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Geneva Bible

The Geneva Bible was the first English Bible to be fully translated from the original languages.  Some of the finest Protestant scholars of the day worked for years on its translation.  Fleeing the Roman Catholic persecutions under “Bloody Mary,” Queen of England, many Protestant leaders flocked to Geneva, Switzerland.  By the 1550s, this place of refuge had become a center for Biblical scholarship.  “It was there that a number of leading lights in Protestantism gathered to undertake a fresh translation of the scriptures into English, beginning in 1556.”  (The Geneva Bible, 1560 ed., front jacket flap, Hendrickson Bibles.)

The Geneva Bible is the only Bible ever able to outsell and exceed the popularity of the King James Bible, as it did in the early 1600’s until its printing ceased in 1644. 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).

Most Protestants have never even heard of the Bible of their own heritage: the Geneva Bible. It was produced by John Calvin, John Knox, Myles Coverdale, John Foxe, & other English refugees in ever-neutral Geneva, Switzerland fleeing the persecution of Roman Catholic Queen “Bloody” Mary in England. Mary would not tolerate the Protestant Geneva Bible, which proclaimed the Pope an “antichrist” in its commentarynotes [sic.]  (http://www.geneva-bible.com/geneva-bible-history.html)

The Geneva Bible’s marginal commentaries encouraged Biblical literacy by explaining various passages of Scripture.  Because these commentaries were outspokenly anti-Catholic, the Geneva Bible was viewed as a threat by both religious and political powers of the day. King James I who commissioned the translation that bears his name, was Roman Catholic.  He was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, whose persecutions of the John Knox and the Scottish Covenanters is legendary.  He nominally converted to the Church of England when he became king of England upon the death of Queen Elizabeth I.  Although the King James Bible is nearly identical in many aspects to the Geneva Bible, it was viewed with suspicion by the Protestants of his day

The Geneva Bible can be read for free on line at various websites such as Genevabible.org and BibleGateway.com.

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