“Once, in King James’ day, Scripture led the English language. Now, it follows it – to the dump….” ~ P. Kreeft

Sometimes in striking places and in subtle ways one finds a notable tribute to the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, along with a sharp warning of what happens when you tinker with God’s Word, as many modern translations do. Such as this one, in the book noted at the bottom:

Besides undermining their faith, we’ve [the devil’s minions] also given them the impression that the world’s most popular book could be understood only by professional scholars (in fact, they’re the only ones who can misunderstand it that badly!); that the world’s most exciting book is the dullest book in the world, and that the millions who fed at that table for millennia were simply superstitious simpletons mumbling misunderstood formulas for their private fantasies.

Fortunately for us, Christendom is now so well divided that they’ll never get together on one standard translation again. We keep them moving, and inspire new translations every year: the Liturgical Fidget must be supplemented by the Biblical Fidget. After all, the Bible has to keep up with the ‘progress’ of the language (i.e., the decay of words).

Once, in King James’ day, Scripture led the English language. Now, it follows it – to the dump, just as the American Church is following the world to the dump rather than leading it to the Heavens. Their ‘dumpster language’ is an index of their dumpster destination. Keep giving your patient little pushes in that direction, and he’ll ride with increasing speed the bandwagon of Our Father Below down to the place of pure noise (with lyrics of perfect torment).

Snakebite-Letters-Kreeft-1993Taken from Peter Kreeft’s The Snakebite Letters: Devilishly Devious Secrets for Subverting Society as Taught in Tempter’s Training School (Ignatius, 1993), pp.75-76.

Keep in mind this is a Roman Catholic writer describing Satan’s work in the church and schools in the spirit of C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters. While Kreeft’s Catholicism comes out clearly (not without some potent criticisms too), his insights into the devil’s influence in church and education are enlightening and instructive. And I find it rather ironic that the author would defend the perspicuity (clarity) of Scripture and private interpretation of it, when his own church does not. But I take that as another ‘poke’ at his own. In any case, I benefited from this deep though brief study into Satan’s ways.

The Lunar Bible | Museum of the Bible

Have you ever heard of this special Bible, now part of the Museum of the Bible collection? It is called the Lunar Bible, and it is part of a fascinating story, one I was not familiar with until yesterday (Nov.19), when on the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing of Apollo 12, the Museum of the Bible sent out this note:

The story of the Lunar Bible is a fascinating tale of tragedy and triumph. The saga began in 1967 with Apollo 1 astronaut Ed White telling reporters he wanted to take a Bible to the moon. Sadly, an accident during a test run for its launch took the lives of the Apollo 1 crew.

In their honor, the Apollo Prayer League was formed to pray for the safety of future astronauts and to honor Ed White by taking a Bible to the moon. Using technology developed by the National Cash Register Company, Reverend John Stout, founder of the Apollo Prayer League, had a microfiche version of the King James Bible produced measuring only an inch-and-a-half square.

It took a few tries to get the Bible to the moon. Fifty years ago, today, the Apollo 12 lunar module, manned by Commander Charles Conrad and pilot Alan Bean, landed on the moon. Unfortunately, the astronauts left a microfiche Bible on the command module, which meant the first book to land on a celestial body would have to wait.

The Apollo 13 mission tried again, but an explosion on board the spacecraft thwarted the attempt. The astronauts returned safely but were not able to land on the moon. Finally, on February 5, 1971, Apollo 14 returned to the moon, at last bringing 100 copies of the “Lunar Bible” to its surface.

At the MOB website, you will find a small collection of Lunar bible artifacts, which includes this description of its history (just viewed a little differently).

Prior to his death in 1967, Astronaut Edward White II (Apollo 1) told a reporter he hoped to carry a Bible to the moon. In his memory, the Apollo Prayer League formed in 1968, in part to fulfill that desire. Several missions attempted to land the Bible on the moon. Alan Bean (Apollo 12) was the first, but due to a mix-up the Bible only orbited the moon. Apollo 13 carried 512 copies, but an explosion prevented a lunar landing. Finally, in 1971, Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell carried 300 copies of the Bible with him (100 in the lunar module, 200 in the command module, and 212 also secretly stowed in the command module). On February 5, 1971, Antares, Apollo 14’s lunar module, touched down on the moon, bringing with it the Bible.

View the link below to visit this small collection with a large story. Amazing where God’s Word has gone!

