Coverdale Bible

Coverdale Bible
Full name
The Bible, that is the Holy Scripture of the Old and New Testament, faithfully translated into English.
Abbreviation TCB
Complete Bible
Copyright Public domain due to age.
In the beginning God created heaven and earth: and the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the water. And God said: Let there be light, and there was light.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The Coverdale Bible, compiled by Myles Coverdale and published in 1535, was the first complete Modern English translation of the Bible (not just the Old Testament or New Testament), and the first complete printed translation into English (cf. Wycliffe's Bible in manuscript). The later editions (folio and quarto) published in 1537 were the first complete Bibles printed in England. The 1537 folio edition carried the royal licence and was therefore the first officially approved Bible translation in English.


The place of publication of the 1535 edition was long disputed. The printer was assumed to be either Froschover in Zurich or Cervicornus and Soter (in Cologne or Marburg). Since the discovery of Guido Latré, in 1997, the printer has been identified as Merten de Keyser, in Antwerp. The publication was partly financed by Jacobus van Meteren, in Antwerp, whose sister-in-law, Adriana de Weyden, married John Rogers. The other backer of the Coverdale Bible was Jacobus van Meteren’s nephew, Leonard Ortels (†1539), father of Abraham Ortelius (1527–1598), the famous humanist geographer and cartographer.

Although Coverdale was also involved in the preparation of the Great Bible of 1539, the Coverdale Bible continued to be reprinted. The last of over 20 editions of the whole Bible, or its New Testament, appeared in 1553.


Coverdale based his New Testament on Tyndale’s translation. For the Old Testament, Coverdale used Tyndale’s published Pentateuch and possibly his published Jonah. He apparently did not make use of any of Tyndale’s other, unpublished, Old Testament material (cf. Matthew Bible). Instead, Coverdale himself translated the remaining books of the Old Testament and the Apocrypha. Coverdale used his working intermediate knowledge of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, not being a Hebrew or Greek scholar, he worked primarily from German BiblesLuther’s Bible and the Swiss-German version (Zürich Bible) of Zwingli[1] and Judaand Latin sources including the Vulgate.

See also


  1. Journal of theological studies, vol 1, Oct 1899, 6.


  • A. S. Herbert, Historical Catalogue of Printed Editions of the English Bible 1525–1961, London: British and Foreign Bible Society; New York: American Bible Society, 1968. SBN 564 00130 9.
  • H. WAUWERMANS, art. Abraham Ortelius, col. 293.
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