The Geneva Bible

Whittingham's New Testament (1557). William Whittingham, et. al. The Newe Testament of our Lord Iesus Christ, conferred diligently with the Greke and best approued translations. With the arguments as wel before the chapters, as for euery Boke and Epistle, also diuersities of readings, and most proffitable annotations of all harde places: whereunto is added a copious Table. Geneva: Conrad Badius, 1557.

Mainly a revision of Matthew's Bible on the basis of Estienne 1550. The phrase "also diversities of readings" in the title refers to marginal readings translated from Estienne's margin. The text was printed in roman type (rather than the traditional "black letter") and was divided into verses as in Estienne 1551. Supplied words were set in italic type.


The Geneva Bible (1560). William Whittingham, et al., The Bible and Holy Scriptures Conteyned in the Olde and Newe Testament, translated according to the Ebrue and Greke, and conferred with the best translations in divers languages, with moste profitable annotations upon all the hard places, and other things of great importance as may appear in the epistle to the reader. Geneva: Rovland Hall, 1560.

The New Testament portion of this version, commonly called the "Geneva Bible" is mainly a revision of Tyndale 1535 on the basis of Estienne 1550. The translation was made by a group of Calvinistic English exiles living in Geneva, probably including Miles Coverdale, Christopher Goodman, Anthony Gilby, Thomas Sampson, and William Cole, along with William Whittingham, who probably was responsible for most of the New Testament and for the general editing. Later editions of the Geneva Bible usually substituted a revision of the New Testament done by Laurence Tomson (see below). The Geneva Bibe became the most widely used version in England and Scotland until the appearance of the King James version.


Tomson's New Testament (1576). Laurence Tomson, ed., The New Testament of our Lord Iesvs Christ, translated out of the Greeke by Theod. Beza. Whereunto are adjoyned briefe Summeries of doctrine vpon the Euangelistes and Actes of the Apostles, together with the methode of the Epistles of the Apostles, by the said Theod. Beza. And also short expositions on the phrases and hard places, taken ovt of the large annotations of foresayd Author and Joach. Camerarius, by P. Loseler Villerius. Englished by L. Tomson. Imprinted at London by Christopher Barkar dwelling in Poules churchyeard at the sign of the Tigres head. 1576. Cum privilegio.

This was the New Testament of the Geneva Bible (1560) revised by Laurence Tomson on the basis of Beza's Greek text with Latin version and commentary, published in 1565 (see Beza 1565). In Geneva Bibles printed from the year 1587 it was generally substituted for the Geneva New Testament of 1560.

"In 1576, a revised form of the Geneva Bible was produced by Lawrence Tomson, Secretary to Sir Francis Walsingham (then Elizabeth's Secretary of State) and formerly lecturer in Hebrew at Geneva. This contains a few changes in the translation, the most characteristic being Tomson's pedantic rendering of the Greek definite article by "that" (e.g. Matt. 16.16, "Thou art that Christ"); but the chief difference is the introduction of an English translation of Theodore Beza's summaries of doctrine and exposition of phrases in Beza's Latin Bible. In 1598, the annotations on the Book of Revelation by Francis Junius, a Huguenot divine, were introduced into the Geneva Bible." —Bruce Metzger, “Book Notes,” Theology Today 46/4 (January 1990), p. 463.