The Geneva Bible and Its Influence on the King James Bible

The year 2011 brings the four hundredth anniversary of the King James Bible (1611). Numerous publications abound this year, retelling the story of the KJV as well as the impact it has had on English literature since the seventeenth century. However, what cannot be ignored as we celebrate the fine translation of the KJV is the version that preceded it, the Geneva Bible (GB). It is the purpose of this essay to briefly explore the relationship between the GB and the KJV, especially the negative and positive influence the former had on the latter.

The Geneva Bible

Marian Exiles in Geneva

The Protestant Reformation first ignited by Martin Luther in 1517 was a contagious fire, impossible to put out. To the frustration of Rome, the solas of the Reformation would not be contained with Luther in Wittenberg but would be propagated internationally by many other reformers, perhaps one of the most important being John Calvin (1509-64). Calvin brought the Reformation to Geneva and in no time at all Geneva “became a symbol of the Protestant Reformation,” a city on a hill “whose light could not be hidden.”[1] However, in contrast to the monarchies of surrounding territories, the city of Geneva stood in a unique situation as a republic, which certainly challenged the traditional establishment of church and state. Therefore, when Protestants began being persecuted not only in France but also in England, many sought safe haven in Geneva, taking advantage of the opportunity to study under Calvin. The influx of refugees was so enormous that from 1500 to 1550 the population escalated from 5,000 to 13,100. In 1560 the population had climbed to over 21,400.

While French refugees were the majority in Geneva, there were many Marian exiles as well. Protestants in England had fled to Geneva due to the persecution enforced by Mary Tudor beginning in 1553. Before Mary, Edward VI, a Protestant, invited fellow evangelicals to England, including Regius chair at Oxford Peter Martyr Vermigli and Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge Martin Bucer. However, Edward’s reign (1547-53) came to an abrupt halt at his death in 1553 and with Mary Tudor’s ascension came the establishment of Roman Catholicism and the persecution of Protestants, earning her the infamous title “Bloody Mary.” At least 800 Protestants fled to cities like Zurich or Geneva (as well as Aarau, Basel, Emden, Frankfurt and Strasbourg). The exile, which some would compare to the exile of Israel to Babylon, would last six years. Yet, these six years (1553-58) were not to be wasted but rather utilized to prepare, study and train for an awaited return to the homeland where the hopes of reformation would again grow into fruition.[2] Such was the case with those Marian exiles in Geneva. There could be no better place for preparation than Calvin’s Geneva, for, as John Knox famously said, Geneva was the most perfect school of Christ. As Alister McGrath observes, one of the most vital weapons the Marian exiles had in their efforts to one day establish a Protestant national church in England was the printing press.[3] The printing press was a tremendous resource for furthering the Reformation, as was evident with the publication of John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, an account of those Foxe knew who were martyred under Henry VIII and Mary Tudor. However, Geneva was also a “center for biblical textual scholarship which resulted in new editions of the Greek and Hebrew texts”[4] and it was the English translation of the Bible in Geneva that would be the “most important single literary production of the Marian exiles.”[5]

William Whittingham and the Geneva Bible

The Geneva Bible of 1560 was the product of William Whittingham (1524-79). Others contributed as well, including Anthony Gilby (who oversaw the translation of the OT), Thomas Sampson, Christopher Goodman, William Cole, and possibly John Knox, Laurence Tomson, and Miles Coverdale.[6] Whittingham of All Souls’ College, Oxford fled from Mary Tudor, first landing in Frankfurt. After facing discord there he eventually arrived in Geneva where an English speaking congregation was established with John Knox as pastor. Whittingham would succeed John Knox as pastor and marry Catherine Jaquemayne, the sister of Idelette de Bure, John Calvin’s wife. There was perhaps no better place to begin a new Bible translation and commentary. Geneva had the needed resources of theological treatises, biblical commentaries, and academic scholars a Bible translator would have to consult. For example, Theodore Beza, Calvin’s successor, purchased an early NT manuscript, Codex B (Cambridge Mss), and wrote a commentary on the NT titled Annotations.[7] Inspired and equipped by works like Beza’s Annotations, Whittingham published his translation of the New Testament in English in 1557, a work which relied heavily on Tyndale’s earlier translation in 1526 as well as the Latin translation of the New Testament in 1556 by Beza. The foreword to the translation was Calvin’s “Epistle,” sixteen pages on “Christ is the end of the Lawe.” Here was the beginnings of what would evolve into a translation of the entire Bible by Whittingham.

