The entire Geneva Bible was released in 1560. It was innovative in both text and format, and quickly became the household Bible of English speaking people. It was the first English Bible to have modern verse divisions as well as modern chapter divisions. It was the first Bible to use italics to indicate words not in the original language and the first Bible to change the values of ancient coins into English pound sterling equivalents. It was also the first to use plain Roman type, which was more readable than the old Gothic type, and it was in a handy quarto size for easy use. With prologues before each book, extensive marginal notes, and a brief concordance, the Geneva Bible was in fact the first English “study Bible.”
Between the Geneva Bible’s first edition of 1560 and its last edition in 1644, 160 editions, totaling around a half million Bibles, were produced. And for the first time common people could not only understand the words in the Bible, they could actually own one. Its widespread use first solidified the English language among the common people, not the 1611 King James Bible as many assume. Actually, the King James Bible required decades to surpass the popularity of the Geneva and supplant it from the hearts of the English speaking world. In fact, the Geneva Bible was the principal English Bible initially brought to American soil, making it the Bible that shaped early American life and impacted Colonial culture more than any other.
In this edition we have chosen not to include any commentary and simply allow the strength of the translation to come through to the reader. Yet because 450 plus years have elapsed since the original Geneva Bible, we have modernized the spelling of words. We have also bracketed and defined words and terms which are no longer commonly used or are so altered in their meaning as to be unfamiliar today.
Further, this work is not intended to replace the King James Bible, but to show how close the Geneva translation is to the King James Bible. These two Bibles are translated from the same Traditional Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek Texts. So, why was the King James Bible needed? It was because the marginal notes were “very partial,” King James said. And they were. They were completely Calvinistic and many considered the notes as a part of divine revelation, which they are not. On January 17, 1604, the motion was made and carried “…that a translation be made of the whole Bible, as consonant as can be to the original Hebrew and Greek; and this to be set out and printed without any marginal notes.” Only cross references, and word definitions and occasional variant reading were allowed.
After 85 years of and six English Bible translations (Tyndale, Coverdale, Matthews, Great, Bishops, Geneva) virtually all English Bible translation efforts cease for 274 years with the publication of the King James Bible. The King James Bible is the most popular book of all times. It has been in constant publication since 1611 with an estimated 6 billion copies being published.
The Geneva Bible, which is virtually unknown today, played an important part in American History. It was our desire to modernize the spelling and define the archaic words so the reader easily read and see why it holds such an important place in American History.
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About the Author
I have served the Lord in my local church over the years in various teaching capacities from time release classes for public high school students to youth through adults Sunday school and Bible study classes. I enjoyed being a part of an evangelist outreach team to Puerto Rico. I have as a deacon, financial secretary, and various other areas of service. I have been a member of my present church for about 14 years. At the time I was getting near retirement age and my desire was to be able to do something to help my pastor after I retired. I did not want to paint the church or shampoo the carpeting. My desire was to do some personal research that might help my pastor. Shortly after joining the church my pastor announced he was in need of some proof readers to work a modern spelling Geneva New Testament. That is what I wanted to hear. After finishing that project I asked my pastor what else I could do for him. It was at that time he asked if I would be willing to take the Geneva 1560 Old Testament and bring it up to date with current spelling of all English words. Up until that time the Geneva 1560 was only available in Old English which made it very difficult to read. I was eager to begin the work and finished it several years later. My next question, what else can I do for you, Pastor? He then suggested completing a defined edition of the Geneva 1560 Bible. By "defined" I mean words that are no longer used or have changed meanings are defined in [ ] after the word. That is what is contained in the pages of this book. Updating the Geneva 1560 Bible was a very rewarding experience for me. Not one word was added or taken away. Only the spelling of the words was changed to reflect current spelling of our English words. The project required reading through the Bible numerous time from the first word to the last and there was no skimming across the passages. In doing this work John chapter 17 became very special to me. It is Jesus prayer to His father for protection of His children, His followers, after He, Jesus, would depart this earth and return to heaven. My you be blessed by the reading and studying of the Krueger-Brown 1560 Defined Geneva Bible. I have been.
Table of Contents
Books of the Bible in Order and Alphabetically
All the books of the English New Testament
About the Editors
Where Will You Spend Eternity