Source: The Lunar Bible | Museum of the Bible

A Portuguese Bible Translation with Dutch Reformed Roots

Part of my Sunday-before-worship reading was in the January-March 2019 Quarterly Record of the Trinitarian Bible Society (cf. link below). One of the fascinating articles was on the history and development of the TBS’s Portuguese Bible. Did you know that this unique Bible has Dutch Reformed roots – and that through a sixteen-year- old convert to the Reformed faith?

Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know that; I had no idea either. But that is, in fact, the truth of the matter!

Here’s the story and the update on where this Bible is at today.


Portuguese is the official language of several countries, including Portugal and Brazil. It is also spoken in many other parts of the world, including former Portuguese colonies in Africa and Asia. It is the sixth most widely-spoken native language, having over 250 million speakers.

Christianity in Brazil

Christianity, albeit in a corrupted form, came to Brazil in the 1500s when the country was claimed for Portugal by Roman Catholic sailors. In the following century Dutch explorers and missionaries brought with them the teachings of Protestant Reformer John Calvin. During the mid-1800s Portuguese rule allowed freedom of religion in Brazil. It is estimated that today about 65% of Brazilians are Roman Catholics, with only about 4% traditional Protestants.

Portuguese Bible

The translation of the Portuguese Bible was begun by sixteen-year-old João Ferreira de Almeida in 1644. A Roman Catholic turned Dutch Reformed Christian, he no doubt understood the need that people be able to read the Scriptures for themselves. Almeida had emigrated to the Dutch East Indies at fourteen and in time ministered there in the Portuguese-speaking Dutch church. He finished the New Testament in 1681 and most of the Old Testament during the last ten years of his life, and was rewarded by the Dutch authorities for his zeal in the Bible’s translation. The Old Testament was brought to completion by another minister of the Dutch church, Jacobus op den Akker, and finally published in 1753.

TBS Portuguese Bible

The first revision of the Portuguese Bible by the Trinitarian Bible Society began in 1837 under the leadership of the Rev. Thomas Boys of Trinity College, Cambridge. The work was completed in 1844 and the Bible printed in London in 1847. In 1968 the Trinitarian Bible Society of Brazil was founded in São Paulo, with the purpose of reverting the changes incorporated into the Almeida Bible during the intervening years and restoring the more pure original Almeida, as well as of updating the language into more modern Portuguese.
This work was completed in early 1994 and published as the Almeida Corrigida Fiel (ACF: Almeida Corrected and Faithful) edition. Since then further minor revisions have been made to ensure that the text conforms completely to the best Biblical language texts as well as to the latest international standards of Portuguese syntax and orthography.


For centuries Almeida’s translation has been the favourite of the vast majority of Portuguese Bible readers. Arguably so it remains; by God’s grace the Trinitarian Bible Society ACF edition has received widespread acceptance in Brazil across denominational boundaries.
Thus over recent decades millions of TBS ACF Bibles and New Testaments have been distributed in Brazil and further afield, many under license by the Gideons International. The wide circulation of this translation of the Scriptures contributes to the fulfilment of our aim:
to distribute the Word of God among all nations.

Source: Magazine – Trinitarian Bible Society

More Seminary Library Books Relating to the Synod of Dordt – The Staten Bible and the Dutch Annotations on the Whole Bible

Throughout this year and into next year we are highlighting the 400th anniversary of the “great” Synod of Dordt (1618-1619), which begins this year and will continue into next year.

In our initial post we called attention to some general things and in our last post we started to call attention to some special (and rare) books connected to that Synod and its work.

Title page of the 1637 Staten Bible

In this post we call attention to the two more special books related to the work of Dordt. Both relate to the special Bible translation commissioned by the Synod, a new Dutch translation that came to be called the “Staten Bible” (or Bijbel, in Dutch) or the Statenvertaling (States translation). It was first published in 1637 and the PRC seminary has several first edition copies, one of which is enclosed in a special case in the library (cf. the image below; the other is placed in the rare book case). To see one such rare edition, visit this page where one was for sale.

One of the seminary library’s copies of a 1st edition Statenvertaling Bible



The second book (or set of books actually) related to Dordt’s work also is connected to this Dutch Bible, the Statenvertaling. The first edition included annotations on the text of the Scripture (in Dutch), that is, special notes or comments about the meaning and application of the passage. Later these annotations were published separately as well, as the title page above indicates. The editor and translator was Theodore Haak and this work was published first in London in 1657 – in English (which you may also find online here).


