We assist churches, pastors, and educators in promoting the precious Word of God through educational and historical displays. The history of the Bible is an intriguing and inspiring study, but it can also be weighty and fraught with controversy. Visual displays, that can be handled and examined, are of great help in teaching the miraculous history of how we got our Bible and how God has preserved it through the centuries.
Below you will find various facsimile Bibles, sculptures, displays, and other resources that will help to inspire, educate and engage people with the amazing history of God’s Word, the Bible.
The Bible has a long rich history but did you know the Bible has played a key role in the founding and guiding of the United States of America. The following Bibles and resources help to educate and display this great history. Explore our collection of Bibles in America.
We are delighted to offer this extraordinary facsimile of the first English New Testament. In translating the Bible into English, John Wycliffe emerged as a powerful influence for revival and reform. As a result of his work, historians have termed Wycliffe the "Morning Star of the Reformation." Possession of a Wycliffe Bible in the 14th century could lead to accusations of heresy, imprisonment and death. Few copies have survived. The last copy to sell at auction brought an astonishing 1.7 million dollars at the Charles Ryrie Sale in December of 2016. Until this year, no true, quality facsimile of a Wycliffe New Testament has ever been produced. The cost was too great, the project too vast and the process too difficult. As nations around the world prepare to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, it seems appropriate that this exceptional edition has finally been released to the general public. For the first time since the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries...the Wycliffe New Testament, the first Bible in English, has been made readily available in its original form.
Bound in fine leather and accented in gold, publication is strictly limited and each volume represents an impressive work of art. Lavishly decorated throughout, it has been printed on a thick, vellum style paper with virtually every page embellished with red, blue or gold. Complete, catchwords, 2 columns, 35 lines, Puzzle initials extend into partial borders and the beginning of each book.
The Wycliffe Bible, as has become the common description, is the first English translation (Middle English) from the common Vulgate translation of Jerome, which was originally transcribed in Latin in 382. A number of portions of Biblical text and reference materials appeared between 1382-1395 associated with John Wycliffe and several co-laborers. These men were instrumental in the translation work and necessary scribal work of writing out the manuscript texts. Nicholas Hereford, John Purvey, and John Trevisa are prominent figures involved in the translation work from the Latin Vulgate, which was the standard text of western Christianity. That text had been first prepared by St. Jerome in 382 under Pope Damasus and it would be Rome's Bible for nearly a millennia until 1384 and the introduction to the Wycliffe Bible.
There are really two distinct versions of the Wycliffe Bible. The earlier was done while Wycliffe was yet alive. It is a very literal, word for word translation and extremely difficult to capture. The second or later version is a revision that is largely attributed to John Purvey with some assistance from Nicholas Hereford, who aided Wycliffe in the earlier version.
Born to a wealthy family in Yorkshire in 1330, John Wycliffe, known as “The Morning Star of the Reformation,” spent the majority of his life at Oxford University -- first as an arts and philosophy student, then as a Professor of Theology. In the 1360s, Wycliffe was Master of Balliol College, and led one of the churches at Lutterworth in Oxford. Later, he became Master of Canterbury College. Working at the University, Wycliffe wrote several works on philosophy and religion, and his lectures were an impressive commentary on the entire Bible.
When King Edward III and his son, John of Gaunt, discovered Wycliffe’s talents as a writer and debater, they drafted him to represent the King at the Bruges Conference to settle disputes between the Crown and the Roman church. Later, when Wycliffe was summoned to stand before the Archbishop at St. Paul’s Cross, John of Gaunt fiercely defended him. The trial became a shouting match between Gaunt and the Bishop of London, and ended in a riot. Following the trial, Wycliffe became severely ill, and several of the church friars came to visit him. According to historical records, they chastised Wycliffe’s beliefs and his questioning of the Church authority. Though intended to discourage Wycliffe, their words only roused him further. He arose and proclaimed Psalm 118:17, “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.” And with that, he was healed.
After recovery, John Wycliffe dedicated himself to the task of teaching the Bible to his countrymen, and began training a group of “poor preachers” to proclaim the Gospel throughout England. Traveling on foot to each village, they taught the Bible in simple terms that noblemen, students, farmers, and laborers could all understand. They denied church traditions and beliefs that were not based on the Scriptures, and above all, they taught the importance of the Word of God, declaring, “The Gospel is a rule sufficient of itself to rule the life of every Christian man here, without any other rule.” Wycliffe’s Latin work, De Veritate Scripturae, completed about 1378, expounded the teaching that all God's children are equal, and are all equally able to understand the Scriptures. He declared, “The Holy Scripture is the preeminent authority for every Christian, and the rule of faith and of all human perfection.”
