Multiple English versions of the Bible competed for use in the 1500s.
John Rogers and Myles Coverdale picked up Tyndale’s work and finished translating the Old Testament from Latin and German versions. Published in 1537, it was known as the Matthew Bible because Rogers published it under the pseudonym Thomas Matthew.
Myles Coverdale prepared the Great Bible based on Tyndale’s work and the Matthew Bible; he removed politically objectionable notes and translations. Published in 1539, the large size earned its name. It was the first “authorized” English Bible in that King Henry VIII authorized it to be read in Church of England services.
Controversy and persecution over Bible translations peaked under the reign of Bloody Mary (1553-1558) when 300 Protestants were burned at the stake as heretics. This included John Rogers, publisher of the Matthew Bible, and Thomas Cranmer, publisher of the Great Bible.
Queen Mary’s persecution drove Protestant scholars to Geneva where Coverdale, Knox, Calvin, and others prepared the Geneva Bible. Based on Tyndale’s work and the Great Bible, it was the first English Bible translated entirely from Hebrew and Greek and the first to use numbered verses.
The Geneva Bible was history’s first study Bible. For the first time, a mass-produced Bible offered notes, study aids, maps, and indexes. This along with its stronger language, convenient size, and modest price led to its popularity over the Great Bible.
The Geneva Bible was published in over 150 editions from 1560 to 1644. It was the main English Bible of the age. Shakespeare, Milton, Donne, Bunyan, Knox, and Cromwell all used the Geneva Bible.
Soli Deo Gloria.
This is the seventh installment in the Story of the King James Bible series celebrating its 400th Anniversary.
Read the prequels:
1. King James Bible – The King with videos
2. King James Bible – Impact
3. King James Bible – Influence
4. King James Bible – John Wycliffe
5. King James Bible – Royal Ceremony
6. King James Bible – William Tyndale
Read the sequel:
8. King James Bible – King & Bible
©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith” (Jude 1:3)
Thursday December 15, 2011 A.D.
Read my November 2011 newspaper column:
Marco Polo’s Dragons.
The sum of Thy word is truth, and every one of Thy righteous ordinances is everlasting. (Psalms 119:160)