The Mayflower Compact

November 11, 1620—399 years ago, today—marks the signing of the document that created the first formal government of the New World. But the fresh ink of the Mayflower Compact were not the only words guiding the Puritans who were escaping the jurisdiction of the Church of England. Historians suggest on board the Mayflower that day was a copy of the highly-regarded Geneva Bible – printed from 1560 to 1644 -- the Bible recognized to hold many “firsts.” In addition to possibly being the first English Bible in America, the Geneva Bible was the first in English to add numbered verses to each chapter of scripture. Also the first "study Bible" with extensive commentary notes in the margins. And the first to surpass the King James Bible in popularity, if only for a time.

Engage with the Bible—discover its impact on history. Brought to you by Museum of the Bible.

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