While the PRC seminary library does not have a first edition of this book of annotations, we do have the 5 volumes that were reprinted by Inheritance Publications and edited by Roelof Janssen (cf. title page above and the five volumes on the shelf below).


Roelof J. recently stopped by the seminary and spoke to us about his publications (old and new). In the course of the conversation we mentioned that he ought to finish this reprint and get the rest of the volumes completed. He is hoping to do so, if he can generate enough cash flow. Something to think about, if you are so inclined (by purchasing books from Inheritance Publications you are also helping this cause!).


For now, notice the quality and beauty of the initial volumes (image of volume 1 above). But, of course, the content of these books makes for fascinating reading.

The KJV: Dead Words and False Friends

authorized-ward-2018We have begun to consider a new book that examines Christians’ use and misuse of the King James Version of the Bible. The book is Authorized: The Use & Misuse of the King James Bible, written by Mark Ward and published by Lexham Press (2018).

As we have noted, on the one hand, the author has high praise for the KJV and its influence in the life of the church and in the lives of Christians. But, on the other hand, he is critical of it, judging its English obsolete and out-of-date, to the point he says that modern Christians need to use the modern translations. Most Christians simply do not and cannot understand the KJV anymore.

In our last post we examined his second chapter, where he laid the groundwork for this criticism. In chapter three – “Dead Words and ‘False Friends,'” – he gives some detail to prove his point that the KJV is no longer understandable by most people today.

He starts out with the “dead words” found in the AV – words such as “trow,” “pate,” “bray,” “leasing,” and “collop.” He criticizes the Trinitarian Bible Society (much of whose work in defense of the KJV I admire) for saying these are simply “archaic words” whose meanings have changed. He argues the meanings haven’t changed; the words are “in hospice” and “six feet under.”

In other words, they’re dead or dying, no longer in use and, therefore, not understood by today’s readers. And he has a point. Yes, one can look them up in a dictionary, but should a Bible translation have to make us do that? Isn’t it supposed to be God’s Word in our tongue, the language we and our children can understand so as to receive and believe His Word?

Then Ward goes further, treating what he calls “false friends,” a more serious issue in his mind. These are words that at first glance seem to be easily understood, but because of a change in meaning since the 17th century, are actually often misunderstood, leaving the reader with a “false” friend – and a lack of understanding of what God’s Word truly says. He gives six examples, of which we pick out one for our benefit: the word “halt,” as in 1 Kings 18:21, “How long halt ye between two opinions?” Listen carefully to what he says:

I always assumed that halt here meant ‘stopping’ between two opinions, and almost every other mature Christian I’ve spoken to (I’ve polled dozens) has said the same. People in the olden days used to say, ‘Halt!’ when they wanted others to stop, right? ‘Halt!’ medieval guards always said, ‘Who goes there?’ Riding your horse past a HALT sign was a ticketed offense in ye olden days.

I had read the Elijah story in other versions before… The NASB has the people ‘hesitating’ between two opinions. The NIV has them ‘wavering.’ but the ESV provided the key that uncovered my lifelong misunderstanding.

To halt wasn’t just to ‘stop’ in 1611 (or in 1568 when the Bishops’ Bible used this very word); halt was the verb form of a word used in the KJV Gospels in the parable of the great banquet: ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind’ (Luke 14:21. Halt in 1611 meant ‘lame.’ Instead of ‘how long halt ye,’ we would say something like ‘hobble’ or ‘limp.’ And that’s exactly what the ESV has; ‘How long will you go limping between two different opinions?’

And after pointing out that the Hebrew word in that 1 Kings 18:21 text is the same as the word used to describe Mephibosheth’s disability after he was dropped by his nurse (he “limped”), the author says this:

Elijah’s challenge to the people in 1 Kings 18:21 is a picturesque metaphor. An obscure one, to be sure, because the next phrase is not as clear as ‘between two opinions.’ It’s literally something like ‘on two lopped-off boughs’ – apparently crutches…. The whole phrase ‘describes a mind as wobbly and uncertain as the legs of someone lame’ [quoting commentator Paul House].

Is it significant that we miss that meaning and graphic point of Elijah’s piercing question to Israel because our translation uses a word that has changed in meaning and no longer conveys God’s Word clearly to us? Why is that not viewed as serious? Why do we want to brush that aside? Do we care about understanding what we read in the Bible?

