Bible Reviews

Puritans, Pilgrims, and Reformers, a Review of the 1599 Geneva Bible from Tolle Lege Press.

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Tolle Lege Press is responsible for the rejuvenating the 1599 Geneva Bible. Unfortunately not many people know about this or seem to care. (Except for Kirk Cameron)  I say it is unfortunate because I truly believe the historical importance of this translation has been overlooked for a blind allegiance to the KJV.  Many people don’t know anything about the Geneva translation.  They are happy with their King James versions.  I’ve always wondered why the KJV onlyists are so loyal to a version that was translated by order of the King to conform to the ecclesiology of the Church of England.  The royals and Church leaders were afraid of losing their grip on power.  The Bibles of that time period all relied on the Latin Vulgate to some degree as a resource for translation.  The Geneva and the KJV were no exceptions.  The KJV relied on the Geneva for reference during its translation.  The KJV onlyists are always spewing their venomous polemics towards all other versions being Papal translations from Rome.  It is disturbing that they can suspend rational thought in regards to the KJV, but seem rational most other times.

The Geneva was translated by the Reformers. They had to flee to Geneva so that they wouldn’t be martyred by the Roman Catholic Church and Bloody Mary.   John Calvin and John Knox are most often credited for the Geneva translation.  There were other individuals working with them in Geneva to make this translation.  The notes and references of this Bible are retained and printed in modern font.  They are printed on the bottom of the page like a modern study Bible.  These notes are what made this translation such an enemy to the Crowns of the King and the Pope.  You have to understand that the Roman Catholic Church was in the business of hunting down and killing the reformers.  Then Puritans were persecuted for believing what the reformation brought to fruition.  This is what led to them becoming pilgrims.  They fled to America hoping to live God honoring lives obedient to His word.  The Bible they took with them was the Geneva Bible.

For more on the Geneva’s history visit this site;

Here is a short youtube video about it as well;

Don’t mind the trolls. They keep complaining about some pagan imagery on the cover, but I don’t see any.  I’ve asked them specifically and really haven’t gotten any answers other than, “You’re going to Hell for using anything but the KJV heretic!!!”  and now for something completely different, how about the review of the 1599 Geneva Bible?

The 1599 arrived in a cardboard box.

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Inside was the Bible in its retail 2 piece box.  The cd-rom contains searchable, printable PDFs of the Geneva Bible, plus the Apocryphal Books and Metrical Psalms, was also in the retail box.

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The packaging was sufficient to ensure the Bible was delivered without being damaged.  Tolle Lege did a wonderful job of giving the 1599 a modern typography.  They placed all of the references and notes at the bottom like a modern day study Bible.

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The Bible is printed on some pretty opaque paper.  It is off white and a bit more rigid than most Bible papers I’ve seen.  I don’t know what kind of paper it is for sure, but it seems suitable.  The text is printed in a double column verse format with an 8 point font.  The notes are printed at the bottom of the page like a modern study Bible.  Chapter numbers are larger and in bold print.  The pages are bound in a sewn binding done here in America.

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The sewn binding makes up for the bonded leather cover.  I can’t begin to tell you how much I detest bonded leather.  I would much rather see a hardcover or trutone fake leather cover.  Of course if this Bible came in a top grain cowhide or goatskin cover with sewn edge lining of leather it would be great.  The cover is lined on the inside with white paper that is glued down.

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The front outer cover is decorated with, “1599 Geneva Bible” at the top and some kind of flower on the bottom.

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I imagine that these are the pagan symbols the kooks are upset about.  Who knows?  The spine is also gilded with the same as is on the cover except on the bottom of the spine is the Tolle Lege logo.

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The sewn binding makes this Bible open better than it would without it.  It doesn’t open as nicely as it could with a better cover.

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The binding doesn’t completely stop the pages from folding closed on you while you are reading.  This is only just out of the box, brand new.  As I used it this problem went away.  It also will make this Bible hold up much better.

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There is one black ribbon marker.  The page edges are gilded.

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There is a Middle English Glossary in the back and several prayers including morning and evening.  There is a purely subjective quality about this Bible that makes me want to sit and read it.  The combination of the size, weight, paper, and layout, make sense to me and I find it easy to read.  Now just because that is the experience I have with it doesn’t mean I expect everyone to agree with me so don’t go launching fiery darts at me.  This Bible should be a part of every Christian’s library.  If you don’t have one, go get one.

Don’t get this Bible confused with the 1560 facsimile Geneva Bible.  This one is actually useful for daily reading.  The 1560 is a little tedious.