On November 17, 1558 Mary Tudor died and Elizabeth ascended to the throne, a change filled with good news for Protestant exiles as the Elizabethan “Settlement of Religion” in 1559 protected Protestants in England. Many if not most Marian exiles returned home but Whittingham, funded by John Bodley, stayed in Geneva another year and a half in order to finish his translation. Upon completion, Whittingham’s title page read as follows:

The Bible and Holy Scriptures, contained in the Old and New Testament. Translated according to the Hebrew and Greek, and conferred with the best translations in divers languages. With most profitable annotations upon all the hard places, and other things of great importance as may appear in the “Epistle to the Reader.” “Fear not, stand still, and behold the salvation of the Lord, which he will show to you this day.” Exodus xiv. 13. At Geneva. Printed by Rowland Hall. M.D.LX.

Included was a woodcut, picturing the crossing of the Red Sea. On both sides of the woodcut are biblical passages, not without political meaning for the Marian exiles. The first is from Psalm 34:19, “Great are the troubles of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth them out of all.” The second is Exodus 14:14, “The Lord shall fight for you: therefore hold you your peace.” Whittingham dedicated the Geneva Bible to Queen Elizabeth, likely comparing her to Zerubbabel, who rebuilt the Jerusalem temple after the Babylonian captivity, when he said she should be a builder of “the ruins of God’s house.” The dedication reads in part, “To the most virtuous and noble Queen Elizabeth, Queen of England, France, and Ireland, … Your humble subjects of the English Church at Geneva, wish grace and peace from God the Father through Christ Jesus our Lord.” The dedication, dated April 10, 1560, goes on to warn against the “Papistes” and the necessity of God’s Word for the “reforming of religion.” Here we see the hope of the Marian exiles for the future establishment of Protestantism in England and the instrumental role the GB could play in such a transition.

But the GB was no ordinary translation. Indeed, the translation was superior to all previous editions and the hallmark commentary became its distinguishing mark. Among others, Bruce Metzger and F. F. Bruce have observed several characteristics that set the GB apart.[8] (1) It pioneered several innovations in content and translation. For example, it used the word “church” when rendering the Greek ekklesia instead of Tyndale’s and Coverdale’s “congregation.” Also, Paul is not named the author of Hebrews and James, Peter, 1 John and Jude are for the first time called “General Epistles” rather than the usual “Catholic Epistles” which earlier translations used in the tradition of the Vulgate (cf. the KJV and RV).[9] More significantly still, the OT translation is a “thorough revision of the Great Bible, especially in those books which Tyndale had not translated.”[10] Such books had never been directly translated from the Hebrew (or Aramaic) into English. “Now the existing version of the prophetical books and the poetical and wisdom literature of the Old Testament was carefully brought into line with the Hebrew text, and even with the Hebrew idiom.”[11] (2) The GB changed several aesthetic appearances. It used readable Roman typeface rather than the obscure Gothic black typeface. It was the first to use numbered verses, each of which began a new paragraph. It was printed in small (6 ½ by 9 ¾) quarto editions and was sold at an affordable price. Also, it was the first to use italics for words added by the translators, which were designed to make the text more comprehendible to English readers. (3) The GB was in a real sense the first “study” Bible. It provided annotations in the margins of the text, explaining, commenting, and interpreting the meaning of the text for the reader. These brief annotations were designed to help the reader with “all the hard places” and aid one with “words as are obscure.” Also, the GB included prefaces to books of the Bible, chronological charts, maps, illustrations (over 33 of them), and a dictionary of over nine hundred and fifty proper names at the end. While such innovations are common to Bible readers today, in the sixteenth century they were unprecedented. But more to the point, these innovations were grounded in the theological agenda of the Reformation, namely, to accommodate God’s Word for God’s people. No where was this more obvious than in its illustrations, prefaces, annotations, and marginal notes. McGrath explains,

Those who created the Geneva Bible had absorbed Calvin’s famous maxim concerning the need to “accommodate to the ability of the individual.” If God “accommodated himself to human capacity” in communicating with humanity–for example, by using visual images, such as “God as shepherd”–why should not Bibles follow this excellent precedent? The divine sanction for explanation and illustration underlies the distinctive approach of the entire Geneva project, which aims to make the engagement with Scripture as simply as possible for the reader.[12]

The preface to the Geneva Bible makes this very point,

Whereas certain places in the books of Moses, of the Kings and Ezekiel seemed so dark that by no description they could be made easy to the simple reader; we have so set them forth with figures and notes for the full declaration thereof that they … as it were by the eye may sufficiently know the true meaning of all such places. Whereunto we have added certain maps of cosmography which necessarily serve for the perfect understanding and memory of divers places and countries, partly described and partly by occasion touched, both in the Old and New Testament.