I am not arguing for tampering with the Word of God; and I certainly am not saying that we ought to jump at every new translation of the Bible. But I am arguing that our translation ought to make God’s Word plain to us and our children (and grandchildren). And, I am not saying that we shouldn’t dig into the Word and do word  studies to discern its meaning. But I am saying that simple expressions such as Elijah’s question ought to be clear at “face value,” in plain, contemporary English that brings out the special nuance of the Hebrew word. “Limping” sure brings that out in our day better than “halt.”

Ward has a point worth hearing concerning these “false friends.” What do you say?

Published in: on May 8, 2018 at 11:12 PM  Comments (2)  

Is the English of the KJV Bible No Longer Understandable to Today’s Readers?

authorized-ward-2018We are beginning to look at a new book that examines Christians’ use and misuse of the King James Version of the Bible. The book is Authorized: The Use & Misuse of the King James Bible, written by Mark Ward and published by Lexham Press (2018).

In our last post we examined the first main chapter, where the author makes five main points concerning what the church stands to lose if she abandons the KJV. These were good points with valid arguments and strong conclusions.

But, we already pointed out that this is not where Ward stops. He ended that chapter with these questions:

Do the negatives of losing the KJV outweigh any positives that might be gained from reading newer translations? Everyone who cares about reading the Bible in English needs to answer the healthy, diagnostic question: What do we do with the KJV in the twenty-first century?

In chapter 2, “The Man in the Hotel and the Emperor of English Bibles,” Ward begins to answer that question. And his main point in this chapter is this: the KJV is no longer understandable to the majority of readers – Christian and non-Christian – in our age. It’s language is “too difficult to follow. It’s foreign and ancient.” Therefore, today’s Christian needs to use a modern translation, whether it is the NIV (New International Version), the NASB (New American Standard Bible), the ESV (English Standard Bible), or one of the many others available in our day.

The author has much to say about the difficulty of the language of KJV English to the modern reader. In subsequent chapters he is going to dissect the problem as he sees it in more depth. But in chapter 2 he mainly draws on his own experience, both as a Christian who grew up on the KJV himself and often misunderstood what he read, and as a Christian counselor who witnessed many young believers struggling to understand the KJV used in youth camps.

There is much I could quote from this chapter to demonstrate the author’s argument, but I will limit myself to these paragraphs so that you can see where he is going with his main argument. And we ought to consider what he says and begin to draw up our own counter-argument, if we do in fact disagree with his premise.

Here are Ward’s thoughts after he has acknowledged that God’s Word is “insistently foreign and ancient” because it is rooted in God’s saving work in history with an ancient people (Israel):

But one genius of the Christian religion, as opposed to many other faiths, is that it is transnational and multiethnic. God’s words are meant to go everywhere, and everywhen – from Jerusalem, to Judea, to Samaria, to the uttermost eras of history (Acts 1:8). Christ’s followers are not a nation like the Jews; they are told to disciple all nations. People from every area of the globe will worship the Lord at the last day. That’s why, while Muslims consider only the original Arabic of the Qur’an to be the words of Allah, Christians have translated the Bible into thousands of languages – and have considered every one of those translations to be God’s word.

Christians have always believed that God’s foreign and ancient word can and should speak to believers now. Five hundred years ago, the Reformation brought vernacular Bibles (Spanish, French, German, English, etc.) back to the peoples of Europe and, eventually, the world – after a long period in which the Latin Vulgate was all most people had access to, if you could even call it ‘access.’

So if the KJV is indeed too difficult to understand for modern readers, we’ve got a significant problem – the most significant problem a translation can have: What’s the point in using a translation in old English that people can’t understand anymore? [pp.18-19]

Published in: on April 4, 2018 at 11:06 PM  Comments (2)  

What the Church Loses as She Abandons the KJV – “Authorized” by M. Ward

authorized-ward-2018We are beginning to look at a new book that examines Christians’ use and misuse of the King James Version of the Bible. The book is Authorized: The Use & Misuse of the King James Bible, written by Mark Ward and published by Lexham Press (2018).

In our first post we introduced the book and gave a glimpse of its contents, leaving a quotation from the author’s introduction. Today let’s look at chapter 1, which Ward titles, “What We Lose as the Church Stops Using the KJV.”

Ward makes this comment to start the chapter:

Much of English-speaking Christianity has sent the King James Version, too, to that part of the forest where trees fall with no one there to hear them. That’s what we do with old Bible translations.

But I don’t think many people have carefully considered what will happen if we all decide to let the KJV die and another take its office.