After the publication of De Veritate Scripturae, William De Berton, Oxford Chancellor, asked a council of Catholic officials to condemn the reformer. The council determined that Wycliffe’s doctrine could no longer be taught at Oxford, and his books were burned. The next spring, a council of bishops was called to Blackfriar’s Covenant to review Wycliffe’s record. The first day of the conference, a great earthquake shook England, leading some to believe it was a Divine omen indicating that the conference should stop immediately. But the Archbishop refused to be deterred, and persuaded the council to publish a condemnation of Wycliffe’s works.
Following the council of 1382, Wycliffe returned to the church where he had ministered. Discouraged but not defeated, he resolved not only to teach the Bible, but to give people their own Bible. In their own language. Because the original Hebrew and Greek texts were not accessible, Wycliffe and his followers carefully translated the Latin Vulgate into English, word for word.
John Wycliffe died of natural causes shortly after his translation was completed, but his Bible continued to spread quickly among the common people. His followers were persecuted, tortured, and imprisoned, yet they were determined to read the Scriptures. This further infuriated the church officials, and in 1415, the Council of Constance decreed that Wycliffe’s remains be exhumed, his bones burned, and his ashes scattered across the river Swift.
The flame was ignited in the heart of John Wycliffe and kindled in the hearts of his followers. A young man just a century latter was so inspired to give every man a copy of the Word of God in his own tongue. William Tyndale had the advantage of the true Greek and Hebrew texts upon which he produced the first true text English New Testament in 1526. The work Wycliffe had begun was now superseding his wildest expectations! The advent of the printing press would make the Word accessible to the whole world!
Completed prior to the invention of the printing press, the Wycliffe Bible was produced by hand. Each page of these beautiful manuscripts was laid out in 2 columns with 35 lines. Embellishments were then added including puzzle initials extending into partial borders at the beginning of each book and flourished at the beginning of each prologue. Additional embellishments included red, blue and gold figures.
The Wycliffe Bible was handwritten and took as much as six months to complete, yet thousands of copies were meticulously copied and distributed across Europe. Many copies lacked official identity and thus were included in many of the priests study sources in spite of their forbidden usage. The Wycliffe Bible texts are the most prevalent extant Middle English texts of our day, with over 250 surviving on vellum and rag paper. In 2016 at the Southerby's Auction of the Ryrie Collection one first edition copy sold for $1,692,500. the elaborately embellished handwritten copies were a masterpiece of artistic compliment to the marvelous compilation of Bible truth in the language of the common man.
10 3/8 x 7 3/8 x 2
Product Paper Type:
Natural White Textured Paper
Myles (Miles) Coverdale worked with William Tyndale on his translation of the Bible. William Tyndale translated Genesis through Second Chronicles, as well as the New Testament, working directly from the Hebrew and Greek texts. After Tyndale was martyred, Coverdale, along with John “Thomas Matthew” Rogers and several other translators, continued and accelerated Tyndale’s work of translating the whole Bible. From 1528 to 1535, Coverdale labored to finish his compilation of the Old Testament. In 1535 the Coverdale Bible, the first complete printed English Bible, was published.
Miles Coverdale was born in 1488 near Middleham, Yorkshire, England. He studied philosophy and theology at Cambridge University, where he graduated bachelor of canon law. Coverdale was ordained into the priesthood in 1514, and shortly thereafter entered the convent of Augustinian Friars, where he was most likely influenced in favor of Protestantism by Robert Barnes, and early follower of the teachings of Martin Luther. When Barnes was later tried for heresy in 1526, Coverdale went to London to assist in preparing his defense. Not long after the trial, Coverdale left the convent and committed himself entirely to the ministry of preaching. His public preaching against the religious practices of his day, including transubstantiation, sacramental confession, and the worship of images, forced Coverdale to flee to Europe. During his exile, Miles Coverdale worked with William Tyndale on his translation of the whole Bible. By that time, at least 50,000 of Tyndale’s New Testaments had been distributed throughout England, despite condemnation by King Henry VIII. After Tyndale was martyred, Coverdale, along with John “Thomas Matthew” Rogers and several other translators, continued and accelerated Tyndale’s work.
