TSGS Cruiser Blog

Saturday, January 3, 2009

"Mayflower Pilgrims' Bible"

Have you ever wondered what version of the Bible the Pilgrims brought to America on the Mayflower? Believe it or not, it was not the King James Version of 1611. It was actually The 1599 Geneva Bible - a forgotten yet priceless treasure! The Geneva Bible was the most widely read and influential English Bible of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Here is an online copy of this Bible:

From: The Forgotten Translation by Gary DeMar

While other English translations failed to capture the hearts of the reading public, the Geneva Bible was instantly popular. Between 1560 and 1644 at least 144 editions appeared. For forty years after the publication of the King James Bible, the Geneva Bible continued to be the Bible of the home. Oliver Cromwell used extracts from the Geneva Bible for his Soldier's Pocket Bible which he issued to the army.

In 1620 the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth with their Bibles and a conviction derived from those Bibles of establishing a new nation. The Bible was not the King James Version. When James I became king of England in 1603, there were two translations of the Bible in use; the Geneva Bible was the most popular, and the Bishops' Bible was used for reading in churches. King James disapproved of the Geneva Bible because of its Calvinistic leanings. He also frowned on what he considered to be seditious marginal notes on key political texts. A marginal note for Exodus 1:9 indicated that the Hebrew midwives were correct in disobeying the Egyptian king's orders, and a note for 2 Chronicles 15:16 said that King Asa should have had his mother executed and not merely deposed for the crime of worshipping an idol. The King James Version of the Bible grew out of the king's distaste for these brief but potent doctrinal commentaries. He considered the marginal notes to be a political threat to his kingdom. At a conference at Hampton Court in 1604 with bishops and theologians, the king listened to a suggestion by the Puritan scholar John Reynolds that a new translation of the Bible was needed. Because of his distaste for the Geneva Bible, James was eager for a new translation. "I profess," he said, "I could never yet see a Bible well translated in English; but I think that, of all, that of Geneva is the worst."

For more information about the Geneva Bible, Google: "Geneva Bible," but, especially, check out ~ http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html?mainframe=http://www.reformed.org/documents/geneva/Geneva.html

Online 1599 Geneva Bible & idea for this article from Don Counts and compiled by John G. West

1 comment:

hazel whatley said...

I have photos of an original geneva bible printed in 1594.This geneva bible was in my family for over 80yrs and now has pride of place in the discovery centre at Manor Lodge Sheffield u/k.The bible was found in the the ruins of this lodge by my grandfather and this is where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned for many years by Queen Elizabeth.1st.there are hand written entries for the Pollard family of Wakefield Richard his wife Ann Walker and Ann Pollard.b.1714 & Sarah pollard.b.1716. on one of the pages in this bible We have been trying to trace the descendants of this family for many years with out success.