Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Geneva Bible


  Robert Estienne, a Parisian printer published a Latin version of the Bible in 1524 which made it possible for the common man to be able to read and understand the Bible. He ran afoul of the Catholic Church which did not want farmers, shopkeepers and average people to be able to understand the Bible. It is my opinion that Satan has always tried to make God's word unavailable or difficult for man to understand. However I believe that even if Satan was able to destroy every Bible in the world someone would have it memorized or stored in a memory bank somewhere. Matthew 24:35 says "Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall never pass away. Estienne continued to publish the works of Bible reformers which got him in further hot water with the Catholic Church. The quality of his work appealed to the King of France so this is what protected him for awhile from the established church. He published the entire Hebrew Old Testament and a Greek version of the New Testament. This was the final straw and the opposition was so fierce that Estienne and his family fled Paris in 1551. To pass the time while on the road he began dividing a small New Testament into verses where he believed that they needed to go. In 1551 the Bible did not have verses. The original manuscripts had very little punctuation and I don't exactly know when punctuation was added. In the thirteenth century the Arch Bishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton, had divided the New Testament into chapters. In 1448 a Jewish Rabbi named Mordecai Nathan divided the Old Testament into chapter and verse. Robert Estienne finally settled in Geneva Switzerland with his family. In 1553 he published a Bible that included Nathan's chapter and verse divisions along with his divisions. In 1560, a year after Estienne's death, the first English language Bible called the Geneva Bible was published which is essentially the Bible that we have today. 

  Chapters interrupt the flow of thought sometimes in my opinion. A good example is John 13:37-38 and John 14:1-4. Starting a new chapter after verse 38 interrupts the thought flow. Jesus on the one hand is telling Peter that he will betray him by denying him three times but he immediately assures him in the next chapter, John 14:1  not to be troubled by his betrayal. For many years I never saw the connection between the two chapters, but when I did those verses took on a whole new meaning for me. For me this is how the verses should run. John 13:37, 38- John 14:1-4  Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake. Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice. Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Fathers house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you . And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there, there ye may be also. I like the flow better here without the chapter division. Punctuation can also totally change the meaning of a sentence. For example when Jesus is talking to the thief on the cross. Luke Chapter 23: 43. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. This verse implies that the thief would reside with Jesus in paradise that very day. Since punctuation was added to the Bible after it was originally written we don't know if the comma was placed in the right place. For example the verse could read like this. Verily I say unto thee today, shalt thou be with me in paradise. I believe that the Bible teaches that man does not put on immortality until the resurrection so it would not be possible for the thief to be in paradise that day. Jesus was assuring him however that he would be in paradise. Whether you believe my way or the orthodox traditional view of heaven matters not. A difference of opinion here is not a deal breaker. Our views on what happens after death is simply working out you own salvation. The thing that saves is the blood and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.    

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