Daily Gleaning - Why the Geneva Bible?
Some have asked why the Online Morning and Evening Prayer includes Scripture readings from the Geneva Bible (it also includes the traditional King James Bible). There are several reasons.
- The Geneva is a good translation from the original languages; not as formalized or as poetic as King James English but more in keeping with the purpose of the early English Reformers which was to permit ordinary Christians to read and understand Scripture in common English. In many (not all) instances, it is more understandable to even modern English speakers than the "authorized" King James.
- It was the English translation most familiar to early generations of Reformed Anglicans; for more than 50 years from 1565 until around 1625 by which time it was banned by the established church. Indeed, the King James was unknown to Anglicans until the very end of the Reformed Anglican era.
- It contains excellent notes, not like later "study Bibles" whose purpose was to provide an opportunity for academic learning, but rather for regular daily spiritual edification. For example, let's look at today's reading in Psalm 114. In verse 2, the text reads "Judah was his sanctification [other translations say 'Sanctuary'] and Israel his dominion." The Geneva note on that verse says "The whole people were witnesses of his holy majesty, in adopting them, and of his mighty power in delivering them." In other words,
- "Sanctuary" is not a place of fancy ceremony and decoration nor of 'religious' pursuit but rather it is a place where the forsaken are adopted as the children of God and find rest for their souls.
- "Dominion" is not a means of oppression by state and clerical authorities but rather the means by which God delivers his adopted children to heaven.
The full text:
114 1 How the Israelites were delivered forth of Egypt, and of the wonderful miracles that God wrought at that time. Which put us in remembrance of God’s great mercy toward his Church, who when the course of nature faileth, preserveth his miraculously.
1 When Israel went out of Egypt, and the house of Jacob from the [a]barbarous people,
2 Judah was his [b]sanctification, and Israel his dominion.
3 The sea saw it, and fled: Jordan was turned back.
4 The [c]mountains leaped like rams, and the hills as lambs!
5 What ailed thee, O sea, that thou fleddest? O Jordan, whywast thou turned back?
6 Ye mountains why leaped ye like rams, and ye hills as lambs?
7 The [d]earth trembled at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob,
8 Which [e]turneth the rock into waterpools, and the flint into a fountain of water.
Psalm 114:1 That is, from them that were of a strange language.
Psalm 114:2 The whole people were witnesses of his holy majesty, in adopting them, and of his mighty power in delivering them.
Psalm 114:4 Seeing that these dead creatures felt God’s power, and after a sort saw it, much more his people ought to consider it, and glorify him for the same.
Psalm 114:7 Ought then his people to be insensible when they see his power and majesty?
Psalm 114:8 That is, caused miraculously water to come out of the rock in most abundance, Exod. 17:6.