1613 Geneva Bible, "Breeches" Bible, Robert Barker, London $1,250
1613 Geneva Bible
Printed by Robert Barker, London
Binding rebacked with new end papers attached…secure binding…pages bright and clean…pages cropped at top with loss of text…lacking general title page
The Geneva Bible had a significant influence on the heritage of our Christianity and the foundation of America.
This Bible was not an authorized edition, but rather a translation purely
"for the people and by the people"
to proclaim the Truth of
In 1553, Mary Tudor, also known as "Bloody Mary", came to power in England determined to reverse the Reformation and bring Roman Catholicism back to total power. A large-scale persecution of Protestants began with such ferocity that Christians began to exit England in large numbers. In Geneva, the influx of refugee believers from England inspired John Calvin and Scottish reformer John Knox to help support the production of an English Bible without permission from England or Rome.
Among those who came to Geneva on account of the Marian persecution was William Whittingham. Having escaped England, he took refuge in Frankfort, but there was still trouble, therefore, he removed to Geneva, the center of the Protestant movement and home of John Calvin and Theodore Beza. John Knox, who had fled England to Geneva, received a letter from his wife?s mother still in Scotland. Knox, hearing the distress of his wife?s family, left Geneva for Scotland in August 1555. With the absence of John Knox, Calvin asked William Whittingham to become the successor. Whittingham was the agreed upon scholar of the group of reformers in Geneva, therefore he undertook and completed the translation of the New Testament in English in 1557. This work, like Tyndale, was done by him alone and in exile. A translation, not like those we have seen previous which were approved by the royal crown, but an illegal translation for the people of the Reformation. This 1557 New Testament was the first Bible to contain verse divisions, starting a fresh line with each number, and it was printed in a more readable font.
The 1550 and 1551 Greek text of Stephanus was greatly considered in the translation, as well as the English of Tyndale of 1534 and the Matthew's Bible of 1537.
After the New Testament was published, Whittingham continued his work on the Old Testament. After the death of Queen Mary in 1558, and the succession to the throne of Queen Elizabeth, many reformers moved back to England. However, Whittingham stayed in Geneva to complete the whole Geneva Bible and bring it to print in 1560. This translation would become the Bible of choice for English Protestants for the next 100 years. The Geneva Bible far exceeded the Great Bible in epic proportions. Not only did the Geneva Bible employ much superior English, it was the first English Bible to use the modern chapter and verse divisions and an easy-to-read typeface rather than the gothic-style type that made reading challenging. It contained notes on difficult words and phrases as well as strong Calvinistic theological explanations, making it the very first ?study Bible.?
The Geneva Bible continued to be printed for many years after, and it was even allowed to be printed in England starting in 1575 under the rule of the Protestant Queen Elizabeth. This 1582 Geneva Bible Leaf is an example of such printing.