History is being made today. For the first time in over 400 years, a new edition of the 1599 Geneva Bible is rolling off the presses. Most people do not realize the significance of this magnificent edition of the Bible. Did you know that the Geneva Bible was brought to America on the Mayflower by the Pilgrims? It was also the first Bible to use chapters and numbered verses. Printed at least 144 times between 1560 and 1620, the Geneva Bible became the most popular version of its time because of the extensive marginal notes. These notes were written by Reformation leaders such as John Calvin, John Knox, Miles Coverdale, William Whittingham, Anthony Gilby, and others to explain and interpret the scriptures for the common people.
Gary DeMar wrote an excellent history of the Geneva Bible called, The Forgotten Translation. This article reveals why the Geneva Bible was a political threat to King James and the Roman Church. You’ll also learn why the Geneva Bible is considered the Bible that built America.
Unlike all modern printings of the Geneva Bible, this 2006 edition is not a facsimile or copy of the original pages. Rather, it is a brand new layout with easy-to-read-type. The spellings of words have been modernized, but this edition still maintains word-for-word accuracy with the original 1599 edition. So whose idea was this and how did it come about? I’m glad you asked!
My father, Ray, and I caught the vision to republish the 1599 Geneva Bible about 5 years ago. Believe it or not, the idea was conceived shortly after our theology was transformed by the teaching ministry of Gary DeMar and American Vision. It all started when we watched Gary’s video, Demystifying Revelation. After hearing Gary explain how the Book of Revelation could be plainly understood, the stranglehold of dispensational theology began to unravel from our hearts and minds. We realized that we had been duped by an aberrant theology which infected the Church about 170 years ago. A paradigm shift occurred.
Recognizing that we were not living in the last days of earth history, we looked into the future and saw our tremendous responsibility for the next generation. We also looked into the past and saw that we were standing on the shoulders of theological giants known as The Reformers. So many churches and Christians today feel like they must reinvent the wheel theologically. I am embarrassed to say that I did not know that one of the most comprehensive and Biblically accurate statements of faith—the Westminster Confession of Faith produced in 1646—even existed until about five years ago. Furthermore, being raised a conservative Baptist, I am shocked that none of my pastors or teachers ever mentioned the London Baptist Confession of 1689. So many conservative evangelical churches preach against modernism, liberalism, etc., yet do not realize that they too have drifted from their Reformation roots.
My father and I felt the burden to call the Church back to those Reformation roots. That’s when we discovered the incredible history of the 1599 Geneva Bible. I remember searching everywhere for a copy of the Geneva Bible. I went online and purchased a beautiful but bulky facsimile edition from L.L. Brown Publishing . Unfortunately, I found myself struggling to read the small type and 16th century spellings. There was no way I was going to lug this Bible to church every Sunday! That’s when we realized that the Geneva Bible would likely be lost in the pages of history if we did not republish it in a standard Bible size with modern spellings and easy-to-read type.
In January of 2004, we got right to work and assembled a team to begin restoring the 1599 edition of the Geneva Bible. I remember calling Gary DeMar, before I came to work at American Vision, and inviting him to be on our advisory board for this historical project. He graciously accepted and has given us vital direction along the way. Now, nearly three years later, the project to restore a lost version of the Bible is nearly complete. It’s a dream come true!