There are at least five valuable things we lose – things that in many places we are losing and have already lost – if we give up the KJV… [p.7]

Those five things are these (first I will quote them, then I will reference one further):

  1. We lose intergenerational ties in the body of Christ.
  2. We lose Scripture memory by osmosis.
  3. We lose a cultural touchstone.
  4. We lose some of the implicit trust Christians have in the Bibles in their laps.
  5. We lose some of the implicit trust non-Christians have in Scripture.

Ward makes good points in connection with each of these, but we will focus on what he has to say about #2 – and his point ought to be well taken:

When an entire church, or group of churches, or even an entire nations of Christians, uses basically one Bible translation, genuinely wonderful things happen. An individual Christian’s knowledge of the Bible increases almost by accident, because certain phrases become woven into the language of the community.

…Christians in my growing-up years were constantly reinforcing each other’s knowledge of the KJV every time they mentioned it in conversation. We were teaching each other Bible phrases when we read Scripture out loud together in church. (Corporate reading from five different translations just doesn’t work. I’ve heard it done – no, attempted.)

People can memorize any Bible translation on their own, but the community value of learning by osmosis is eroded when people aren’t reinforcing precisely the same wording. It helps to have a common standard. That standard doesn’t have to be the KJV, of course. [This is going to be the author’s thesis throughout, in spite of what he says positively and powerfully here and elsewhere about the Bible with which he grew up.] But no other translation seems likely to serve in the role. If indeed the King is dying, it is just as sure that none of his sons or cousins have managed to become the heir apparent.[pp.8-9]

That last point is, indeed, putting it mildly. As the modern versions have proliferated, Christians have been tossed hither and yon on the sea of Bible versions – to their spiritual detriment, we believe. And yet we recognize that the KJV has issues with modern Christians – even our own children and young people. Why? And what can be done about it?

Next time we will consider more of what Ward has to say about this matter.

Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible – A New Title to Consider

Perhaps a newly published book contains an uncomfortable subject for us, but it is a significant title that is garnering attention and praise and ought to be paid attention to by us too, whether we praise it or not.

The book is Authorized: The Use & Misuse of the King James Bible, written by Mark Ward and published by Lexham Press (2018), a division of Logos Bible Software, for whom the author works as a Logos Pro.

The publisher gives this description of it and the author’s purpose in writing:

The KJV beautifully rendered the Scriptures into the language of turn-of-the-seventeenth-century England. Even today the King James is the most widely read Bible in the United States. The rich cadence of its Elizabethan English is recognized even by non-Christians. But English has changed a great deal over the last 400 years—and in subtle ways that very few modern readers will recognize. In Authorized Mark L. Ward, Jr. shows what exclusive readers of the KJV are missing as they read God’s word.

In their introduction to the King James Bible, the translators tell us that Christians must “heare CHRIST speaking unto them in their mother tongue.” In Authorized Mark Ward builds a case for the KJV translators’ view that English Bible translations should be readable by what they called “the very vulgar”—and what we would call “the man on the street.”

The contents show us what the author includes in this book:

  • Introduction
  • What We Lose as the Church Stops Using the KJV
  • The Man in the Hotel and the Emperor of English Bibles
  • Dead Words and “False Friends”
  • What is the Reading Level of the KJV?
  • The Value of the Vernacular
  • Ten Objections to Reading Vernacular Bible Translations
  • Which Bible Translation is Best?

In the book Ward both defends the use of the KJV (he grew up on it himself and praises it highly) and criticizes its misuse, arguing that while it is still a very important Bible translation, its language is too difficult and unintelligible for the modern reader. He posits that while there is never going to be a perfect English translation, the contemporary Christian ought to use a variety of translations available today so as to gain the best understanding of the text.

As I make my way through the book, I will give you his thoughts and interact with them. For tonight I give you some opening thoughts of his found in the “Introduction”:

People care about KJV English, and they care about Bible translation. The most popular blog posts I write are about English Bibles. These posts always get social shares and comments, because everybody has an opinion on whether translations should be formal (sometimes summarized as ‘word for word’) or functional (sometimes summarized as ‘thought for thought’) [We ought to be, without shame or compromise, in that first camp – we want a “word for word” translation because every word of God is inspired and counts, also in our translation of it.] Everybody has a passage in this or in that translation that they love or that they object to. Everybody has a favorite English Bible translation, or is on the hunt for one. ‘Which Bible translation is best?’ has a lot of search-engine value, I can tell you. People want to know, because they care.

