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English Bibles: Myles Coverdale 1488-1569

Myles Coverdale

Myles Coverdale, 1488-1569

Coverdale published the first complete printed English Bible in 1535. Coverdale dedicated it to the king and queen of England. Anne Boleyn may have influenced Henry VIII in favor of this translation. After her death, Coverdale's Bible did not play a significant part in English life. The New Testament and the Pentateuch were based on the translation of William Tyndale. 1 and 2 Peter and 1, 2, and 3 John were placed before Hebrews. This order was taken from Luther's and Tyndale's translations. Coverdale also edited the Great Bible of 1539. Coverdale's Bible was the first to introduce chapter summaries. Coverdale also separated the books of the Apocrypha from other Old Testament books and included them as an appendix to the Old Testament.

Coverdale was the first person to complete a translation of the Bible into English. Published abroad in 1535 because of a ban imposed by th Council of Oxford in 1407 on English translations of the Bible, the Coverdale Bible was smuggled into England and became the translation on which many later English Bibles were partly based.

Representative translations:

"Thou enoyntest my head with oyle."
"The valley of the shadow of death."
"But the way of the ungodly shall perish."

(translation of 2 Chronicles 35-36)




Gruber 2 Twelve leaves from Coverdale bible containing parts of 2 Chronicles 35-36, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther 1.

Gruber 109

Gruber 109.

Gruber 109 Coverdale Bible of 1535 in a reprint (not facsimile) of 1838. The Holy Scriptures, faithfully & truly translated by Myles Coverdale...1535. Reprinted from the copy in the library of the Duke of Sussex, London: Samuel Bagster.

See also Matthew's Bible

Dedication to Henry VIII ... and your dearest just wyfe, and most vertuous princesse, Queen Anne.

Dedication to Henry VIII ... and your dearest just wyfe, and most vertuous princesse, Queen Anne.

Gruber 256. Francis Fry, The Bible by Coverdale.  London and Bristol, 1867.


The Gruber Collection was assembled by L. Franklin Gruber, President of Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary, Maywood, Illinois.

Annotation prepared by Ralph W Klein