Libraries Receive Donation of Geneva Bible

Baylor University Libraries have received the generous gift of a rare large folio edition of the Geneva Bible printed in 1583 from Bob and Glenella Scarborough of Keller. Standing over 16 inches tall with a spine four inches wide, the Bible is one of more than 160 editions of the Geneva Bible printed between 1560 and 1644. The final printing occurred in 1644 when it was superseded in popularity by the King James Version.

The product of Protestant Reformation leaders who fled from England to Geneva, Switzerland, to escape persecution under the reign of Queen Mary, the Geneva Bible was notable in its time for its ease of use.

The Geneva Bible was the first Bible in English to include numbered verses in each chapter of scripture. Extensive marginal notes, chapter summaries, and maps were also included to provide explanation and interpretation of the text.


Of note in the large folio edition of the Geneva Bible acquired by Baylor is a full page illustration of the Garden of Eden at the beginning of the Old Testament and special illustrated title pages for the Psalms, Apocrypha and New Testament.

To provide further context for the reader, the Bible also includes the genealogy of Adam and advice on “How to take profite in reading of the Holy Scriptures,” among other preliminary matter.

Another interesting fact is the Geneva Bible is commonly known as the “Breeches” Bible in reference to Genesis 3:7 in which Adam and Eve are said to have sewn fig tree leaves together to form “breeches” as covering for their bodies.

The Bible will become part of the Polk Rare Book Collection housed in Moody Memorial Library. The Polk Rare Book Collection consists of more than 6,000 printed works dating from the sixteenth century and is particularly strong in rare Bible versions, Bible commentaries, works on the history of the Bible, medieval music manuscripts and early printed music.

- Jennifer Borderud
Bibliographic Access