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Below is a portion of the Geneva Bible, complete with introduction and notes, from the first four chapters of the Gospel According to Matthew. I have omitted the cross-references and page headings, and have modernized the spelling. The footnote reference characters used in the Geneva Bible are replaced with numbers here. The text and notes are taken from the photographic facsimile of the 1560 edition printed in The Geneva Bible, a Facsimile of the 1560 edition, with an Introduction by Lloyd E. Berry (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969). Later editions of the Geneva Bible often have a different set of notes. Editions printed after 1587 generally have the notes written in 1576 by Laurence Tomson (1539-1608), a one-time lecturer in Hebrew at Geneva. --M.D.M.
In this history written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the Spirit of God so governed their hearts, that although they were four in number, yet in effect and purpose they so consent, as though the whole had been composed by any one of them. And albeit in style and manner of writing they be diverse, and sometime one writeth more largely that which the other doth abridge: nevertheless in matter and argument they all tend to one end: which is, to publish to the world the favour of God toward mankind through Christ Jesus, whom the Father hath given as a pledge of his mercy and love. And for this cause they entitle their story, Gospel, which signifieth good tidings, forasmuch as God hath performed in deed that which the fathers hoped for. So that hereby we are admonished to forsake the world, and the vanities thereof, and with most affectioned hearts embrace this incomparable treasure freely offered unto us: for there is no joy nor consolation, no peace nor quietness, no felicity nor salvation, but in Jesus Christ, who is the very substance of this Gospel, and in whom all the promises are yea, and amen. And therefore under this word is contained the whole New Testament: but commonly we use this name for the history, which the four Evangelists write, containing Christ's coming in the flesh, his death and resurrection, which is the perfect sum of our salvation. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are more copious in describing his life and death: but John more laboureth to set forth his doctrine, wherein both Christ's office, and also the virtue of his death and resurrection more fully appear: for without this, to know that Christ was born, dead and risen again, should nothing profit us. The which thing notwithstanding that the three first touch partly, as he also sometime intermeddleth the historical narration, yet John chiefly is occupied herein. And therefore as a most learned interpreter writeth, they describe, as it were, the body, and John setteth before our eyes the soul. Wherefore the same aptly termed the Gospel writ by John, the key which openeth the door to the understanding of the others: for whosoever doth know the office, virtue and power of Christ, shall read that which is written of the Son of God come to be the redeemer of the world, with most profit. Now as concerning the writers of this history, it is evident that Matthew was a publican or custom gatherer, and was thence chosen of Christ to be an Apostle. Mark is thought to have been Peter's disciple, and to have planted the first church at Alexandria, where he died the eighth year of the reign of Nero. Luke was a physician of Antiochia and became Paul's disciple, and fellow in all his travails: he lived fourscore and four years, and was buried at Constantinople. John was that Apostle whom the Lord loved, the son of Zebedeus, and brother of James: he died threescore years after Christ, and was buried near to the city of Ephesus.
1 The genealogy of Christ, that is, the Messiah promised to the fathers, 18 Who was conceived by the holy Ghost, and born of the virgin Mary, when she was betrothed unto Joseph. 20 The Angel satisfieth Joseph's mind. 21 Why he is called Jesus, and wherefore Emmanuel.
1 The (3)book of the generation of Jesus Christ the (4)son of (5)David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham begat Isaac. And Isaac begat Jacob. And Jacob begat Judas and his brethren. 3 And Judas begat Phares, and Zara (6)of Thamar. And Phares begat Esrom. And Esrom begat Aram. 4 And Aram begat Aminadab. And Aminadab begat Naasson. And Naasson begat Salmon. 5 And Salmon begat Booz of (7)Rachab. And Booz begat Obed of Ruth. And Obed begat Jesse. 6 And Jesse begat David the King. And David the King begat Solomon of her that was the wife of Urias. 7 And Solomon begat Roboam. And Roboam begat Abia. And Abia begat Asa. 8 And Asa begat Josaphat. And Josaphat begat Joram. And Joram begat Ozias. 9 And Ozias begat (8)Joatham. And Joatham begat Achaz. And Achaz begat Ezecias. 10 And Ezecias begat Manasses. And Manasses begat Amon. And Amon begat Josias. 11 And Josias begat Jacim. And Jacim begat Jechonias and his brethren about the time they were carried away to Babylon. 12 And after they were carried away into Babylon, Jechonias begat (9)Salathiel. And Salathiel begat Zorobabel. 13 And Zorobabel begat Abiud. And Abiud begat Eliacim. And Eliacim begat Azor. 14 And Azor begat Sadoc. And Sadoc begat Achim. And Achim begat Eliud. 15 And Eliud begat Eleazar. And Eleazar begat Matthan. And Matthan begat Jacob. 16 And Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, (10)of whom was born jesus, that is called (11)Christ. 17 So all the generations from Abraham to David, are fourteen generations. And from David until they were carried away into Babylon, fourteen generations: and after they were carried away into Babylon until Christ, fourteen generations.