From 1528 to 1535, Coverdale labored to finish his compilation of the Old Testament, which was then published by Jacobus van Meteren. In the same year, the Coverdale Bible, the first complete printed English Bible, was published. The previous year, Coverdale had published Dulichius’ Vom alten und newen Gott and his own Paraphrase upon the Psalms. In 1535, Coverdale published Goostly Psalmes and Spirituall Songes Drawen out of the Holy Scripture, the first English hymnbook. Many of Coverdale’s translations were also published in 1537 as part of the Matthews Bible. In 1538, Coverdale moved to Paris, where he supervised the printing of the Great Bible, a dual-language Bible in which he compared the Latin Vulgate with his English translation. Coverdale’s English New Testament was published in London and Paris, and he proceeded to translate Cranmer’s Bible in 1540. He returned to England in 1539, but with the execution of his close friend and protector Thomas Cromwell, was compelled to go into exile once again.
From 1540-1547 Coverdale lived at Tubingen, where he earned his doctorate, and worked as a pastor and schoolmaster at Bergzabern. During that time, Coverdale translated several tracts, published an English New Testament, and edited Cranmer’s Bible of 1540. After the death of King Henry VIII, Coverdale returned to England, where he enjoyed much favor under King Edward VI, spending most of his time at Windsor Castle as the King’s chaplain. In 1551, Coverdale became Bishop of Exeter, but after the succession of Queen Mary, best known as “Bloody Mary” in 1553, he was deprived of that position and imprisoned. During his imprisonment, the King of Denmark, who Coverdale had become acquainted with during his time in Germany, pleaded his cause to Queen Mary and arranged for Coverdale’s safe transfer out of England. Coverdale was released and quickly left for Denmark, before moving on to Wesel, and finally back to Bergzabern. After the reign of Queen Mary had ended, Coverdale made his final trip back to England, where he served as rector of St. Magnus’ near London Bridge until 1566. He died shortly thereafter, in 1568.
Coverdale was one of the most effective preachers of his day, helping to lead the progress of the Reformation. His excellent knowledge of German and Latin, as well as his understanding of Greek, Hebrew, and French greatly aided Coverdale in his translation work, and provided many opportunities for him. As a result, Coverdale had a part in the publication of more editions of English Bibles in the 1500’s than any other man.
The place of publication of the 1535 edition was long disputed. The printer was assumed to be either Froschover in Zurich or Cervicornus and Soter (in Cologne or Marburg). Since the discovery of Guido Latré, in 1997, the printer has been identified as Merten de Keyser, in Antwerp. The publication was partly financed by Jacobus van Meteren, in Antwerp, whose sister-in-law, Adriana de Weyden, married John Rogers. The other backer of the Coverdale Bible was Jacobus van Meteren’s nephew, Leonard Ortels (†1539), father of Abraham Ortelius (1527–1598), the famous humanist geographer and cartographer. Although Coverdale was also involved in the preparation of the Great Bible of 1539, the Coverdale Bible continued to be reprinted. The last of over 20 editions of the whole Bible, or its New Testament, appeared in 1553.
13 5/16 x 8 x 3 3/8
Product Paper Type:
Natural White Textured Paper
The Matthew’s Bible was the first complete English translation from the original Hebrew and Greek. Scholars consider this version to be the first “true and legitimate” translation. The actual translation was the combined work of three men – William Tyndale, Miles Coverdale, and John Rogers. They used various sources, in at least five different languages. John Rogers used the pseudonym “Thomas Matthew”, a name used by William Tyndale on occasion, to avoid persecution and prosecution by the authorities who continued to forbid under penalty of death, the printing of the scriptures in the English language. The Matthew's Bible was printed in 1537 in Paris and Antwerp by Sir Jacobus van Metered the uncle of Roger’s wife, Adriana.
The Matthew’s Bible was the work of John Rogers, a close friend and associate of William Tyndale. It was the first complete English translation from the original Hebrew and Greek. William Tyndale translated Genesis through Second Chronicles, as well as the New Testament, working directly from the Hebrew and Greek texts. The remainder of the Old Testament was translated by Miles Coverdale, who worked from the German and Latin sources. Rogers notably merged together Tyndale's translation and Coverdale's translation. The Matthews Bible contained all of Tyndale’s work, with the addition of Coverdale’s second translation. Although John Rogers did not claim skills as a translator, he did slightly revise their work as well as adding title pages, introductory and marginal notes, a calendar, and an almanac.
John Rogers worked as an assistant to William Tyndale and was quite familiar with his friend's teachings and theology and was also well versed in the English text from which Tyndale taught. His passion to see Tyndale's promise fulfilled led him to continue the task and complete the text even after Tyndale's martyrdom. Tyndale was burned at the stake just one year before the printing of the Matthew’s Bible.
John Rogers submitted the Matthew’s Bible, under the pseudonym of Thomas Matthew, a name used by William Tyndale on occasion. He knew that if his name or Tyndale’s name appeared on the title, it would hinder the sale of that Bible, because at that time Tyndale’s writings were condemned by King Henry VIII. The printer, Grafton, passed a copy of the Matthew’s Bible to Thomas Cramer, who passed it to Thomas Cromwell, who then gave it to King Henry VIII.
