Introduction To the first Scriptures translated into English to diligently be compared in modern spelling

Go directly to a verse by typing "bookname".htm#chapter:verse
For ensample Matthew 13:52


John Wycliffe (1320-1384 A.D.)

John Wycliffe is credited with being the first to translate the entire Bible into English.  Wycliffe (alternatively spelled Wyclif, Wiclif, and Wickliffe) did his translating primarily from the only Bible then in use: The Latin 'Vulgate' (no Greek or Hebrew texts, versions, or editions were yet fabricated.)  He is often called the "Morning Star of the Reformation" for his opposition to ecclesiastical abuses and the papacy. Wycliffe took a courageous stand for reform in the Church, and advocated several doctrines that were considered heretical, including that the Church should not own property, that the king was superior to the pope in temporal matters, and rejected the doctrine of transubstantiation.


The wicked churchmen "hinder true men from preaching plainly and freely Christ's gospel and the commands of God for the saving of man's soul. And by many more deceits should Christian men know how these new religious orders are false prophets and cursed sects, of which Christ and his apostles prophesied before, and taught men to know them by their works."  --John Wycliffe


And he faithfully believed in the idea that the masses must have access to the scriptures. Wycliffe's New Testament translation was completed in 1380, and the entire Bible published in 1382. The early Wycliffe Bible adhered rather strictly to the Vulgate, often translating word-for-word and retaining the Latin syntax, at times making it awkward to the English ear.  Later, after Wycliffe's death, the Bible was revised in 1388, conducted primarily by Wycliffe's secretary John Purvey, and was freer in its use of English phrasing, that corrected much of the stilted language of the early version. The sentence structures from the Latin made it difficult to read and since it was published before the advent of the printing press, it was expensive and rare; few in England actually had copies. It was quite a task to handwrite a complete Bible (ironically made from the sheepskin of one flock) of which still several copies even survived till today. Nonetheless in the all-wise providence of God, the Reformation of the 16th century would not of been possible without the work of Wycliffe's faithful assembly (many of which were martyrs, and learned how to live by faith in Christ, and to reproduce as believers till even the reformation) with the vision to give Scriptural liberty to the people; where we got such strait translations as:


"Solomon in all his glory," Mat. 6:29


"forgive to us our debts, as we forgive to our debtors" Mat. 6:12


"Strait is the gate and narrow the way"; Mat. 7:14


"The cup of blessing which we bless." 1Cor.10:16


"Death is swallowed up in victory." 1Cor. 15:54


In 1408 the Church forbade translations of the Bible except under license from a Bishop and specifically condemned Wycliffe's Bible. So hated was he by Rome that, although the papists were restrained in his lifetime from harming him, the church could not let his bones rest in peace. On October 8, 1427, on order of the Council of Constance (the same Council that burned John Hus at the stake), Wycliffe's body was exhumed, his bones burned, and the ashes strewn on the River Swift. Somehow the Church authorities thought that by burning his remains they might erase his memory.  But even such bizarre and extreme actions could not could stop the hunger for God's Word and truth that Wycliffe had uncompromisingly advocated. A later chronicler described this event in these eloquent words:

They burnt his bones to ashes and cast them into the Swift, a neighboring brook running hard by. Thus the brook conveyed his ashes into the Avon, the Avon into the Severn, the Severn into the narrow seas and they into the main ocean. And so the ashes of Wyclif are symbolic of his doctrine, which is now spread throughout the world.


* NT translated by John Wycliffe and John Purvey, 1388

A modern-spelling edition of their 14th century Middle English translation,
the first complete English vernacular version, with an
Introduction by TERENCE P. NOBLE
endnote - conclusion - glossary (Editor and Publisher)

[ square brackets means a variant difference from the 1382 Early Version ]
Copyright ŠAugust 2001 by Terence P. Noble
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced
in any way without written permission from the publisher.


Tyndale (Rogers, Coverdale, Cranmer)


* The TRC Bible restoration includes the faithful translation labour from William Tyndale and his friends John Rogers, Miles Coverdale, and Thomas Cranmer.


William Tyndale (1494-1536 A.D.)

Fluent in at least 7 languages, William Tyndale (often Tindale) translated much of the Bible into English from the original Greek and Hebrew sources. As a result he gave the English language many of its best known phrases.