18 Now the birth of jesus Christ was thus, When as his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, (12)before they came together, she was found (13)with child of the holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband being a (14)just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But whiles he thought these things, behold, the Angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a (15)dream, saying, Joseph the (16)son of David, fear not to take Mary for thy wife: for that which is conceived in her, is of the holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name (17)jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 And all this was done that it might be fulfilled, which was spoken of the Lord by the Prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a son, and (18)they shall call his name Emmanuel, which is by interpretation, (19)God with us.
24 Then Joseph, being raised from sleep, did as the Angel of the Lord had enjoined him, and took his wife. 25 But he knew her not, till she had brought forth her (20)firstborn son, and he called his name jesus.
1 The time and place of Christ's birth. 11 The Wisemen offer their presents. 14 Christ fleeth into Egypt. 16 The young children are slain. 23 Joseph turneth into Galilee.
1 When jesus then was born at Bethlehem in (21)Judea, in the days of Herod the King, behold, there came (22)Wisemen from the East to Jerusalem. 2 Saying, Where is the King of the Jews that is born? for we have seen his (23)star in the East, and are come (24)to worship him. 3 When King Herod heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And gathering together all the chief Priests and Scribes of the people, he asked of them, where Christ should be born. 5 (25)And they said unto him, At Bethlehem in Judea: for so it is written by the Prophet, 6 And thou Bethlehem in the land of Judea, art not the least among the Princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come the governor that shall feed my people Israel. 7 Then Herod (26)privily called the Wisemen, and diligently inquired of them the time of the star that appeared, 8 And sent them to Bethlehem, saying, Go, and search diligently for the babe: and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come also, and worship him.
9 So when they had heard the King, they departed: and lo, the (27)star which they had seen in the East, went before them, till it came, and stood over the place where the babe was. 10 And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with an exceeding great joy, 11 And went into the house, and (28)found the babe with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him, and opened their treasures, and presented unto him gifts, (29)even gold, and incense, and myrrh. 12 And after they were warned of God in a dream, that they should (30)not go again to Herod, they returned into their country another way.
13 After their departure, behold the Angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the babe and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be there till I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the babe, to destroy him. 14 So he arose and took the babe and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt, 15 And was there unto the death of Herod, (31)that it might be fulfilled, which was spoken of the Lord by the Prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my Son.
16 (32)Then Herod, seeing that he was mocked of the Wisemen, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the male children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two year old and under, according to the time which he had diligently searched out of the Wisemen. 17 Then was that fulfilled which was spoken by the Prophet Jeremias, saying, 18 In (33)Rama was a voice heard, mourning, and weeping and great lamentation: Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they (34)were not. 19 And when Herod was dead, behold, an Angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 Saying, Arise, and take the babe and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are (35)dead which sought the babe's life. 21 Then he arose up, and took the babe and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judea in stead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: (36)yet after he was warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee, 23 And went and dwelt in a city called Nazaret, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Prophets, which was, That he should be called (37)a (38)Nazarite.
1 The office, doctrine, and life of John. 7 The Pharisees are reproved. 8 The fruits of repentance. 18 Christ is baptized in Jordan, 17 And authorized by God his Father.
1 And in (39)those days, John the Baptist came and preached in the (40)wilderness of Judea, 22 And said, (41)Repent: for the (42)kingdom of heaven is at hand. 3 For this is he of whom it is spoken by the Prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, is, Prepare ye the way of the Lord: make his paths straight. 4 And this John had his (43)garment of camel's hair, and a girdle of a skin about his loins: his meat was also (44)(45)locusts and wild honey. 5 Then went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan. 6 And they were baptized of him in Jordan, (46)confessing their sins. 7 Now when he saw many of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O (47)generations of vipers, who hath forewarned you to flee from the anger to come? 8 Bring forth therefore (48)fruits worthy amendment of life, 9 And think not to say with yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 10 And now also is the (49)axe put to the root of the trees: therefore every tree, which bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 11 Indeed I baptize you with water to amendment of life, but he that cometh after me, is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he will baptize you with the holy Ghost, and with (50)fire. 12 Which hath his (51)fan in his hand, and will make clean his floor, and gather his wheat into his garner, but will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
13 Then came Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14 But John put him back, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15 Then Jesus answering, said to him, Let be now: for thus it becometh us to (52)fulfill all righteousness. So he suffered him. 16 And Jesus when he was baptized, came straight out of the water. And lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and John saw the Spirit of God descending like a (53)dove, and lighting upon him. 17 And lo, a voice came from heaven, saying, (54)This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
1 Christ fasteth and is tempted. 11 The Angels minister unto him. 17 He beginneth to preach. 18 He calleth Peter, Andrew, James, and John, and healeth all the sick.
1 Then was Jesus led aside (55)of the Spirit into the wilderness, to be (56)tempted of the devil. 2 And when he had fasted forty days, and forty nights, he was afterward hungry. 3 Then came to him the tempter, and said, If thou be the Son of God, (57)command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answering, said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
1. This word signifieth good tidings, and is taken here for the story which containeth the joyful message of the coming of the Son of God promised from the beginning.