To the amazement of all, one of the King's loyal advisors, Thomas Cromwell, supported Rogers, and despite personal risk, publicly endorsed his work, even to the King. Cromwell's presentation of the most accurate translation to date, was so convincing that Henry VIII gave a license to it in England to be "sold and read of every person. . . until such time that the Bishops shall set forth a better translation, which, I thin, will not be 'til a day after doomsday."
The King authorized the sale and the reading of this Bible in his realm within ten days. Thus, eleven years after William Tyndale’s New Testament was banned by royal decree, the Matthew’s Bible was published with the King’s consent. Thankfully the King was not a careful observer: otherwise, he may have noticed the embossed W.T. in the preface to the New Testament, as well as over thirty pages of marginal notes that were critical of the papacy and the church of England. This Bible was later used by those who translated the Great Bible and the Bishop’s Bible.
An interesting note appears on the title page, indicating the license was carried out by the Bishop of Duham. This was none other than Cuthbert Tunstall, the very man who organized the gathering and burning of Tyndale's first edition New Testaments.
Not long after the ascension of Queen Mary, after the death of King Edward, a number of leading Protestant figures, including John Rogers, were arrested and leading reformist bishops such as John Hooper and Hugh Latimer were imprisoned weeks later. Thomas Cranmer was sent to the Tower for his role in Lady Jane’s attempted coup.
He was burned at the stake on 4 February 1555 at Smithfield. Antoine de Noailles, the French ambassador, speaks of the support given to Rogers by the greatest part of the people: "even his children assisted at it, comforting him in such a manner that it seemed as if he had been led to a wedding."
The complete Bible was put out under the pseudonym of Thomas Matthew in 1537; it was printed in Paris and Antwerp by Adriana's uncle, Sir Jacobus van Meteren. Richard Grafton published the sheets and got leave to sell the edition (1500 copies) in England. At the insistence of Archbishop Cranmer, the "King's most gracious license" was granted to this translation. Previously in the same year, the 1537 reprint of the Myles Coverdale's translation had been granted such a licence.
13 5/16 x 8 x 3 3/8
Product Paper Type:
Natural White Textured Paper
In 1538, Thomas Cromwell, Vicar General and Secretary to Henry VIII, directed the clergy to provide "one book of the Bible of the largest volume in English, and the same set up in some convenient place within the said church that ye have care of, whereas your parishioners may most commodiously resort to the same and read it."
Called the "chained Bible" because it was chained to the pulpits, the Great Bible helped rekindle the desire to own a personal copy of the Word of God, and sparked a flame in the hearts of those who would later translate the Geneva Bible, the Bishop's Bible, and the King James Version.
The Vicar General to Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell, directed the clergy to "provide one book of the Bible of the largest volume in English, and the same set up in some convenient place within said church that ye have care of, whereas your parishioners may most commodiously resort to the same and read it." At the food of the pare appeared these words: "This is the Bible appointed to the use of the churches."
Truly, by size alone this would be the Great Bible. Because of its public placement, it often became necessary to chain the Great Bible to the pulpit to prevent theft, thus earning it the title of "Chained Bible" - not because it was kept from the people, as in the past, but because it was kept for the people, to be read and heard.
The Great Bible, printed in 1539, is known as one of the most beautiful Bibles ever printed. At the time of the translation, two versions were already in print -- the Matthews Bible and the Coverdale Bible. Because Coverdale's Bible was not translated from the original texts, and the Matthew's Bible was under great suspicion of its origin as a Tyndale Bible, Thomas Cromwell and Archbishop Thomas Cranmer commissioned Myles Coverdale to complete a whole revision of the Bible. Coverdale began work immediately, using the Matthew's Bible as a base, and revising where needed. By 1539, printing had started in Paris; however, the inquisition in France was on, and the printer was arrested. Rather than burning the printed pages, the French Inquisitor-General sold them as waste paper. Through shrewd management, Thomas Cromwell was able to buy the Bible pages and transport them back to England, where they finished the work. In April of 1539, the first edition of the Great Bible appeared, also known as the "Cromwell Bible," the "Cranmer Bible,' and the "Chained Bible." Thomas Cromwell issued an injunction that a copy be set up in every church, and a reader was appointed so that even the illiterate could learn the Word of God, as they desired. With this action, the Great Bible, funded by King Henry VIII, became the first Bible authorized by the government for public use.