But not only did the Geneva Bible cultivate Bible knowledge but Reformation theology as well. For example, against the Roman Catholic teaching of the day, the notes on Galatians 2:17 clearly set forth the Protestant understanding of justification by faith alone. Also, Revelation 11:7, which says “the beast that made war with the saints” is interpreted as “the Pope, which hath his power out of hell, and commeth thence.” And again, Revelation 17:4 identifies the Antichrist as the Pope (also see Revelation 13:11).[13]

Furthermore, it is no surprise that Calvin’s soteriology is evident as well in the marginalia.[14] Metzger observes that on the whole “the number of such pure Calvinistic annotations in the 1560 Bible is not so great as one might suppose would have been the case.”[15] Nevertheless, Calvinism is still present. Consider the following annotations,

[John 6:37] The gift of faith proceedeth from the free election of the Father in Christ, after which followeth necessarily everlasting life: Therefore faith in Christ Jesus is a sure witness of our election, and therefore of our glorification, which is to come.

[John 6:63] The flesh of Christ doth therefore quicken us, because he that is man, is God: which mystery is only comprehended by faith, which is the gift of God, proper only to the elect.

Moreover, the Calvinistic flavor was made evident by several changes after the 1560 edition. (1) Calvin’s theology was encouraged for study as editions of the GB between 1568 and 1570 included Calvin’s Catechisms. (2) It was Laurence Tomson (1539-1608) who added more notations to the Bible in 1576, giving the GB a more Calvinistic thrust.[16] (3) Between 1579 and 1615 many editions included “Certaine questions and answeres touching the doctrine of Predestination, the vse of God’s word and Sacraments,” a catechism of 23 questions and answers, which Metzger and others have recognized as “the most clear and naked exposition of Calvinistic doctrine that can be compressed into a small space.”[17] Following Paul in Romans 9, the question is asked “Are all ordained vnto eternal life?” to which the answer is given, “Some are vessels of wrath ordained vnto destruction, as others are vessels of mercie prepared to glory.”[18] It is no wonder why William Whitley argued that the Geneva Bible “set forth his [Calvin’s] doctrines so well that all Britain was soon Calvinist.”[19] After all, “the middle classes found in their family Bibles a positive and uncompromising statement of Calvinistic theology.”[20]

The theological marginal notes, the introductory prefaces, and the accuracy in translation combined for what Leland Ryken has said is the “most successful English Bible before the King James Bible.” Ryken gives no little praise when he says, “The superior accuracy of the Geneva translations over other sixteenth-century translations is a matter of scholarly consensus…. Whereas Tyndale’s translation, while excellent, strikes a modern reader as archaic and rough in its flow, the Geneva Bible… is surprisingly easy to read.”[21] Anti-Calvinist, H. W. Hoare even admits that the Geneva Bible was “terse and vigorous in style, literal and yet boldly idiomatic; [it] was at once a conspicuous advance on all the Biblical labours that had preceded it, and an edition which could fairly claim to be well abreast of the soundest contemporary scholarship.”[22] Such accuracy and readability should perhaps come as little surprise since Whittingham not only applied his own linguistic brilliance to the project but had John Calvin and Theodore Beza examine his translation of the NT as well.

The Geneva Bible During the Reign of Queen Elizabeth (1558-1603)

The GB was received with immediate success which would continue for the next seventy five years, as it became the Bible of the people’s choice, used in the common Christian household. Despite the efforts of some, such as Archbishop Matthew Parker (1504-75) who vied to have official status granted to the Bishop’s Bible of 1568,[23] seventy editions of the GB were published during the supremacy of Elizabeth I and 150 editions were printed between 1560 and 1644, though the GB never became the authorized version.[24] Even John Whitgift, who ordered that only the Bishop’s Bible be allowed for use in churches “found himself using the Geneva Bible in his heated controversy with the Puritan writer Thomas Cartwright.”[25] A simple comparison of editions published from 1560 to 1611 demonstrates its popularity:[26]

