Edition
  • Bibliography
  • Names and Order of the Books: 
  • THE BOOKES OF THE OLDE TESTAMENT
  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • Leuiticus
  • Nombres
  • Deuteronomie
  • Ioshua
  • Iudges
  • Ruth
  • I Samuel
  • 2 Samuel
  • I Kings
  • 2 Kings
  • I Chronicles
  • 2 Chronicles
  • The prayer of Manasseh, apocryche
  • Ezra
  • Nehemiah
  • Ester
  • Iob
  • Psalmes
  • Prouerbes
  • Ecclesiastes
  • The song of Salomon
  • Isaiah
  • Ieremiah
  • Lamentations
  • Ezekiel
  • Daniel
  • Hosea
  • Ioel
  • Amos
  • Obadiah
  • Ionah
  • Micah
  • Nahum
  • Habakkuk
  • Zephaniah
  • Haggai
  • Zechariah
  • Malachi

THE BOOKES CALLED APOCRYPHA

  • I Esdras
  • 2 Esdras
  • Tobit
  • Iudeth
  • The rest of Esther
  • Wisdome
  • Ecclesiasticus
  • Baruc with the epistle of Ieremiah
  • The song of the thre children
  • The storie of Susanna
  • The idole Bel and the dragon
  • I Maccabees
  • 2 Maccabees

THE BOOKES OF THE NEWE TESTAMENT

  • Matthewe
  • Marke
  • Luke
  • Iohn
  • The Actes
  • The Epistle of Paul to
    • The Romans
    • I Corinthians
    • 2 Corinthians
    • Galatians
    • Ephesians
    • Philippians
    • Colossians
    • I Thessalonians
    • 2 Thessalonians
    • I Timotheus
    • 2 Timotheus
    • Titus
    • Philemon
  • To the Ebrewes
  • The Epistle of
    • Iames
    • I Peter
    • 2 Peter
    • I Iohn
    • 2 Iohn
    • 3 Iohn
    • Iude
  • Reuelation
  • Epistle to Quene Elisabet
  • To the Reader
  • (the above mentioned books)
  • A Brief Table of the Interpretation of the Propre Names
  • A Table of the Principal Things that are Conteined in the Bible
  • A Perfite Svppvtation of the Yeres and Times from Adam unto Christ
  • The order of the yeres from Pauls conversion shewing the time of his peregrination, & of his Epistles written to the Churches.

Body

In this example from the Old Testament:

Daniel 6:10; Now when Daniel understode that he had sealed the writing, he went into his house, and his windowe being open in his chamber toward Ierusalem, he kneeled upon his knees thre times a day, & prayed and praised his God, as he did afore time.

This passage from Daniel is quite famous among those that have experienced oppression over their beliefs. What Daniel did was defiant of the ruler, which Scripture says God appoints our rulers and we are to obey them. Yet, we know that we are to obey man’s laws as long as it does not go against God and his Law. And prayer is one of the many things that God has commanded us to do. He has given us options on where we do it.

In this example from the Apocrypha:

Ecclesiasticus 40:27; The feare of the Lord is a pleasant garden of blessing, and there is nothing so beautiful as it is.

This verse like much of the Apocrypha and Manasseh is of extra benefit in a study Bible such as the Geneva. It gives more insight into what the writers of the Bible thought about God and life. The writer of Ecclesiasticus gave us many insightful and short messages on living life and viewing God in ways that we do not see elsewhere in Scripture.

And in this example from the New Testament:

1 Timothy 6:10; For the desire of money is the roote of all euil, which while some lusted after, thei erred from the faith, & perced them selues through with many sorowes.

And then in this example from the New Testament we see it’s the desire of money, or coveting, or if you will, lust, after money as being the root of evil, not love. It’s not a matter of love as what is found in Scriptural translations to be love:

  • Agapeo: to be fond of someone, such as a friend, especially God.
  • Agape: affection or benevolence towards someone, especially God.
  • Philadelphia: brotherly or sisterly towards other believers.
  • Phileo: being affectionate, being kind, or being fond of someone, especially a friend.

In all three examples I did what I could to use the same letter as what is in the original copy of the Geneva, alas, computers of today do not match the lettering from four hundred sixty years ago. However, I believe you have the idea.

Conclusion

The reason behind sharing with you today the Geneva Bible is this:

  • It was the first completed full Bible,
  • It was the first study Bible,
  • It is the unique use of words that actually are closer to the original,
  • It has been found that many do not like it because it doesn’t always agree with the King James version (there is an 87% match between the 1560 Geneva Bible and the 1611 King James Bible), yet matches later translations,
  • It was translated by people that believed in freedom of religion,
  • And, we are translating it to write the One Simple Truth translation.

Too Busy Being Alive, CD VanWoert