The public placement of the Great Bible stirred the hearts of the people to have a personal copy of the Word of God and sparked a renewed spirit to print the Scriptures for every man. Henry VIII had given authorization for the printing and placing of the Bible and confirmed its proclamation in the churches to Lord Cromwell and Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer.
In a tragic turn of events, Henry betrayed his own counsel and conscience by having Thomas Cromwell executed in 1540. Following the death of Henry VIII and the Ascension of Mary I, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer was tried as a heretic and, like John Rogers who had preceded him, gave his life in the flames.
The Great Bible was first printed in 1539 and is still considered one of the most beautiful English Bibles ever printed. Cromwell turned to his friend, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, to commission Miles Coverdale with yet another translation, one which would be a whole revision of both Old and New Testaments. Coverdale began work immediately using the Matthew's Bible and making revisions where needed. By 1539, printing had begun in Paris. However, it was quickly stopped by France's Inquisitor Genera. Rather than burning the printed pages, he chose to sell themas waste paper. Through shrewd management, Thomas Cromwell was able to buy the Bible pages and transport them, along with the presses and type, back to England where they resumed printing under Grafton Whitchurch Printers. The first run of 2,500 copies was completed in 1539, but the supply was exhausted within weeks. A second larger edition was finished in 1540 with an additional preface by Thomas Cranmer recommending the reading of Scripture daily (The same appeared later in the Bishop's Bible). Because of the addition of Cranmer's preface to the second edition, it is sometimes referred to as "Cranmer's Bible."
Product Dimensions: 15" high x 10 ¼" wide x 4" deep
Product Weight: 20 lbs
The Geneva Bible became known as a modern Bible, because it was the first to have both verse and chapter divisions, and also included extensive marginal notes, which totaled one-third the length of the Bible itself! These notes were written by Reformation leaders such as John Calvin, John Knox, Miles Coverdale, William Whittingham, and several others. Because of its popularity with the English people who, for the first time in history could understand what they were reading and could own their own copy, the Geneva Bible surpassed other translations for many years, and became the most widely read and influential English Bible of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
THE GENEVA BIBLE:
By the mid 1500's, the growing knowledge of the Scriptures and Bible doctrine was fanning the flames of the Reformation, and the demand for the Scriptures to be translated into English from the original languages caused many leaned Protestant men to begin new translations. The English monarchy was once again in turmoil: Henry VIII died in 1547 and was succeeded by his son, Edward VI, who died in 1553 and was succeeded by his half-sister Mary I.
When Mary I came to the throne in 1553, she was determined to reinstate the Roman Catholic Church and eliminate the Reformation. She showed no signs of mercy or compromise, and persecution soon followed. Resistance was met with cruel punishment, imprisonment, and execution, earning her the title of "Bloody Mary." During this era, known as the “Marian Exile,” large numbers of the English reformers and scholars fled England for Geneva and the safety and security provided there under John Calvin. During this time of persecution, a new Bible was born – the Geneva Bible.
It was in Geneva where Robert Stephanus produced his Greek text, more than twenty-two editions of the French Bible, and numerous works by other notable men.
The time was right for a Bible for the People-not just for the pulpit or the pious. Because of the need for a pure and accurate translation of the Holy Scriptures, the Geneva Bible became the first English version translated entirely from the original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. This Bible was the work of English exiled reformers, assisted by Theodore Beza, John Calvin, and many others. Much of the translation was done by William Wittingham, John Calvin’s brother-in-law. Whittingham was responsible for the New Testament (competed in 1557) , while Anthony Gilby oversaw the Old Testament in collaboration with Miles Coverdale, Thomas Sampson, William Core, and Christoper Goodman. The authors worked over candlelight for two years, both day and night, to complete the translation. The first printing was completed in 1560 and included a further revised New Testament. The 1560 Geneva Bible was followed by over 140 additional editions as over the next 100 years it became established as the People's Bible.
THE PILGRIM’S BIBLE: In 1620, during their voyage on the Mayflower to the New World, the Pilgrims carried with them copies of the Geneva Bible, understanding the Biblical principle of Psalm33:12,”Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” That the Pilgrim’s treasured this Book was no surprise; even before they left Holland, they purposed in their hearts to carry God’s Word into America. Because of their sacrifice, the Geneva Bible, also called the “Pilgrim’s Bible,” became the spiritual foundation for the future of the United States of America.
From England to Holland, and finally to the New World, the Pilgrims brought with them a rich heritage that would be handed down from generation to generation, and a deep desire to further the Gospel and advance Christian doctrine in the remote parts of the world. The Geneva Bible may not have been the first Bible on American soil, but it certainly helped to shape our Christian culture. God preserved His Word as it was written, translated, and carried to the various parts of the world.
