A Reformation guide to Scripture – The translators of the Geneva Bible
Banner of Truth; 152 pages, £5.50
This volume contains the various prologues within the Geneva Bible to all the books of the Bible. These prologues give a general understanding of the Bible’s contents and each book’s place in biblical revelation.
The prologues are very brief and generally not very profound, but the comments on the four-fold gospel are particularly instructive: ‘In this history written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the Spirit of God so governed their hearts that, although they were four in number, yet in effect and purpose they consent as though the whole had been composed by any one of them’ (p.81).
The dedication of the Geneva Bible to Queen Elizabeth I, also included here, assumes that as sovereign she had a responsibility before God to promote the welfare of the Christian church and warned her against the intrigues of the church’s enemies, who would hinder or prevent her work.
Among them are ‘papists who seek to erect idolatry and destroy your Majesty’ and ‘ambitious prelates like Diotrephes, who can abide none but themselves’ (p. xi).
Jewish kings like Hezekiah and Josiah are regarded as examples to all ‘godly’ rulers to reform their countries and establish the Word of God (p. xiv). There is also an insistence that the Queen must first consult with God and do nothing without the sanction of his Word.
Their esteem of Elizabeth as ‘virtuous, noble and gracious’ and as one brought up in the Holy Scriptures seems misplaced, but they do emphasise her basic need to have ‘a lively and steadfast faith in Christ Jesus’.
As the translators claim to have by all means endeavoured to set forth the purity of the Word and the right sense of the Holy Ghost, so they beseech their beloved brethren in Britain to willingly receive the Word of God, earnestly study it and in all their life practise it. And so we all should!
W. John Cook