Tyndale’s New Testament 5
Great Bible 7
Bishops’ Bible 22
Geneva Bible over 120

Even after 1611, when the KJV was released, over sixty editions of the GB were published. Under the persecution of Archbishop Laud (1633-45), eight editions were smuggled into England. And between 1642 and 1715 five or more editions of the KJV used the Geneva annotations! John Knox adopted the GB also and the Scottish divines followed (Thomas Bassandyne and Alexander Arbuthnot), seeing to it that every able household had a copy.[27] To be sure, the 1579 Scottish edition of the GB was the first Bible to be printed in Scotland.[28] It is believed that as late as 1674 the GB was still being used in Scottish churches. The popularity of the Geneva Bible did not differ in England as exemplified in its use by William Shakespeare (d. 1616), Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), and John Bunyan (1628-88).[29] Even those Puritans who came to America made the GB their chosen translation (no little protest against King James I).[30] Therefore, McGrath is not exaggerating when he writes, “England was a Protestant nation, and the Geneva Bible was its sacred book.”[31]

The Rejection of the “Seditious” Geneva Bible by King James I

One would think, given the success of the GB, that with the arrival of James from Protestant Scotland in 1603 it would be accepted officially by the authorities. After all, its influence was overwhelming, as were its sales. However, Puritans with such hopes were seriously disappointed when King James I rejected the GB altogether. In his estimate, the GB was the worst on the market, as he made clear at the Hampton Court Conference in 1604 (“I think that of all, that of Geneva is the worst.”). Of course, his comments were not directed towards the translation as they were towards the marginal annotations. According to King James I, he saw these notes as “very partial, untrue, seditious, and savoring too much of dangerous and traitorous conceits.”[32]

James’ rejection of the GB’s annotations was rooted in his anti-Puritan, anti-Presbyterian ecclesiology. For King James, his authority should be dependent upon the bishops. No bishops, no king![33] Scottish Presbyterianism had no bishops. For King James, this was egalitarianism and republicanism at its worst, as exemplified in Calvin’s Geneva. Therefore, King James “preferred an Episcopal system, not least because of its more positive associations with the monarchy.” Consequently, episcopacy was the “safeguard to the monarchy.”[34]

But it was not just that the GB came from the republican, Presbyterian city of Geneva. It was much more. For King James, such an ecclesiology was evident in the annotations of the GB itself. McGrath has led the way in this regard, giving several examples of annotations upon texts King James disapproved of.[35] The annotations challenged the “divine right of kings,” a doctrine advocated by King James (cf. True Law of Free Monarchies of 1598; Basilikon Doron of 1598). As he says in Basilikon Doron, “God gives not Kings the style of Gods in vain, For on his throne his Sceptre do they sway; And as their subject ought them to obey, So Kings should fear and serve their God again.” The divine right of kings was foundational to monarchy. However, certain texts and annotations in the GB, which we must consider, undermined such a doctrine.

(1) Daniel 6:22 is an example of Daniel disobeying the King and being approved by God in so doing. The text states, “My just cause and uprightness in this thing in which I was charged, is approved by God.” The GB comments, “For he disobeyed the king’s wicked commandment in order to obey God, and so he did no injury to the king, who ought to command nothing by which God would be dishonoured.”

(2) Daniel 11:36 is a second text where the king is viewed as a tyrant. Notice the comment, “So long the tyrants will prevail as God has appointed to punish his people: but he shows that it is but for a time.” Surely, the political application to the sixteenth and early seventeenth century is impossible to ignore. Like Israel, God’s people, the Puritans were also being punished for their iniquities by wicked rulers. However, in due time, God would bring down the king. McGrath observes that the “Genevan notes regularly use the word ‘tyrant’ to refer to kings; the King James Bible never uses this word–a fact noted with approval as much as relief by many royalists at this point.”[36]

(3) Exodus 1:19 is yet a third example where Pharaoh wickedly commands the Hebrew midwives to kill all male Hebrew newborns. The midwives refused and even lied saying the “Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them.” The GB says that their disobedience in this act was lawful (though it qualifies that their deception was evil). Tricking the tyrant is allowed by the law. McGrath draws the parallel to the seventeenth century, “As radical Protestant factions, such as the Puritans, began to view James as their oppressor, the suggestion that it was lawful to disobey him became increasingly welcome to Puritans and worrying to James.”[37]

(4) 2 Chronicles 15:15-17 was yet another text with annotations King James disliked. Here King Asa discovers his own mother, Maachah, committing idolatry and so he removes her and cuts down her idol, burning it. Yet, he did not remove the high places nor kill her. The GB comments, however, that King Asa did not go far enough. He “showed that he lacked zeal, for she should have died both by the covenant… and by the law of God, but he gave place to foolish pity and would also seem after a sort to satisfy the law.” King Asa’s lack of zeal contributed to his “negligence of his officers” and “his people’s superstition.” McGrath again observes that the parallel to King James is hard to avoid. James’ mother, Mary, Queen of Scots, had been executed by Elizabeth I. Without a doubt, James would have cringed at such commentary. Moreover, the commentary is clear that even the king is subservient to the law. His own pity cannot get in the way of his religious commitments.[38]