2. That is, written and taught by Matthew.
3. This is the rehearsal of the progeny, whereof Jesus Christ is sprung according to the flesh.
4. So called, for that he came of the stock of David.
5. These two are first rehearsed, because Christ was especially promised to come of them and their seed, and therefore Christ commonly was called the son of David, because the promise was more evidently confirmed unto him.
6. By incestuous adultery, the which shame setteth forth his great humility, who made himself of no reputation, but became a servant for our sakes: yea, a worm and no man, the reproach of men, and contempt of the people, and at length suffered the accursed death of the cross.
7. Rachab and Ruth, being Gentiles, signify that Christ came not only of the Jews, and for them, but also of the Gentiles, and for their salvation.
8. He hath omitted three Kings, Joas, Amasia, Azaria, abridging the number to make the times fourteen generations.
9. After the captivity, the title royal was appointed unto him: so that notwithstanding that they were as slaves for the space of seventy years, yet by the providence of God the government remained in the family of David, where it continued till the coming of Christ.
10. Albeit the Jews number their kindred by the malekind: yet this lineage of Mary is comprehended under the same, because she was married to a man of her own stock and tribe.
11. Who is the true King, Priest, and Prophet anointed of God to accomplish the office of the redeemer.
12. Before he took her home to him.
13. As the Angel afterward declared to Joseph.
14. Upright and fearing God, and therefore suspecting that she had committed fornication before she was betrothed, would neither retain her, which by the Law should be married to another, neither by accusing her put her to shame for her fact.
15. This dream is witnessed by the holy Ghost, and is a kind of revelation, Num. 12.6.
16. This name putteth him in remembrance of God's promises to David.
17. That is, a Saviour.
18. Or, thou.
19. God is joined with us by the means of Jesus Christ, who is both God and man.
20. Christ is here called the firstborn, because she had never none before, and not in respect of any she had after. Neither yet doth this word 'till' import always a time following: wherein the contrary may be affirmed, as our Saviour, saying, that he will be present with his disciples, till the end of the world, meaneth not, that after this world he will not be with them.
21. For there is another Bethlehem in the tribe of Zebulun.
22. Wisemen, or Magi, in the Persians' and Chaldeans' tongue signify Philosophers, Priests, or astronomers, and are here the first fruits of the Gentiles that came to worship Christ.
23. An extraordinary sign to set forth that King's honour, whom the world did not esteem.
24. Which was a declaration of that reverence, which the Gentiles should bear unto Christ.
25. They could well tell of Christ in general: but when they should profess his name, and give him his due honour, they wax cold, and shrink back.
26. An evil conscience is a burning fire.
27. The star vanished away before, to the intent they should tarry at Jerusalem, and there inquire of the thing, to the confusion of the Jews.
28. Or, saw.
29. The Persian manner was not to salute Kings without a present, and therefore they brought of that which was most precious in their country, whereof every one of them offered.
30. Promise ought not to be kept, where God's honour and preaching of his truth is hindered: or else it ought not to be broken.
31. That which was prefigured by the deliverance of the Israelites out of Egypt, which were Christ's Church and his body, is now verified, and accomplished in the head Christ.
32. Within a certain time after.
33. Herod renewed the sorrow which the Benjamites had suffered long before: yet for all his cruelty he could not bring to pass, that Christ should not reign.
34. That is, they were killed and dead.
35. Thus the faithful may see how God hath infinite means to preserve them from the rage of tyrants.
36. Or, therefore.
37. Or, of Nazaret.
38. Which is holy and consecrated to God: alluding unto those that were Nazarites in the old Law, which were a figure of that holiness which should be manifestd in Christ, as was Samson, Joseph, &c.
39. In the first year of the reign of Tiberius, after Christ had long time remained in Nazaret, and was now about 30 year old.
40. So called in respect of the plain country and fertile valleys: and not because it was not inhabited.
41. Or, be sorry for your faults past, and amend.
42. Which is, that God will reign over us, gather us unto him, pardon our sins, and adopt us by the preaching of the Gospel.
43. Woven with hair, as gross haircloth.
44. Such meats as nature brought forth without man's labour or diligence: read Levit. 11.22.
45. Or, grasshoppers.
46. Acknowledging their faults: for there is no repentance without confession.
47. Or, broods.
48. He menaceth those venomous and malicious Pharisees with the judgment of God, except they show before men such works as are agreeable to the profession of the godly, whom Isaiah called the trees of righteousness, chap. 61.3.
49. The judgment of God is at hand to destroy such as are not meet to be of his Church.
50. When God baptizeth inwardly with the virtue of his Spirit, he burneth, and consumeth the vices and inflameth the hearts with love toward him.
51. Which is the preaching of the Gospel, whereby he gathereth the faithful as good corn, and scattereth the infidels as chaff.
52. We must render perfect obedience to God in all things, which he hath ordained.
53. To show the state of his kingdom, which is in all meekness and lowliness.
54. The favour of God rested on Jesus Christ, that from him it might be poured on us, which deserve of ourselves his wrath, and indignation.
55. By the holy Ghost.
56. To the end that he overcoming these temptations might get the victory for us.
57. Satan would have Christ to distrust God and his word, and follow other strange and unlawful means.
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