And that’s why the transition away from the KJV has been the scene of some confusion and even conflict within the church. [And, by the way, that’s where the issue ought to be addressed – in the church, not in Bible societies and other translation organizations that are often driven by the market and not by faithfulness to what God has revealed and how He has spoken to us.] Christians collide over sometimes minute questions of English style, the gender of pronouns, Greek New Testament manuscripts, and even Bible topography. And I’m not necessarily saying they should stop. [I would add, by no means should they stop! These are all significant matters involved in translating God’s word properly.] This is the word of God we’re talking about, after all. People should care.

Amen to that last point! And because we too care, we will pay attention to what this author says about a good English translation, even if we may differ with his conclusions. But let’s at least listen to what he has to say.

Source: Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible – Logos Bible Software

Published in: on February 26, 2018 at 11:01 PM  Comments (1)  

400th Anniversary of the Great Synod of Dordt, 1618-19

2018-19 marks the 400th anniversary of the Synod of Dordt held in the Netherlands in the city of Dordtrecht over parts of 1618-1619.


This synod of the Reformed Churches is known as the “Great Synod,” in part because of the great work that it did: condemning the errors of  Arminianism while setting forth the positive concensus of the Reformed churches on five main points of doctrine (the “Canons of Dordt”, as they are known); adopting editions of the other two major confessions of the Reformed churches – the Belgic Confession (1562) and the Heidelberg Catechism (1563) to form with the “Canons” the “Three Forms of Unity” as doctrinal standards in the Reformed churches; and approving a new translation of the Bible – the Dutch Staten Bible.

For this reason, the Synod of Dordt was also great in significance, which is why we will spend time this year reviewing its work and referencing resources that are being produced about it and events that are being held to commemorate it.

Just last week Ligonier did a feature on the Synod of Dordt on its “Renewing Your Mind” program. The twenty-five-minute program had Dr. Robert Godfrey presenting a church history lecture on the history and basic work of the “Great Synod.” It is worth your time to listen to this broadcast as we begin our own commemoration of this significant church gathering (use the link provided here to listen).

In addition, you may find an important overview of the Synod of Dordt on the PRCA website, where I will also be adding more related articles this year. Prof. H. Hanko has a fine article titled “The Synod of Dordt.” You are encouraged to read that as part of our own instruction and inspiration.

Later this year the Standard Bearer hopes to publish a special issue on the Synod. Look for that at the time of our annual Reformation issue this Fall!


The Reformation Printer: Robert Estienne (1503–1559) | Desiring God

Today’s Desiring God Reformation 500 post (Day 24 of the “Here We Stand” series on Reformation heroes) is about a unique contributor to the Reformation cause – the Protestant printer Robert Estienne.

We know how significant printing was for the spread of the Reformation gospel – the printing of the Bible as well as the minor and major works of the Reformers.

But we should also remember that it took those who were sympathetic to and supporters of the Protestant cause to be willing to risk their lives to publish Reformation literature, especially the Word of God. Estienne was one of those whom God raised up. And what a work he did as God’s servant!

Below are a few snippets of this focus on Estienne the Protestant printer, penned by Matt Crutchmer (I added the image of Calvin’s Institutes). Read or listen to the rest of this important story at the link below.

Estienne was not only a significant printer on the Continent during the early- to mid-sixteenth century, but he was a scholar of the Bible and classical literature as well. While working in Paris during the rule of King Francis I, such was his skill that Estienne was named “Royal Typographer”: the king’s printer in Hebrew and Latin in 1539, and then the king’s printer in Greek in 1542.

…In Geneva, now openly supporting the Protestant movement, Estienne set up his press and became the printer par excellence of the Reformation cause. His 1553 French Bible continued the Reformation emphasis on lay reading of Scripture in vernacular languages, and his editions of Calvin’s Institutes and Commentaries, with other Protestant writings, all served the growing movement in its desire to hear clearly and be governed by the Scriptures.

The 1559 edition of the Institutes was “the most comprehensive summary of Protestant doctrine during the Reformation” (John Calvin’s “Institutes”, 219), and arguably the most important volume to arise in the Reformation, as evidenced by its translation into six (perhaps seven) other languages by 1624. Estienne’s edition, effortless to read and beautiful even by today’s standards, played a large role in the growth of Reformation churches during the sixteenth century.

Source: The Ink: Robert Estienne (1503–1559)The Ink | Desiring God