For Christmas, I included the new ESV Study Bible on my “wish list.” (Sorry Stan. I had to do it.) The promotional hype around this product started early in 2008, leading to its introduction in October. All of the big names in the Neo-Reformed Magisterium were offering their blurbs in support of it. And by the end of the year, other “notables,” including this one, were including it in their top books of 2008. So, I figured I needed to get on-board with what was being heralded as a real masterpiece. And, my “wish” came true. Thank you so much (son) Ross. I have not had a chance to really dig in and use all of its features, but it does appear to be packed with them.
Also under the tree, thanks to my wife Leigh, was a copy of the 1599 Geneva Bible. I have to confess that I knew very little about the Geneva Bible before receiving this gift. When I started reading some of the material in the Forward and other Notes to the Reader, I learned some interesting stuff about this Bible. Its publisher says that it is the Bible of “firsts.”
The Geneva Bible was the first English Bible to be fully translated from the original languages.
The Geneva Bible was the first to be printed in Roman type rather than “Black Face” Gothic text.
The Geneva Bible was the first to qualify as a study Bible because of its copious notes, annotations and commentary provided by its translators.
The Geneva Bible was the first Bible to assign chapter demarcation and to add verse numbers within chapters.
The Geneva Bible was the first to be printed in a small “quarto” edition making it more portable and affordable.
It was the Bible carried by the Pilgrims on the Mayflower during their journey to the new world in 1620.
It was the Bible of John Bunyan and the Puritans.
It was the Calvinist notes in the Geneva Bible that so infuriated King James I in 1604 that he commissioned a group of scholars to produce of a Bible without annotations for him. It was finally published in 1611. Were it not for his antipathy for the Geneva Bible, the Authorized King James Version might never have been produced.
The Geneva Bible was written during the period where the English language was transitioning from Middle English to Early Modern English, so reading it does not come as easily as more modern translations. Still, it is incredibly interesting, as are the notes.