"the powers that be" Rom. 13:1


"blessed are the peacemakers," Mat. 5:9


"Ye cannot serve God and mammon"; Mat.6:24; Luk.16:13

"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow"; Mat.6:28

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them"; Mat.18:20

"It is more blessed to give than to receive"; Acts20:35


"Out of darkness into his marvelous light." 1Peter2:9


"The truth shall make you free." John 8:32


Tyndale was conservative in his vocabulary, using a few newly coined words; and is creative and poetic in style, with many other phrases familiar to us today. At that time, translating the Bible was considered heretical. Tyndale fled to Germany in 1524, later to Belgium. He continued his work, completely translating the New Testament in 1525-1526, and much of the Old Testament in 1530 - 1536 that gave the English such lasting cadences as "let there be light," and "am I my brother's keeper,".


Master Tyndale happened to be in the company of a learned man and, in disputing with him ... the man said, "We are better to be without God's laws than the pope's." Master Tyndale, hearing this, replied, "I defy the pope and all his laws;" and added, "If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy that driveth the plough to know more of the Scripture than thou dost." (Foxe, Book of Martyrs)


Most later translations borrow heavily from Tyndale's work. Unable to undertake his project in England, Tyndale fled to Germany where he translated and published his work. Copies were smuggled back into England. Tyndale relied on the Latin Vulgate, Erasmus's 1516 Greek New Testament, and Luther's German translation as source material. Much of Tyndale's work appears in the Geneva Bible (used by Shakespeare) and in the 'Authorized' King James version of the Bible, albeit unacknowledged. Tyndale carefully chose words which would clearly express the meaning of the original Biblical languages. Although on occasion the later translators chose words more acceptable to the church hierarchy. For instance, where the KJV reverts to the latin: "church", "religion", and charity", Tyndale had originally penned: "congregation", "devotion", and "love".

As touching his translation of the New Testament, because his enemies did so much carp at it, pretending it to be full of heresies, he wrote to John Frith, as followeth, "I call God to record against the day we shall appear before our Lord Jesus, that I never altered one syllable of God's Word against my conscience, nor would do this day, if all that is in earth, whether it be honor, pleasure, or riches, might be given me." 

At last, after much reasoning, when no reason would serve, although he deserved no death, he was condemned by virtue of the emperor's decree, made in the assembly at Augsburg. Brought forth to the place of execution, he was tied to the stake, strangled by the hangman, and afterwards consumed with fire, at the town of Vilvorde, A.D. 1536; crying at the stake with a fervent zeal, and a loud voice, "Lord! open the king of England's eyes."

-- Foxe's Book of Martyrs




Matthew's Bible (1537)
* [Variants, in square brackets are based on Mathew's 1537 Bible that uses W.T. 1535 N.T. edition; also 1John divers variants are from a 1531 exposition. Variants being edition differences when italicized means that can be read along with the text; Otherwise it is an alternative for the preceding word.]

This was the first complete, English Bible that was actually printed in England. Produced under royal license from Henry VIII, the title page lists Thomas Matthews as the translator, a pseudonym  (an assumed name that had actually been used by Tyndale at one time) was actually Tyndale's friend named John Rogers. The translation is based on Tyndale's 1530 Pentateuch / 1534 - 1535 New Testament Translation, and parts from Coverdale's 1535 Bible. As a result most of his Bible is the translation of William Tyndale, whose writings had been condemned by the English authorities.

Matthew's Bible included notes and commentary that made many of the clergy uncomfortable, who while now Bible believers had until very recently been part of the Roman Church.  As Queen Mary took the throne, John Rogers preached at Paul's Cross commending the "true doctrine taught in King Edward's days," and warning his hearers against the "pestilent Popery, idolatry and superstition" of the Roman Catholic Church. Years later he was imprisoned and than sentenced to death for denying the Christian character of the Church of Rome and the physical presence of the body of Christ in the sacrament of communion.


Alhthough Rogers had already completed and published Tyndale's translation work under the pseudonym Thomas Matthew to avoid martyrdom, later he too was a corageous martyr, and that, with the support of the people, many that became the more aware of tyranny in the powers and principalities; that Noailles, the French ambassador speaks of such support as saying

"even his children assisted at it, comforting him in such a manner that it seemed as if he had been led to a wedding rather than an execution."




Coverdale's Bible (1535)
* {variant within these brackets on the TRC means it is from Coverdale 1535 Bible.}

The first complete, printed version of the Bible in English was completed by Miles Coverdale, a once assistant of Tyndale. And like Tyndale's Bible, this one was also published on the Continent, likely in Cologne, Germany. Coverdale, who did not know much Hebrew or Greek, relied mainly on other translations, notably Tyndale's New Testament, Latin, and Dutch translations as source material that originally may of even been likely from persecuted believers such as the Waldenses. Unlike Tyndale and Rogers, Coverdale had the good fortune to publish his work after Henry VIII's seperation with Rome, since the political atmosphere at the time was favourable to an English translation of the Bible. The Coverdale Bible was eventually published under the King's license and he managed to scape martyrdom.

