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About the MGB

How & Why We Modernized

How & Why We Modernized

"Modernization" does not mean softened. 

The MGB is not a new translation with the hard sayings of Jesus watered down. We did not delete any verses, whether the doxology to the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6, the ending of Mark's Gospel in Mark 16, or the stirring pool of Siloam in John 5.

We simply modernized archaic words and word order from the 1599 Geneva Bible in order to help modern readers understand the text. 

If we were to reprint the original Geneva Bible with no edits, it would be unreadable and useful only for scholars. Most of us would be confused when reading: “And after those days we trussed up our fardels, and went up to Jerusalem” (Acts 21:15). 

The original intention of the Geneva Bible's translators was not to create a relic that would sit on the shelf. They wanted people to read the word of God and to think about what it said. We have the same goal.

So in this translation, we have updated archaic words and word order, so you don't need to decode with a dictionary. You can find an extensive 56 page record here. “Thees” and “thous” are replaced with “you.” Subjects are often put before verbs, and words like “garner,” (barn), “firk,” (measure), and “habergeon” (breastplate) are all replaced with their modern equivalents.

Why another Bible version?

You might wonder, "why create another version when we have the NKJV, the NIV, the NASB, and the ESV?" The Geneva Bible was the most influential English Bible in history. This was the bible read during the protestant reformation, used by writers like Bunyan and Shakespeare, and carried by the Pilgrims to America. The Geneva Bible was even the foundation for the King James version in 1611. Yet, tragically, this bible has almost been forgotten. We wanted to restore this historic and wonderful translation and remind Christians of the Bible used by our faithful forefathers.

The word of God is a two-edged sword that discerns the thoughts and desires of the heart. If you come to this book, God will give Himself to you. We pray that by reading it in faith, it will do the same thing for you that it did for your fathers who went before you, living and dying with faith in Jesus Christ.

To learn more about the Geneva Bible's rich history and about those that made and read it, click the link below.

Read the History of the Geneva Bible > 

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The History of the Geneva Bible

The History of the Geneva Bible

We have set out to create a beautiful, functional, modernized version of the Geneva Bible, the English Bible translated in Geneva under the direction of John Calvin in 1560.

The History

Surprisingly, although this is one of the most important historical translations of the Bible into English, translated before the King James Version, and was popular with the Puritans, nobody reads this Bible anymore. What is the story of this translation and why was it forgotten?

The story of the translation of a complete Bible into English begins with Tyndale. Tyndale famously vowed that he would make sure that even a lowly plowboy would be able to know more Scripture than the average theologian. He translated the entire New Testament, the Pentateuch, and various other books in the Old Testament before he was captured by the authorities and executed.

However, before he was strangled at the stake, changes had already taken place in his native land. Henry VIII, king of England, broke from the Roman Catholic Church, famously so that he could divorce his wife. Tyndale’s own friend Miles Coverdale managed to get the king to authorize an English translation of the Bible based largely upon Tyndale’s translation. It was published in 1539, and the king commanded that large copies be displayed in churches.

Despite that, the situation in England was precarious. After Henry VIII and his son died, the very Catholic Mary brought the nation back to Catholicism and killed the most prominent Protestant leaders. Anyone who wanted to escape martyrdom had to flee to the European continent. Many English Protestants fled to Geneva, where John Calvin was reforming the city and making it increasingly Protestant. While there, the English exiles made a new and improved English translation. The translators were William Whitingham (an Englishman who married Calvin’s sister), Christopher Goodman, Anthony Gilby, Thomas Sampson, and Miles Coverdale.

Although the Geneva Bible built upon Tyndale and the Great Bible, it was a huge advance in scholarship, and it was very much the first reader-friendly text. It was the first with chapter/verse divisions, the first with a legible font and a reasonable size, the first with italics to show what words were not in the original languages, and the first to include maps, marginal notes, chronologies and indices. Most exciting of all, it was the first Bible entirely translated from the Hebrew and the Greek. It was a book suitable, not just for displaying in churches, but for family reading.

And read it they did. For the next few centuries, the Geneva Bible would be the English Bible. In 1579 the Scottish parliament commanded that every household with adequate means should buy a Geneva Bible. When the Pilgrims went to America, they took Geneva Bibles with them. When the Puritans fought in the English civil war, it was the English Bible they took into battle. It was the Bible for brave men, and it was the Bible for families.

However, the Geneva Bible lost in the long run, and it was due to all those helpful marginal notes. Several of them spoke very fiercely about the right of subjects to resist their king, and King James was not happy with this and commissioned a new translation.

Decades after James' ban, Christians were still printing it with fake identifications like putting Geneva notes on KJBs, dating Geneva Bibles 1599, and printing Geneva Bibles with KJB covers. Even James' translators continued to prefer the Geneva Bible, quoting it in the KJB preface and preaching from it decades later.

Here's what the Geneva Bible of 1560 said about Pharoah: "The more the tyranny of the wicked raged against his Church, the more his heavy judgments increased against them, till Pharaoh and his army were drowned in the sea, which gave an entry and passage to the children of God." The Geneva Bible even says when dealing with tyrants, "disobedience was lawful". Disobedience to tyrants was obedience to God. The men of Geneva included many study notes on the "all the hard places" because "errors, sects, and heresies grow daily for lack of true knowledge" of God's Word.

However, James' translation without these notes did not catch on and we might still be reading Geneva Bibles to this day, if it were not for the fact that the English Civil War happened. Rebels tended to use the Geneva Bible, and royalists both used the King James Bible and at times banned it. The Church of England promoted their Bible and after they won the war, the translation that got imported to the English colonies was, not surprisingly, the King James Bible. It was the authorized version indeed.

How We Modernized > 

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