History of English Bible Translation 13 The Bishops Bible 1568

History of the English Bible - Chapter 13 

1568 The Bishops Bible

Bible History Timeline TranslatedAfter Queen Mary died in 1568, the reformers began to return to England. English Bible History The Great Bible was once again placed in churches; however, the Geneva Bible had since become immensely popular during the previous decade.  Queen Elizabeth I reluctantly tolerated the printing of Geneva version Bibles in England. However, the study notes of the Geneva Bible were critical of a King's absolute power as well as that of the established churches - both Catholic and Anglican. 

An Answer to the Geneva Bible

Due to the popularity of the Geneva Bible, it was clear that it would be impossible to outlaw it as had been tried with Tyndale’s Bible.  Instead, the Anglican Church tried to create a new version to compete with it.  The new version needed to be less inflammatory.  The archbishop of Canterbury, Matthew Parker, was himself a scholar, and took up the task with interest. The basis of the new version was to be the Great Bible. Portions of the text were assigned to various revisers, the majority of whom were bishops leading to its name – “Bishops Bible”. They consulted the Geneva Bible, as well as other versions. The volume was equipped with notes, shorter than those of the Geneva Bible, and generally exegetical. It appeared in 1568, from the royal press of Robert Jugge, in a large folio, slightly exceeding even the dimensions of the Great Bible.

The Bishops' Bible is also called the "Treacle Bible," because of Jeremiah viii-22, which reads: "Is there no tryacle in Gilead?" This line is changed to "balm” in the 1611 KJV.

At the convocation of the Province of Canterbury which met on April 3d, 1571, it was ordered that this Bible should be placed in every cathedral, and that every archbishop, bishop, dean, and other church dignitary should have a copy publicly exposed in the hall or dining room of his home for the use of his servants and strangers.

The title page is composed chiefly of a large woodcut with a picture of Queen Elizabeth in an oval in the center. At the top of the page are merely the words:

The holie Bible
Conteynyng the olde
Testament and the newe.


Bishops Bible Leaf