Monday, July 30, 2018
The New Testament was completed in 1557, and the complete Bible was first published in 1560. It became known as the Geneva Bible. Due to a passage in Genesis describing the clothing that God fashioned for Adam and Eve upon expulsion from the Garden of Eden as “Breeches” (an antiquated form of “Britches”), some people referred to the Geneva Bible as the Breeches Bible.
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The Geneva: Bible of the Pilgrims & Puritans
The Geneva Bible was the first Bible taken to America, brought over on the Mayflower… it is the Bible upon which early America and its government was founded (certainly not the King’s of England’s Bible!) The Geneva Bible was also the first English Bible to break the chapters of scripture into numbered verses, and it was the first true “Study Bible” offering extensive commentary notes in the margins. It was so accurate and popular, that a half-century later, when the King James Bible came out… it retained more than 90% of the exact wording of the Geneva Bible.
These leaves measure approximately 8 to 9 inches tall by 6 to 7 inches wide. They were printed on 100% rag cotton linen sheet, not wood-pulp paper like books today, so they remain in excellent condition… even after over 400 years. Each leaf is a unique piece of ancient artwork, carefully produced one-at-a-time using a movable-type press, and later bound together into whole Bibles. These genuine original antiquities are very rare and precious pieces of our history and our Christian heritage. We offer them for considerably less than the $1,000 each (!) that they sold for on “The 700 Club” TV Broadcasts in the late 1990’s. Imagine… having a favorite passage of scripture from one of the earliest printings of the Bible of the Pilgrims & Puritans: The Geneva Bible.
Reformation Leaders Robert Aitkin
The first English language Bible to be printed in America by Robert Aitkin in 1782 was a King James Version. Robert Aitkin’s 1782 Bible was also the only Bible ever authorized by the United States Congress. He was commended by President George Washington for providing Americans with Bibles during the embargo of imported English goods due to the Revolutionary War. In 1808, Robert’s daughter, Jane Aitkin, would become the first woman to ever print a Bible… and to do so in America, of course. In 1791, Isaac Collins vastly improved upon the quality and size of the typesetting of American Bibles and produced the first “Family Bible” printed in America… also a King James Version. Also in 1791, Isaiah Thomas published the first Illustrated Bible printed in America…in the King James Version. For more information on the earliest Bibles printed in America from the 1600’s through the early 1800’s, you may wish to review our more detailed discussion of The Bibles of Colonial America.
View enlargement in separate window The 1663 Eliot Bible