This version of the Bible is significant because, for the very first time, a mechanically printed, mass-produced Bible was made available directly to the general public which came with a variety of scriptural study guides and aids (collectively called an apparatus), which included verse citations that allow the reader to cross-reference one verse with numerous relevant verses in the rest of the Bible, introductions to each book of the Bible that acted to summarize all of the material that each book would cover, maps, tables, woodcut illustrations and indices. Because the language of the Geneva Bible was more forceful and vigorous, most readers strongly preferred this version to the Great Bible. In the words of Cleland Boyd McAfee, "it drove the Great Bible off the field by sheer power of excellence".
8 1/2 x 11 1/4 x 3 1/2
Product Paper Type:
Natural White Textured Paper
Queen Elizabeth I and the Anglican Church reluctantly tolerated the distribution of The Geneva Bible, which contained the very controversial marginal notes of the reformers and their emphasis on the sovereignty of Christ over the church and kingdom and their sovereignty over the king.
The Great Bible of 1539 was not only outdated, it was more obviously incorrect and obsolete in its Vulgate renderings of the Old Testament. It was in sore need of revision or replacement.
The proposal was first introduced during Henry VIII's reign, but a genuine effort was not realized unit the third year of Elizabeth I's reign. Under the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Matthew Parker and a number of Bishops were chosen to begin the revision of the Great Bible. It was competed in 1568.
The large pulpit folio was intended for the Bishops, the cathedrals and the churches. Although authority was given for the people to read it, by design it already limited its appeal and accessibility. The readability would be drastically improved with the revision is 1702, but the favorability of the now prevalent and popular people's Bible (the Geneva 1560) and its quatro, octavo and folio sizes far outweighed the Bishops and all other English Bibles.
This large folio is best known for the woodcuts, the illustrations, the massive text and quite legible type. The limited response and questionable reception of the Bishops Bible led to less than 20 editions, the last is 1602.
An interesting side note concerns the New Testament which saw an extensive revision and reproduction as a separate edition and as an inclusion to the Fulkes confutation of the Rheimish Testament 1538-1539. There were actually more of both New Testaments produced in this critical work than in any other republication. The Rheims New Testament of the Roman Church was only reprinted four times (1600, 1621, 1633, 1749) between 1582-1750; the Old Testament only once (1635). The comparative study brought a sharp awareness to the critical text changes, but also a familiarity to words which would actually compliment the original intent, therefore many readings from the Vulgate or Rheimish New Testament were used by the King James translators.
The Bishops Bible was an English translation produced under the authority of the established Church of England, in 1568. It would be substantially revised in 1572. The final printing in 1602 would be assigned to the translators as the preferred text to consider for the authorized 1611.
Queen Elizabeth I's ascension to the throne in 1558 ushered in a period of reform in England. The intolerance of her predecessor, "Bloody Mary," had divided the country and the cruelty of her acts against her own people had severed many allegiances. Elizabeth reversed the ban on printing, reading, and reciting English Scripture, and also supported the protestant translations, though she and the Bishops of the Church of England shared a strong distaste for the Geneva Bible's marginal notes, which were clearly critical of the clergy, monarchy and the Papal Authority. It was quite evident that the Geneva Bible had overwhelming favor among English-speaking people everywhere.
Henry VIII had authorized Cromwell to enlist Miles Coverdale to improve upon the Matthew's Bible, most notably to eliminate unfavorable notes, but also to enhance the translation by using more of the original texts. The result was the Great Bible, a large and cumbersome edition intended for the pulpits of churches across England, to be read publicly by the priest and the parishioner. As the authorized Bible, it was read regularly and was a marked improvement over other versions, but being chained to the pulpits kept it from being truly accessible to the people.
Henry VIII had desired a "Bishop's" Bible prior to that, but in spite of numerous efforts, it never prevailed. However, in 1563 Queen Elizabeth agreed to a new work that would be the Church of England's answer to the Calvinist's Geneva Bible.The proposal for a new translation followed the publication of the 1539 Great Bible during the reign of Henry VIII. It was intended to be done by the Bishops of the English Church. The proposal met no real opposition but neither did it gain support and was not again emphasized until 1561, three years after Elizabeth had ascended the throne.