(5) Psalm 105:15 is the last text we will consider, “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” While the GB saw the anointed here as referring to God’s people corporately, the KJV identified the anointed as the king himself. McGrath observes, “The text was thus interpreted [by the GB] in a way that made no reference whatsoever to the ‘divine right of kings.’ According to the Geneva Bible the text was actually, if anything, a criticism of kings, in that their right to harm the people of God was being absolutely denied.”[39]

To conclude, the implication of these texts and annotations is very lucid: the king must be disobeyed if he violates the will of God and commands us to do likewise. McGrath summarizes the issue insightfully, “James I held that kings had been ordained by God to rule the nations of the world, to promote justice, and to dispense wisdom. It was, therefore, imperative that kings should be respected and obeyed unconditionally and in all circumstances. The ample notes provided by the Geneva Bible taught otherwise. Tyrannical kings should not be obeyed; indeed, there were excellent reasons for suggesting that they should be overthrown.”[40]

The Influence the Geneva Bible had on the King James Bible

Despite King James I’s ridicule of the GB, not even the KJV could escape the influence of the GB. As Dan Danner states, it is generally recognized that the GB “contributed more to the composition of the King James version of 1611, perhaps with the exception of the work of William Tyndale, than any other English version of the Bible.”[41] Metzger elaborates, giving specific textual examples,

More than once the Geneva Bible contributed to the excellence of the King James version. In fact, according to Charles C. Butterworth, “in the lineage of the King James Bible this volume [the 1560 Bible] is by all means the most important single volume.” Time and again the 1611 translators reproduced a felicitous expression which Whittingham and his fellow exiles had struck off first. Examples include: “He smote them hippe and thigh” (Judg. 15:8; Coverdale had “both upon the shulders and loynes”); “remember now they Creator in the daies of thy youth… . Vanitie of vanities, saith the Preacher” (Eccl. 12:1 and 8); “This is my beloued Sonne, in whome I am wel pleased” (Matt. 3:17); “Except a man be borne againe” (Jn. 3:3); “a cloude of witnesses” (Heb. 12:1).[42]

Metzger observes the inevitable reliance the KJV had on the GB. Some estimate that twenty percent of the KJV came directly from the GB.[43] Lloyd Berry, building off of Butterworth, gives the following comparison:[44]

Wycliffe versions, including English Sermons  4%
Tyndale’s work, including the Matthew Bible  18%
Coverdale’s work, including Great Bibles  13%
Geneva Bible and Geneva New Testament  19%
Bishops’ Bible and its revision  4%
All other versions before 1611  3%

Total  61%

King James Bible, new material  39%

Total  100%

It is not surprising then, as already mentioned, that between 1642 and 1715 five or more editions of the KJV used the Geneva annotations! Danner explains,

Ironically, even after 1611, English churchmen of both ranks, including James’ most trusted scholars, continued to use the Geneva Bible in their publications and sermons. The difficulty the A.V. [Authorized Version] had in dislodging the popularity of the Geneva Bible is perhaps best typified in the “The Translators to the Reader” which prefaced the original edition in 1611; the quotations are from the Geneva Bible! Clearly, along with Foxe’s Acts and Monuments, the Geneva Bible was one of the two most popular books in Tudor-Stuart England.[45]

Furthermore, as Ira Martin observes, “the Geneva Bible as a whole has shown itself to be easily the most accurate and scholarly English translation up to the time of the King James Bible.”[46] Martin’s point is made evident when one considers how between the years 1611 and 1630 twenty-seven out of fifty sermons were identified as using the GB as their chosen translation for preaching. The sermons of Bishop Lancelot Andrewes, the chief KJV reviser, and Bishop William Laud are included among these! Amazingly, only five sermons used the Bishops’ Bible and of what remained half used the KJV and the other half their own translation.[47] From these statistics Daniell concludes, “The influence of the Geneva Bible is incalculable.”[48]

