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Was the Geneva Bible the first study Bible?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions & Translations' started by 4His_glory, Dec 20, 2008.

  1. 4His_glory

    4His_glory New Member

    Jan 11, 2005
    Maybe I am wrong, but did not the Geneva Bible have notes by Knox and other reformers explaining the text (as opposed to variant readings in the margin) thereby making it the first "study Bible".

    If not what was the first study Bible?
  2. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member

    Aug 23, 2002
    Perhaps the first... in English

  3. Logos1560

    Logos1560 Active Member

    Oct 22, 2004
    Which was the first could depend somewhat on the definition of study Bible?

    The Second Rabbinic Bible, edited by Jacob ben Chayim and printed by Daniel Bomberg [the Hebrew old Testament], was printed with Jewish commentaries. It could perhaps be considered a study Bible.

    The 1537 Matthew's Bible has some marginal notations along with some notes at the end of each chapter. It perhaps could be considered an early form of a study Bible.

    The 1560 Geneva Bible could be considered a study Bible.

    The value of the notes in this Bible was stated by Gerald Hammond: "What the Geneva translators had done, in effect, was to give every reader the tools to be his own Bible scholar" (Making of the English Bible, p. 95). Bradley pointed out that the Geneva Bible "was designed to be a 'self-help' study Bible, in case the Christians remained in exile indefinitely" (Purified Seven Times, p. 85). Hammond wrote: "The Geneva Bible gave the English people not only a verse-divided, thoughtfully annotated, easily acquired, and portable version of the Scriptures, but one whose translation itself was equal in scholarship of anything that had appeared on the continent, and one whose style was, in more than its basics, the style of the Authorized Version" (Making, pp. 135-136). Daniell maintained: “The notes work most of the time to increase the reader’s understanding of the text” (Bible in English, p. 307). He added: “The point of the Geneva Bibles is to help understanding and faith” (p. 375). As a personal teaching Bible, Norton observed that the Geneva Bible places “the emphasis very strongly on private ownership, close study and doctrinal correctness” (History, p. 81). In his article in a modern-spelling edition of the 1599 Geneva Bible, Marshall Foster wrote: “When the Geneva Bible disappeared, there were widespread complaints that people ’could not see into the sense of Scripture for lack of the spectacles of those Genevan annotations’” (p. xxiv).

    The great majority of the marginal notes of the Geneva Bible could be considered study notes, but it may have a few notes that could be considered variant or textual readings at least in the 1599 edition of the Geneva.

    A 1599 edition of the Geneva Bible has a textual marginal note at Matthew 27:9 [“Seeing this prophesy is read in Zech. 11:12, it cannot be denied but Jeremy‘s name crept into the text either through the printers fault, or by some others ignorance: it may be also that it came out of the margin, by reason of the abbreviation of the letters“].
    It has this marginal note at Matthew 1:23 [“There is in the Hebrew and Greek text, an article added, to point out the woman, and set her forth plainly; as you would say, That virgin, or a certain virgin”]. At Matthew 22:37, it has this note [“The Hebrew text readeth, Deut. 6:5, with thine heart, soul, and strength: and in Mark 12:30 and Luke 10:27 we read with soul, heart, strength, and thought”].
  4. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob Administrator

    Jun 30, 2000
    Amen, Logos. Good stuff promoting what I consider the first "full" translation in English.

    One of the key reasons for the Anglicans to want a new translation was the copious notes in the Geneva and its widespread acceptance by 1600 as THE BEST translation among the common English-speaking folk.

    The Anglican Version (1611) has some notes and alternate choices of words that could be used. Sadly later revisions (our modern KJV for example) dropped all the notes, explanations and variant legitimate words. This makes the modern reader think the KJV is NOT a "study" Bible but rather some monolithic, unchanging translation.

    Much of the AV is from the Geneva, but omitting the anti-monarchial notes and even changing some translations to say differently than the Hebrew or Greek. If one ever gets a chance to read the Geneva translation and see the notes, we congregational type (non-anglican) would say a hearty "Amen" to it.