The Geneva Bible has been the lost treasure of freedom for almost four hundred years. Nearly forgotten by the modern world, this version of the Holy Scriptures was translated and compiled by exiled reformers in Geneva (1557-1560) and stands alone in history as the force that transformed the English speaking world from the backwater of history into the center of civilization.
The struggle between liberty and tyranny was at a tipping point in England in 1557. England was a society beset by illiteracy, oppression, even barbarity. Hundreds of men had been burned at the stake merely for reading and teaching the Bible. Many clergymen, both Catholic and Protestant, received their parish jobs as payoffs and often were incapable or unwilling to preach. The impoverished and spiritually discouraged masses found solace outside of the church — in sloth and debauchery. The upper classes compromised their conscience and virtue to cater to the elites of the royal court.
Into this seemingly hopeless culture of corruption and error, the light of God’s written Word—in the newly translated, published, and distributed Geneva Bible—began to liberate the English-speaking people, penetrating hearts and transforming minds. The Geneva Bible was the most significant catalyst in the transformation of England, Scotland, and America from slavish tyranny to the heights of Christian civilization.
As the First Bible to be read by the common people in English, the Geneva Bible inspired self-government, free enterprise, education, limited constitutional government, protection of women and children, and godly culture. John Knox preached with power from the Geneva Bible at St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, mightily influencing Scotland’s restoration from clan-dominated, semi-pagan barbarity to Christian faith and liberty. And it was the Geneva Bible that was carried and read by the Pilgrims as they landed in the wilderness of America and extrapolated concepts of civic morality from its pages as they laid the foundations of the world’s first constitutional republic since the time of Moses.
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