Despite its influence, still there remained a vast difference between the GB and the KJV, especially in method. As mentioned, the GB saw its purpose in not only providing a translation but accompanying that translation with explanatory notes. This is especially seen in the OT poetic and prophetic literature, which is difficult to understand. Not only were interpretive notes provided but cross-references. While this may appear a minor detail, it showed that “Scripture speaks within itself: the Word of God is one.”[49] Take Genesis 6-7 for example. As Daniell explains, “The cross-reference to the well-known eleventh chapter of Hebrews lifts Noah from a primitive tale to a model ‘of righteousness by faith’ (Hebrews 11:7), as he was ‘warned of God of the things which were as yet not seen, moved with reverence’ (KJV has ‘fear’).”[50] Daniell, relying on Gerald Hammond, continues,

It is more important to note that, like the misguided Bishops’ Bible translators, the KJV translators’ denial of marginal notes removed at a stroke that essential element of understanding Hebrew, the openness to engagement, the in-and-out movement between literal sense and meaning, the many kinds of explanations, which the Geneva annotators so constantly used. Often the best that King James’ workers could do was to lift ‘the literal Hebrew phrase from Geneva’s margin into its own text’.[51]

Daniell goes on to lament how depressing it is that the KJV “so dogmatically dropped all the Geneva notes.”[52] Such a move is regrettable when one thinks of Hebrew poetry which “deals in ellipses and ambiguities and downright obscurities.” While the GB produced “a continual and fruitful dialogue between text and margins,” the KJV only presented the literal sense of the Hebrew metaphor. With Hebrew poetry and prophetic literature, what resulted in the reader of the KJV was “a nearly total lack of understanding.”[53] While the KJV merely presented the text, the GB sought to help the reader understand the Hebrew. Or as the title-pages demonstrate, while the KJV is to be “read in churches” the GB is to be used to understand the “hard places.” One is to be read, the other studied.[54]


To conclude, Bruce Metzger fittingly revels in the enormous impact the GB had on Protestantism. “In short, it was chiefly owing to the dissemination of copies of the Geneva version of 1560 that a sturdy and articulate Protestantism was created in Britain, a Protestantism which made a permanent impact upon Anglo-American culture.”[55] As we have seen, not only was its impact cultural, but its impact continued to be felt on other translations including the KJV. Though the translation of the GB may not be used extensively today, its method and its theology as found in its study notes continue to have an impact. Today we enjoy The Reformation Study Bible and the ESV Study Bible, both of which carry on the legacy of the GB both in its form and in its Reformed theology. As he did with the GB, may the Lord continue to give his church capable translators and commentators so that his people will understand those “hard places” in Scripture.


1 Alister McGrath, In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How It Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture (New York: Anchor, 2001), 107.

2 Ibid., 111.

3 Ibid., 112.

4 Lloyd E. Berry, “Introduction to the Facsimile Edition,” in The Geneva Bible: A Facsimile of the 1560 Edition (Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1969), 7. For other extensive studies on the GB see John D. Alexander, “The Geneva Version of the English Bible,” (D.Phil. thesis, Oxford University, 1956); Hardin Craig Jr., “The Geneva Bible as a Political Document,” Pacific Historical Review 7 (1938): 40-49; Charles Eason, The Genevan Bible (Dublin, 1937); Basil Hall, The Geneva Version of the English Bible (London, 1957); Stanley Morison, The Geneva Bible (London, 1966); Lewis Lupton, A History of the Geneva Bible (London: The Fauconberg Press, 1966).

5 McGrath, In the Beginning, 113.

6 On the involvement and assistance of these other men see Bruce M. Metzger, “The Geneva Bible of 1560,” Theology Today 17 (1960): 340.

7 On the influence of Beza see Bruce M. Metzger, “The Influence of Codex Bezae upon the Geneva Bible of 1560,” New Testament Studies 8, no. 1 (1961): 72-77; Irena D. Backus, Reformed Roots of the English New Testament: The Influence of Theodore Beza on the English New Testament, Pittsburgh Theological Monograph Series 28 (Pittsburgh, PA: Pickwick, 1980).

8 Metzger, “The Geneva Bible of 1560,” 343. Also see Ira Jay Martin III, “The Geneva Bible,” Andover Newton Quarterly 1, no. 4 (1961): 46-51; Leland Ryken, The Legacy of the King James Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011), 40; Lupton, A History of the Geneva Bible, 3:131ff.

9 F. F. Bruce, The English Bible: A History of Translation from the earliest English Version to the New English Bible (New York: Oxford University Press, 1970), 86.

10 Bruce, The English Bible, 89. Also see David Daniell, The Bible in English: Its History and Influence (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003), 314ff.