From Coverdale we got such eloquent translations like:

"tender mercies", "the valley of the shadow of death." and

"Amend your selves" Luke 13:5



The Great Bible (1539, revised 1540)

(TRC inlcudes within regular brackets text in italic, like as this writting: Thomas Cranmer renditions likely from original ancient Latin.)


The Great Bible is the first officially Authorized English Bible in England. Called "great" because of its physical size (9" by 13.5") it was supervised by Miles Coverdale and is a revision of Matthew's Bible. It is also called Cranmer's Bible, after Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer who wrote the preface. A copy of the Great Bible was placed in every church in England.


Cranmer was accused, tried and sentenced to death for treason, by Queen Mary, a convinced Roman Catholic, who remembered Cranmer's responsibility for her mother's unhappy divorce from her father King Henry the VIII.  Although Cranmer defended himself well, later he was also tried for heresy, sentenced for that offense and publicly degraded (designed as an act to discourage followers) and being forced to recant almost his whole position, by affirming transubstantiation (a more physical belief in the presence of Christ in the bread and wine and communion) and the supreme authority of the Pope in the English Church.  However, on March 21, 1556, at his execution (burning at the stake, a form of execution restored by Mary that he had abolished as Archbishop) he withdrew his forced confession, and proclaimed the truth of the faith boldly: he placed his hand in the fire, the hand with which he had falsely signed his renouncement of his beliefs, and said, "This hath offended!"

* TRC --- The New Testament text is William Tyndale's octavo 1526 edition with exception of Matthew till 22:12 that is instead from the 1525 Cologne quarto fragment; [square bracket variants] are from Mathew's Bible, and later Tyndale editions that can be read as alternative verse renditions or other original spelling of the preceding word; while (Italicized) means that it can be read along with the text; same for {variants like this} that are from Miles Coverdale 1535 bible.
The rare text was originally in Chapter - Paragraph form and now is here with the word of Christ, the son of the living God, in red color, and divided into standard verse form; and brought into modern go-spelling while retaining the archaic and including divers edition's renderings as variants for edification sake. May be quoted and used freely in all non-lucre, non-commercial Scripture distribution endeavors provided the content is not altered. If you find any transcription error please report it to :

The Geneva Bible. [1560 variants]

Copies of the Geneva Bible printed after 1587 generally contain a New Testament revised and annotated in 1576 by one Laurence Tomson of Geneva.


The Geneva Bible owes its origins to the Reformation Leaders who defied the persecutions of roman catholic "Bloody Mary" (as Mary queen of England would come to be called). Upon her ascension to the throne, queen Mary banned the printing of English scriptures. This led William Whittingham, Anthony Gilby, and a small band of Englishmen to flee to Geneva where they began translating an English version of the Bible.

In the 1550's, the Church at Geneva, Switzerland, was very sympathetic to the reformer refugees and was one of only a few safe havens for a desperate people. Many of them met in Geneva, led by Myles Coverdale and John Foxe (publisher of the famous Foxe's Book of Martyrs, which is to this day the only exhaustive reference work on the persecution and martyrdom of Early Christians from the first century up to the mid-16th century), as well as Thomas Sampson and William Whittingham. There, with the protection of John Calvin and John Knox, the Church of Geneva determined to produce a Bible that would educate their families while they continued in exile.

These scholars were concerned about the influence the Catholic Church would have in shaping the available English translation of the Bible (all translated from the Latin Vulgate). They turned to the original Greek and Hebrew texts to create the Geneva Bible; and the version printed in 1560 AD was The First English Language Bible to Add Numbered Verses to Each Chapter (80 Books) so that referencing specific passages would be easier. Every chapter was also accompanied by extensive marginal notes and references so thorough and complete that the Geneva Bible is also considered the first English "Study Bible".

The Geneva Bible is also known as the "Breeches" Bible for its use of that word in Genesis 3:7, "Then the eyes of them both were opened, and they knewe that they were naked, and they sewed figge tree leaues together, and made them selues breeches." Gen 3:7,

Also "Vanity of vanities," Eccl 1:2,

"My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" Mat. 17:5

"According to thy word"; Luke1:38, 2:29 are all from the Geneva Bible.