10 thoughts on “Puritans, Pilgrims, and Reformers, a Review of the 1599 Geneva Bible from Tolle Lege Press.

  1. Thank you for your honest review of this edition of the Geneva bible. There are many critics of it, namely KJV bible worshippers. I’ve recently decided to switch to this revived and resurrected old bible for the simple facts I have recently learned about the KJV. I’ve always used the KJV growing up in a KJV only home. There are many lies that have infiltrated our thought about bible translations. there is something fishy about a king and his regime trying to monopolize the bible market. so many saints fought And sacrificed for its publication. Most of the KJV only crowd are full of hateful judgmental venom spewers that will not hesitate to destroy anyone who stands in opposition to their “authorized” version. Why did they fight so hard to stop its publication? They say it had errors. While I acknowledge the small errors it may have, they are clearly clerical and not intentional, whereas the KJV originally was published with Masonic hand shakes and freemasonry symbolism all over the artwork (clearly intended by them, the publishers). Sounds like trying to pick a speck out of the eye of the Geneva, when they had a beam hanging from their own.

    Also, the KJV is the only bible that has a cult like following. Red flags all over the place. And don’t even get me started on Sir Francis Bacon or King James personal character.

    I am desperately wanting to get my hands on one of these beautiful bibles but they are out of print and won’t be any for several months. That should say something when a bible such as this is not even published by the most well know Christian publisher Zondervan. It has been pushed off and hidden away, but I am thankful to see it in reprint now and am thankful to have discovered it.

    Thank you again for your review and I enjoyed seeing all the beautiful pictures also!


    1. Don’t get me wrong, the KJV has been a wonderful translation for over 400 years now, but it isn’t and wasn’t the only decent translation out there. I’ve never agreed with the KJV only stance. I can appreciate someone who is more intellectually honest and just affirms their preference for it. My favorite translation is the NASB. The notes from the 1560 Geneva are said to be different from the 1599, but I haven’t really studied that topic much. It is strange how much vitriol comes out of some of the KJV onlyists. Out of the overflow of the heart…


      1. I agree! Again, ALL MY LIFE I’ve carried the KJV and God has used it in my life. It is a good translation without any missing verses and I also agree with you on the NASB. Funny you mention that because I have felt the Lord leading me to that translation also. I feel that my eyes have been opened to the deeper truth about the KJV and I personally feel He is leading me away from it to be set free spiritually. I was very abused with the KJV bible as a child. I agree with you in that there are people that will not see the facts for what they ate objectively and simply acknowledge it for what it is. Doesn’t mean that the KJV doesn’t have the truth in it, but the men that were behind putting it together we’re some very evil and godless men. I am still trying reconcile the truth on this issue. I know that “things” (such as handkerchiefs) can carry anointings and also curses. It’s demonstrated in the bible and also in witchcraft. I will say again, my eyes are open to see that the KJV is the only translation that seems to have this pompous cult like following. No other translation is “worshipped” like this translation. Could it be that these pompous and arrogant men imparted something spiritual on it when it was produced? This I am still searching for answers on.

        In the meanwhile, I will be reading my online Geneva and NASB. 😉

        Again thanks so much and God be with you friend.


      2. I don’t know if you understood this or not, but the review is primarily about the quality of the materials, and manufacture. Thanks for the negative criticism, perhaps you’d like to kick a puppy while you’re here?


  2. Most of the accounts of power being passed on through an object were ones where the object was something of one of the Apostles during the foundation of the Church. I would not put much stock in modern accounts of similar occurrences. As far as the KJV Bible goes, I wouldn’t say that there is any nefarious mystical spiritual power attached to it. I think that would be taking things a bit too far. It has served as a trusted translation for over 400 years. I would encourage you to read the Bible from beginning to end, on a daily reading plan, with a congregation and a preaching Elder who is Biblically qualified. Stay away from cults.


  3. Thanks for the review. How suitable is the bible you reviewed for a rebind project? I was thinking of getting Leonards to do a rebind. And I like the readability of the 1599 version versus the 1560 facsimile edition.


    1. I’ve been considering having Diego Caloca Jr. of Caloca Rebinds rebind this Bible in edge lined goatskin leather. This Bible would be an excellent choice for a rebind in my opinion. It is a sewn binding, and has great paper. Since it comes with a cheap bonded leather cover and is case bound, it would not be a loss at all to get rid of the stock cover. Caloca does a superior job in my experience.


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