11 Bruce, The English Bible, 86. The translators acknowledge this in their address to the reader. Also see S. L. Greenslade, “English Versions of the Bible, 1525-1611,” in The Cambridge History of the Bible (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1963), 2:157; Hugh Pope, English Versions of the Bible, ed. Sebastian Bullough (London: B. Herder Book Co., 1952), 220-23.

12 McGrath, In the Beginning, 119-20.

13 Metzger, “The Geneva Bible of 1560,” 350.

14 Contra Basil Hall, “The Genevan Version of the English Bible: Its Aims and Achievements,” in The Bible, the Reformation and the Church, ed. W. P. Stephens (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1995), 124-49; Daniell, The Bible in English, 305-309. For more extensive studies on Calvinism in the notes of the Geneva Bible see Dan G. Danner, “The Contribution of the Geneva Bible of 1560 to the English Protestant Tradition,” Sixteenth Century Journal 12, no. 3 (1981): 5-18; John Eadie, The English Bible (London: Macmillan, 1876), 2:8; Brooke Foss Westcott, A General View of the History of the English Bible, 3rd ed., ed. W. A. Wright (New York: Macmillan, 1916), 93; Charles C. Ryrie, “Calvinistic Emphasis in the Geneva and Bishops’ Bibles,” Bibliotheca Sacra 122, no. 485 (1965): 23-30. Ryrie argues that the Bishops’ Bible actually toned down the Reformed emphasis in the Geneva Bible as it was viewed as “too strongly Calvinistic. Ryrie, “Calvinistic Emphasis,” 30.

15 Metzger, “The Geneva Bible of 1560,” 348. Hall argues that the GB was theologically influenced by Calvin’s (and Beza’s) 1556 revision of the 1535 French Bible of Pierre Robert Olivetan (Calvin’s cousin). Basil Hall, The Genevan Version of the English Bible (The Presbyterian Historical Society of England, 1957); idem, “The Genevan Version of the English Bible,” 124-49. Also see Daniell, The Bible in English, 292. Backus however thinks it is instead influenced by Beza’s biblical treatises. Irena Backus, The Reformed Roots of the English New Testament (Pittsburg, PA: Pickwick, 1980, 1957). Bauckham believes it is Bullinger’s commentaries instead. Richard Bauckham, Tudor Apocalypse (Oxford: Sutton-Courtney, 1978), 40. Danner argues that its influence is to be found in the larger Reformed tradition as a whole, though specifically by Calvin and Beza. Dan G. Danner, “The Later English Calvinists and the Geneva Bible,” in Later Calvinism: International Perspectives, ed. W. Fred Graham (Kirksville, MO: Sixteenth Century Publishers, 1994), 504.

16 On Tomson see Danner, “The Later English Calvinists and the Geneva Bible,” 496ff; Hugh Pope, English Versions, ed. Sebastian Bullough (St. Louis, MO: B. Herder, 1952), 230; W. F. Moulton, The History of the English Bible (London: Charles H. Kelly, 1911), 17-27. Other additions would continue these additions. For example, in 1598 Huguenot Franciscus Junius replaced Tomson’s annotations to the Book of Revelation. See idem, “Book Notes,” Theology Today 46, no. 4 (1990): 463; Donald L. Brake, A Visual History of the English Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2008), 155, 160; Daniell, The Bible in English, 348-75.

17 Metzger, “The Geneva Bible of 1560,” 349. This catechism seems to disappear around the time when Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud, came upon the scene with his anti-Calvinism. Danner, “The Later English Calvinists and the Geneva Bible,” 498; Nicholas Pocock, “The Breeaches Bible,” Saturday Review (September 25, 1990), 395.

18 Metzger, “The Geneva Bible of 1560,” 349.

19 William T. Whitley, The English Bible under the Tudor Sovereigns (London: Marshal, Morgan & Scott, n.d.), 105. Also see Danner, “The Later English Calvinists and the Geneva Bible,” 490.

20 Metzger, “The Geneva Bible of 1560,” 352.

21 Ryken, The Legacy of the King James Bible, 39.

22 H. W. Hoare, The Evolution of the English Bible (London, 1901), 197, as quoted by Metzger, “The Geneva Bible of 1560,” 345.

23 “The Bible, initially printed at Geneva, May 10, 1560, was not printed in England until Archbishop Parker died in 1575. Parker did not like the Geneva Bible and gave no support, to the queen or to Puritans who were clamoring for it, in getting it printed during his archbishopric. Yet neither he, the queen, nor [John] Whitgift could prevent the reading of the Geneva Bible in the churches or its circulation among the clergy and laity.” For a more extensive history on such resistance by the authorities see McGrath, In the Beginning, 124-29. Also see Edwin Robertson, Makers of the English Bible (Cambridge: The Lutterworth, 1990), 88-96.

