I have wanted a Geneva Bible for more years than I can remember and finally one is available on Kindle with good ratings that I can afford. I’d like to have a paper copy but at this moment in time I am pleased with my kindle version.
My wish for a Geneva Bible began when I read that more than 80% of language of the Geneva Bible was from Tyndale AND that large protions of KJV were Geneva. I became interested in comparing the differences..
Then this in different words but over & over again:
In fact, one of the greatest ironies of history, is that Protestants of all denominations today embrace the King James Version of the Bible (which reads 90% the same as the Geneva), even though the King James Version is not a Protestant Bible (it’s Anglican / Church of England).
Did you know that the Geneva Bible:
- was written 51 years before the KJV
- was the Bible used by William Shakespeare (we are often told he used the KJV but that is not true)
- also the Bible of John Milton and John Bunyan (Pilgrim’s Progress)
- was the Bible taken on the Mayflower
- is considered the first study Bible because it came with study guides, cross-references to other relevant verses, introductions to each book, maps, tables, illustrations, indexes and other features
- was the first Bible were ALL the Old Testament was translated directly from Hebrew
- used verse numbers
- had “elaborate” margin commentaries – which is one reason it was unpopular with English royalty and Catholics too.
What did King James do differently?
- the translators were all from the Church of England & King James gave them instructions intended to insure that the new version would conform to the Church of England’s ecclesiology – he wanted his Bible to support the structure of the Church and the belief in ordained clergy.
Ecclesiology: In its theological sense, ecclesiology deals with the church’s origin, its relationship to Jesus, its role in salavation, its discipline, its destiny, and its leadership. Since different ecclesiologies give shape to very different institutions, the word may also refer to a particular church or denomination’s character, self-described or otherwise – hence phrases such as Roman Catholic ecclesiology, Lutheran ecclesiology, and ecumenical ecclesiology.
- Nothing that would “go against” the belief of “the divine right of kings” which meant that (next)
- There would be no marginal notes. The notes were often “offensive” to the king. Brief notes were allowed “only for the explanation of the Hebrew or Greek words, which cannot without some circumlocution, so briefly and fitly be expressed in the text.”
- Exodus 1:19, where the Geneva Bible had commended the example of civil disobedience showed by the Hebrew midwives,
- II Chronicles 15:16, where the Geneva Bible had criticized King Asa for not having executed his idolatrous grandmother, Queen Maachah.
Need it be said that the Geneva Bible had as many notes as there was room for them? Taking away the marginal notes was a huge problem for the church leaders. The leaders had been using notes (not just in the Bible) for centuries to clarify word meanings and commentaries so there was no misunderstanding exaclty what was meant.
Here’s an example:
It is interesting to note that the Geneva Reformers- men such as John Calvin – expressed opinions in the marginal notes that would be simply unacceptable to the “scholars” of today. For example, the passage in Genesis 12:2-3, that reads:
“And I will make of thee a great nation, and will bless thee, and make thy name great, and thou shalt be a blessing.I will also bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee, and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”
Our ministers today tell us this refers to Jews. That isn’t the way the Geneva translators understood it:
The world shall recover by thy seed, which is Christ, the blessings that were lost in Adam.
Twentieth century scholarly works, such as the Scofield Reference Bible, published by Oxford University Press, hold that the 38th Chapter of Ezekiel refers to an invasion of Jerusalem by Russian armies leading the Northern European powers. John Calvin and his cohorts, who annotated the Geneva Bible, understood it a little differently:
Signifying all the people of the world should assemble themselves against the Church and Christ their head.
A last thought on those margin notes:
The marginal notes of the Geneva Bible enraged the Catholic Church, since the
notes deemed the act of confession to men – the Catholic Bishops – as
unjustified by Holy Script. Man should confess to God only; man’s private life
was man’s private life. The notes also infuriated King James, since they allowed
disobedience to tyrannical kings. King James went so far as to make ownership of
the Geneva Bible a felony. He then proceeded to make his own version of the
Bible, but without the marginal notes that had so disturbed him.
Later the two Bibles were commonly known as the Bible with notes (Geneva) and the Bible without notes (KJV)
In reality the two Bibles are vary similar – The Geneva is more direct and seems more modern.
Here’s is an interesting bit from Wikipedia.
As can be seen by the text below, Daniel chapter 4 in the Geneva Bible appears to have removed two verses. In reality, the Geneva Bible places those two verses at the end of chapter 3, as the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin verses all did. It wasn’t until the King James Version that those verses were placed with chapter 4 as opposed to chapter 3:
|Geneva Bible – Daniel 3
||King James Bible – Daniel 3
||Then the King promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babel.
||Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.
||King James Bible – Daniel 4
||Nebuchad-nezzar King unto all people, nations and languages, that dwell in all the world, Peace be multiplied unto you:
||Nebuchad-nezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth, Peace be multiplied unto you.
||I thought it good to declare the signes and wonders, that the hie God hath wrought toward me.
||I thought it good to shew the signes, and wonders, that the high God hath wrought toward me.
||How great are his signes, and how mightie are his wonders! his kingdome is an everlasting kingdome, and his dominion is from generation to generation.
||How great are his signes? and how mighty are his wonders? his kingdome is an everlasting kingdome, and his dominion is from generation to generation.
|Geneva Bible – Daniel 4
||I Nebuchad-nezzar being at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace,
||I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace.
||Saw a dreame, which made me afraide, and the thoughtes upon my bed, and the visions of mine head troubled me.
||I saw a dreame which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed, and the visions of my head troubled me.
||Therefore made I a decree, that they should bring all the wise men of Babel before mee, that they might declare unto me the interpretation of the dreame.
||Therefore made I a decree, to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before mee, that they might make knowen unto me the interpretation of the dreame.
According to one of the site giving the history of the Geneva Bible:
The Crosswalks version of the Geneva Bible is not a Geneva Bible.
All Geneva Bibles at Genesis 3:7 should read ...and made themselves breeches. Not aprons as the Crosswalk Geneva
version and KJV have.
Sometimes the Geneva Bible is known as the “Breeches” Bible.
I have also read that “the Puritans asked for a new Bible” & that THEY pushed the king for a new version. King James…anyone EVER push him? A truly despicable man but it’s late & I don’t want to enter that debate except to say the problems the Purtians had was not with the Geneva Bible (it was written by “their own” after all) but with the Bishop’s Bible & the Great Bibles.
…Sooner or Later…