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Monday: Passing on God’s Word — 12 Comments

  1. William Tyndale (1494-1536) stands as one of the giants of the Protestant Reformation. His work in translating the Bible into the English language is monumental. Unlike Wycliffe, who translated the Latin Vulgate into Middle English, He translated the Bible from the Hebrew and Greek into Middle English based mainly on the work of Erasmus. The significance of this work is evidenced by noting that the Great Bible (Coverdale), The Bishops Bible, and The King James Bible use large sections of Tyndale's Bible with only minor changes. Just to be sure that we understand the significance of this, The later translators were not being lazy like some of my students and copied bits of Tyndale's work just to save time. They checked and rechecked the translation before admitting that he had done a pretty good job.

    While Tyndale was an excellent scholar and could have done this work as a mental exercise just because of the challenge, he had a more political goal in mind. Like most of the Protestant Reformers, he challenged the notion that the Church had ultimate control over the interpretation and dissemination of Scripture, He was well aware that the church was using this for their own ends. By making the scripture available to the common man he broke this strangle hold on knowledge and understanding. And that is why the Church took such exception to his work.

    Tyndale had moved to Holland to do his translation work. In his latter years he was condemned and given the opportunity to defend himself by writing. This was not accepted and ultimately he was strangled and burned at the stake. It should be noted that this followed a lot of Reformation unrest in Europe such as the Albigensians, the Lollards, the Hussites, the German Peasants' War, the Münster Anabaptist rebellion, and so on. In other words, the Papacy was beginning to realise that the world was changing for them.

    We sometimes take for granted the ready availability of the Bible in more translations than we can read in a lifetime. We can express opinions freely and practice our faith without fear. It does us well to remember the cost of that freedom.

  2. At desiringgod.org, you can find the article “William Tyndale: A Life Transformed by God’s Word” by John Piper. I recommend reading the whole thing as there are so many lessons in this story….among them, nothing in life happens by accident and every moment of time we have is precious for the singular purpose of sharing the gospel. Piper encourages us to not be lazy. The Bibles we hold in our hands came to us at such great cost and are beyond valuable!

    • The life of William Tyndale is a letter to all of us written by God to our hearts. Words have no power if they do not work a change in the heart and the heart does spring to action to give the words meaning. The love of God means nothing if it is not expressed in how we live our lives.

  3. In general I am not a fan of religious movies but I will say that one of my favorite movies is “God’s Outlaw: The Story of William Tyndale”.

    • How tough it was for the reformers..We now have the privilege to read God's word in any language/translation that we understand best.Let's now spread the word!

  4. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Ps. 119:105 - my prayer each day. My thankfulness to those reformers who were willing to give their lives so that I might have God’s word to study.

  5. The lives of these great reformers ought to challenge every one of us. We are often daunted by what are really petty obstacles in comparison to the hurdles these faithful fathers of the faith faced. I am now even more mindful of how precious the Word of God really is and how much more I need to do to keep its flame lit and burning brightly in my generation.

  6. I consider that “Passing on God’s Word” in word and deed is the foundation, the only worthy focus in the believer’s life; living in this manner, we are able to share the lifegiving spirit of God’s living Word at all times – John 5:25-27. What could be considered more precious or important in life than to speak and interact with each other in terms of the Word of God who declares that true life only exists as one has his life in Christ Jesus – the living Word of God? 1 John 5:11-13.

    Surrendering our temporary life to live by the Word of God becomes the believer's path/gateway to Eternal life. I am eternally grateful to have been born after the great work of the Translators of Scripture into every man’s language was completed. I love the Word of God; it creates the most beautiful melody in my heart and its great and awesome Truth can move me to tears. Rom.10:14-15 - “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” - let us be among of them!

  7. It is indeed a privilege to die in the name of Jesus. An internal battle must be fought for one to reach such a point. It is an easy thing to say and claim, but a difficult task to see through. Tyndale not only died in His name but died speaking about Him. He hoped that God would open up the eyes of the king. One thing about God, God hears. A consequence of the Tyndale's death is billions of Bibles printed and tens of millions of people around the world impacted. If you knew your outcome would be as dramatically impactful as Tyndale's would you sacrifice your life for the Maker who sacrificed His own for yours? I need to answer this question instead of asking it. Regardless of our various predicaments, the question still stands. What's your answer?

  8. How inspiring is knowing that men and women, lighted by the Spirit of Truth, dedicated their lives to getting people out of ignorance! Many lives today can still be transformed through their works on printed words! Indeed, the Truth gives freedom to anybody who accepts it.

  9. When I remember reading this in the The Great Controversy, I am again reminded that God has a sense of humor:

    The bishop of Durham at one time bought of a bookseller who was a friend of Tyndale, his whole stock of Bibles, for the purpose of destroying them, supposing that this would greatly hinder the work. But on the contrary, the money thus furnished, purchased material for a new and better edition, which, but for this, could not have been published. When Tyndale was afterward made a prisoner, his liberty was offered him on condition that he would reveal the names of those who had helped him meet the expense of printing his Bibles. He replied that the bishop of Durham had done more than any other person; for by paying a large price for the books left on hand, he had enabled him to go on with good courage. (Page247)

    Here's how it reads in Love Under Fire, which we are currently reading:

    The bishop of Durham bought a bookseller’s whole stock of Bibles in order to destroy them, thinking that this would harm the work. But the money this provided bought material for a new and better edition. Later, when Tyndale was taken prisoner, he was offered freedom if he would reveal the names of those who helped him with the expense of printing his Bibles. He replied that the bishop of Durham had done more than any other person by paying a large price for the books left in stock. (Love Under Your Fire, Chapter 14)


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