24 “But the Bishop’s Bible had simply been replaced in the hearts of the people by the Geneva Bible, and although it was a superior translation, it was obvious to Elizabeth that the notes and annotations were tainted with teachings akin to Calvin and Knox, both of whom she detested.” Danner, “The Later English Calvinists and the Geneva Bible,” 499.

25 McGrath, In the Beginning, 129.

26 Berry, “Introduction,” 14.

27 For more details on its reception in Scotland see Metzger, “The Geneva Bible of 1560,” 350. Also see Danner, “The Later English Calvinists and the Geneva Bible,” 503; Herbert G. May, Our English Bible in the Making (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press, 1952), 44-45; Geddes MacGregor, The Bible in the Making (New York: Lippincott, 1959), 134; Bruce, English Bibles, 92.

28 Bruce, English Bible, 91.

29 For example, The Souldier’s Pocket Bible, a pocket-sized text, which used the Geneva Bible was compiled for Cromwell’s troops in 1643. A century and half later, as Martin III observes, it reappeared in 1861. It would be used in England and in America during the Civil War by the Union soldiers. Martin III. “The Geneva Bible,” 50. Also see George Milligan, The English Bible (London: A & C Black, 1907), 127.

30 Metzger also notes that even in the twentieth century its influence continues. “In several respects the Geneva scholars were ahead of their times; occasionally they adopted readings which the King James translators declined to follow but which the Revised Standard Version of 1946-52 re-adopted.” Metzger, “The Geneva Bible of 1560,” 346.

31 McGrath, In the Beginning, 129. Jensen says the same, “Yet it was the Geneva Bible that succeeded in becoming by far the most popular Bible of its time.” Michael Jensen, “‘Simply’ Reading the Geneva Bible,” Literature & Theology 9, no. 1 (1995): 31. Also see T. H. Darlow and H. F. Moule, eds., Historical Catalogue of Printed Editions of the English Bible, rev. A. S. Herbert (London, 1968), 191; Maurice S. Betteridge, “The Bitter Notes: The Geneva Bible and its Annotations,” The Sixteenth Century Journal 14, no. 1 (1983): 44-47.

32 As quoted by McGrath, In the Beginning, 113.

33 Ibid., 139.

34 Ibid., 140.

35 I will be following the lead of McGrath, In the Beginning, 141-48. Also see Richard L. Greaves, “The Nature and Intellectual Milieu of the Political Principles in the Geneva Bible Marginalia,” Journal of Church and State 22 (1980): 233-50.

36 McGrath, In the Beginning, 143.

37 Ibid.

38 Ibid., 147.

39 Ibid., 148.

40 Ibid., 144.

41 Danner, “The Later English Calvinists and the Geneva Bible,” 491. Likewise see David Ewert, From Ancient Tablets to Modern Translations (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1983), 195; Daniel G. Kratz, “The Geneva Bible,” Church History 3 (1960): 23-31.

42 Metzger, “The Geneva Bible of 1560,” 346. See Charles C. Butterworth, The Literary Lineage of the King James Bible (Philadelphia, PA 1941), 163. Also see Carl S. Meyer, “The Geneva Bible,” Concordia Theological Monthly 32, no. 3 (1961): 139-45.

43 Thomas M’Crie, The Life of John Knox (Edinburgh: William Blackwood, 1818), 1:216; Dale W. Johnson, “Marginal at Best: John Knox’s Contribution to the Geneva Bible, 1560,” in Adaptations of Calvinism in Reformation Europe, ed. Mack P. Holt (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2007), 243.

44 Berry, “Introduction to the Facsimile Edition,” 18.

45 Danner, “Geneva Bible of 1560,” 6. Also see Randall T. Davidson, “The Authorisation of the English Bible,” Macmillan’s Magazine (1881): 441ff; Westcott, History of the English Bible, 107.

46 Martin III, “The Geneva Bible,” 47.

47 Davidson, “The Authorisation of the English Bible,” 441.

48 Daniell, The English Bible, 295.

49 Ibid., 296.

50 Ibid.

51 Ibid., 297. Gerald Hammond, The Making of the English Bible (n.p.: Philosophical Library, 1983), 101-106.

52 Daniell, The English Bible, 299.

53 Ibid., 315.

54 Ibid., 309.

55 Metzger, “The Geneva Bible of 1560,” 352.

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