The Cambridge Geneva Bible of 1591 was the edition carried by the Pilgrims when they fled to America. As such, it directly provided much of the genius and inspiration which carried those courageous and faithful souls through their trials, and provided the spiritual, intellectual and legal basis for establishment and flourishing of the colonies. Thus, it became the foundation for establishment of the American Nation. William Bradford cited it in his book Of Plymouth Plantation. It holds the honor of being the first Bible taken to America, and the Bible of the Puritans and Pilgrims.

The Geneva retains approximately 90% of William Tyndale's translation. For many decades, the Geneva Bible remained more popular than that authorized by King James. The Church of England never authorized or sanctioned the Geneva Bible. However, it was frequently used, without authority, both to read the scripture lessons, and to preach from. The works of Shakespeare contain many quotes from the Geneva translation. It was pre-eminent as a household Bible, and continued so until the middle of the 17th century.

*  Text is a compilation of the Geneva 1560 and 1599 N.T. with differences as variants, divers original and modernized spelling, and updated italics (usually used by the translators to complete a phrase or thought).


Revised Websters KJV

[with KJV original footnotes]


* Webster Biography:

Noah Webster: America's first grammarian and founding father of
American education. In 1828 Noah Webster published the
'American Dictionary of the English Language'. This dictionary
demonstrates the Christian values which were found in America's
educational and scholarly systems. It is from this early
dictionary that we have today's popular 'Webster Dictionary'.

In 1833 Noah Webster, who had mastered 20 languages including
Hebrew and Greek, published the King James Authorized Version
'with amendments to the language'. In stating his reasons for
producing this version of the Bible, Webster said:

'In the present version, the language is, in general, correct
and perspicuous; ... in many passages uniting sublimity with
beautiful simplicity. In my view, the general style of the
version ought not to be altered. But, in the lapse of two or
three centuries, changes have taken place, which, in
particular passages, impair the beauty; in others, obscure the
sense, of the original languages. ... they do not present to
the reader the Word of God. ... My principal aim is to
remedy this evil.'

It was with cautious reverence that Webster corrected misused
grammar, removed offensive terms and expressions, and
substituted commonly understood words for words that had fallen
into disuse, or no longer carried the same meaning.

Webster, who was considered 'The schoolmaster to a nation' and
produced the earliest spellers and textbooks for America's school
children, believed Christian biblical values and American public
education to be inseparable. He believed the Webster Bible to be
'the most important enterprise' of his life, and referred to the
Bible as:

'... the chief moral cause of all that is good, and the best
corrector of all that is evil, in human society; the best book
for regulating the temporal concerns of men, and the only book
that can serve as an infallible guide to future felicity.'


*(bio part is from olb software Webster's module by Mark Fuller.)



About the King James Version. 1611/ 1769
The Epistle Dedicatory and The Translators To the Reader


The KJV was Printed in 1611 AD originally with 80 Books, including marginal notes.

The Apocrypha was Officially Removed in 1885 Leaving 66 Books.


The title pages of the original 1611 reads as follows: The Holy Bible,
Containing the Old Testament and the New: Newly Translated out of the
Original tongues, with the former Translations diligently compared and revised,
by his Majesty's special commandment. Appointed to be read in Churches.

Imprinted at London by Robert Barker, Printer to the Kings
most Excellent Majesty. Anno Dom. 1611.
The New Testament is entitled: The New Testament of our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ, Newly translated out of the Original Greek; and with the
former Translations diligently compared and revised, by His Majesties special
IMPRINTED at London by Robert Barker, Printer to the Kings
most Excellent Majesty. Anno Dom. 1611. Cum Privilegio.

The expression "newly translated" shows that we are in the presence of
a fresh version, in spite of rule 1 that the translators were to abide by,
which demanded merely a revision of the 1568 Bishops' Bible.
The version is not said to be "authorized"; yet "appointed to be read in Churches"
(not on the title page of the New Testament) could be interpreted to mean that

as successor to the Bishops' Bible, which was thus appointed,

the New Testament might be regarded as "authorized";

moreover the Bishops' Bible was the legitimate successor of the expressly

"Authorised" Great Bible of 1539 that had the support of Archbishop

Thomas Cranmer who later became also a martyr.

And the Great Bible was a revision of the 1537 Matthew's Bible.

Matthew's Bible was by John Rogers who made a revision of The New Testament from

W.T. 1535 edition. Also evidently while in prison Tyndale had managed to continue

translating up through First Chronicles, and gave his manuscript to Rogers before

his execution.


In the sovereignty of God, Tyndale's prayer was mightily answered indeed.