The intention was stated, “a version with no bitter or controversial annotations to the text.” The obvious concern was the very controversial Geneva Bible and its marginal notes (Calvinism/Presbyterianism =reformation). This, of course, seriously offended the hierarchy of the Church of England. The reformers fully intended to replace the hierarchy of the Bishops (Episcopalian) rule with lay lenders as elders. The Geneva notes stirred up no small fire of opposition to the only legally authorized Bible for Anglican worship, but it was severely deficient; in that much of the Old Testament was translated from the Latin Vulgate rather than the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. In an attempt to subjugate both, the proposal was re-introduced and promoted by Archbishop of Canterbury, Matthew Parker, who would be the chief editor. Parker asserted first of all, to follow the common English translation used in the churches (Great Bible) and not recede from it but where it "varieth manifestaly" from the Hebrew and Greek original. It is clear, with the historic perspective that Parker's intentions were quite “Romish” as they would very much confirm to Roman Catholic rule under Queen Mary. There is little question Parker's primary emphasis on the new translation was an attempt to stop the advance of the Geneva in the churches.
Archbishop Parker edited the text, but the list of scholars who worked on the Bishops Bible was significant. It was sent to the Queen and her chief minister “Lord Cecil” in advance. (No doubt to ensure the Calvinist tones of the Geneva were not given place in this new version).
Using the text of the Great Bible and its Latin base comparisons were made to the Hebrew text of the Paginus (1528) and Münster's (1539). This proved necessary as none of the Bishops evidenced scholarship of Hebrew. At Parker's instigation it was determined each of the assigned Bishops for the translation work assigned their signature (title) to the text they translated. As was the case, illustrated in a letter from Parker to Sir William Cecil, in reference to the book of Deuteronomy and the concluding initials W.E. (William Alley) Bishop of Geter. There Parker explains this was to ensure the diligence of their doings, i.e. accountability not only corporately among themselves, but publicly among others It is believed that Archbishop Parker himself failed to commission anyone to act as supervisory editor of the various translators and he himself was unable or unwilling to tender such a task.
One noticeable call to question is the tetragrammation YHWH represented by “Lord” in most Hebrew as well as English versions and the Hebrew “Elohim” is represented by “God”, but in Psalms the practice is the opposite way around. It is interesting that Parker's edits of his own efforts are more in line to the Great Bible while Gindal, a writer translator, are more to the Geneva text. It appears the books lack little translation from original Hebrew and Greek but rather carry over the Latin Vulgate extant text to English as the Great Bible.
In the revision of 1572, the New Testament received extensive revisions in the direction of “ecclesiastical” language (e.g. introducing the term “Charity”, I Corinthians 13) but otherwise to correct the text more in line with that found in the Geneva Bible; and in the Old Testament, the Psalms from the Great Bible were printed along side those in the new translation – which proved impossible to sing. From 1577 the new Psalm translation was dropped all together; while further incremental changes were made to the text of the New Testament in subsequent editions.
The Bishops Bible was appointed to be read aloud in the churches, as was the Great Bible, but as a large pulpit folio it failed to displace the adversely domesticated Geneva Bible as the personal Bible among the people.
The last complete Bible edition was in 1602, but the New Testament was reissued until 1617. William Fulke published several parallel editions with the Rheims New Testament in his confutation up to 1633.
The whole Bishops Bible was not well received and only marginally reproduced with the majority being the New Testament, in total only 50 printings as opposed to the Geneva with well over 150 printings. The second and third editions contained many corrections and revisions. The third edition had a thorough revision of the New Testament. Nineteen varying editions were published between 1568-1606. The convocation of Canterbury in 1571 ordered each Archbishop and Bishop “should place a copy in the dinning room of his house, each Cathodral and as for as possible, each church should possess a copy.”
The Bishop's Bible was more grandiloquent that the Geneva Bible. The first edition was exceptionally large and included 124 full-page illustrations. Its size proved too cumbersome for personal use and was hardly comparable to the personal-sized Geneva Bibles that were now common in many English homes.
The Bishop's Bible of 1602 was to be the text from which the King James Bible translators worked, although numerous other texts were considered as well. the Last edition of the complete Bishop's Bible was issued in 1602. The New Testament continued to be revised until 1617.
The Bishop's Bible saw fewer than fifty editions in all while the Geneva saw well over 140 editions, making clear that the Bishop's Bible never found an acceptable place among the English editions.
The Bishops Bible is sometimes referred to as “ Matthew Parkers Bible”, as he was the primary force behind its publication. The title page bears the portrait image of Queen Elizabeth and Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, at the beginning of the book of Joshua, and of William Cecil, the Baron of Burghley, at the beginning of the Psalms. It included over 143 word cuts and maps and the preface written by Matthew Parker himself in addition to retaining the preface of Cranmer From the 1540 edition of the Great Bible. The Bishops Bible was beautiful, it was exceptionally large, with 124 full-page illustrations of woodblock and artistic fonts.
The end space of each translators work is autographed by the printed initials. Genesis, Exodus, Matthew, Mark, 2 Corinthians, Hebrews. Matthew Parker. Along with Parker, its revisers or translators are said to have included: Edmund Grindal (Bishop of London) Edwin Sandys (Bishop of Winchster), Richard Cox (bishop of Edy), Willaim Alley (Bishop of Exeter), Richard Davies (Bishop of St. Davids), Gabriel Goodman (Dean of Westminster), Andrew Pierson (Canon of Canterbury), Robert Horne (Bishop of Wischester), Andrew Perne (Canon or Dean of Ely), John Parkhurst (Bishop of Norwich), Thomas Bentham (Bishop of Lindhfield), Edmund Scambler (Bishop of Peteroborough), Nicholas Bullingham (Bishop of Lincoln), William Barlow (Bishop of Chichester), and Thomas Bickley (Parker's Chaplain and Bishop of Chichester) as the translator of Psalms.
11 1/2 x 16 3/4 x 5 1/4
Product Paper Type:
Natural White Textured Paper
Beautiful full-size leather bound, with raised bands and foil embossing, facsimile of an original 1611 1st Edition King James Bible. Our 1611 King James Bible Facsimile contains the full prefatory content: The Dedication to King James, the translator's To The Reader Preface, the Calendar, the Holy Land Map, the Genealogy, and of course the entire Old Testament, Intertestamental Books and New Testament .
Our facsimile is constructed of the highest quality using thick, chocolate-brown, embossed leather over hardboard covers with raised spine bands with beautiful gold foil stamping. The ensign embossed on the cover, beautiful marbled endpapers, sewn bind, and coordinating slipcase all add to the quality of this presentation piece.
This beautiful display piece is an essential part of any presentation of the rich history and heritage of our Bible. The fullness of its literary value can be seen and read page by page in the exact likeness of the original.
The King James Version of 1611, also known as the Authorized Version of the Bible, has been proven throughout history to be the greatest of all English translations. The beautiful English prose contained in the King James Bible has had supreme influence in society, and is widely considered to be the greatest literary masterpiece known to man. When King James the Sixth of Scotland succeeded Queen Elizabeth the First of England after her death, many different translations of the Bible were in existence, including the Bishop’s Bible, the Great Bible, and the Geneva Bible. To settle various religious grievances, King James called the Hampton Court Conference in January of 1604. During the Conference, Dr. John Reynolds, a Puritan leader and Oxford scholar, “moved his Majesty, that there might be a new translation of the Bible, because those which were allowed in the reigns of Henry the Eighth and Edward the Sixth were corrupt and not answerable to the truth of the Original.” King James then replied, “I wish some special pains were taken for an uniform translation, which should be done by the best learned men in both Universities, then reviewed by the Bishops, presented to the Privy Council, lastly ratified by the Royal authority, to be read in the whole Church, and none other.”
After a resolution was passed by King James in 1604, a committee of fifty-four of the finest scholars in England was commissioned for the purpose of creating a translation “of the whole Bible, as consonant as can be to the original Hebrew and Greek; and this to be set out and printed, without any marginal notes, and only to be used in all churches of England in time of divine service.” The committee was divided into six groups - two at Oxford University, two at Cambridge University, and two at Westminster University. The groups worked on certain portions of text separately, and then each group brought their translations before the entire committee to be reviewed for accuracy and revised to create better harmony as a whole. King James encouraged the men to diligently seek out “all our principal learned men within this our kingdom.” Thus, the scholars of an entire country were dedicated to this noble work - the only Book that can engage the heart, challenge the mind, and stir the soul.
The King James translators incorporated many of the helps first introduced in the Geneva Bible, and built upon the strengths of earlier versions such as Tyndale's New Testament, the Matthews Bible, the Great Bible, and the Bishops Bible to produce the greatest of all English translations. Its beautiful prose and simple structures have made it the greatest literary masterpiece of all time, but most importantly, we can be assured that the Word of God has been preserved in the pages of the King James Version.
In 1611, Robert Barker, printer to the King, printed the first edition of the King James Bible. He chose blackletter typeface which was difficult to read. In his rush to complete the printing several printer’s errors were made, not the least of which was changing she to he in Ruth 3:15. It is estimated that 1500 to 2000 Bibles were printed in that first edition. Today only 174 remain and of those less than 50 are complete. A later printing in 1611 corrected some of these errors. Our facsimile is of a rare original First Edition ‘He’ Bible.
16 1/2 x 11 1/2 x 4 3/4
Product Pages: 1258
Product Paper Type:
Natural White Textured Paper
The Biblical Heritage display is located at Faith Baptist Church and is a visual history of the English Bible.