Monday, October 5, 2009

William Tyndale: 6 October 2009

William Tyndale was born about 1495 near the Welsh border. He studied at Oxford and Cambridge and was ordained to the priesthood in 1521, and soon after began speaking of his desire to translate the scriptures into the English language. It is said that in a dispute with theologians that he said that he would cause a ploughboy to know the scriptures better than the man with whom he disputed.
Finding King Henry VIII to be lacking sympathy for an English Bible, he fled to Germany (and visiting Martin Luther while there). During this time he fled from city to city in exile, in danger of losing his life, and in poverty. In contrast to the popular belief of the time, that we earned our way to heaven, Tyndale preached that salvation was a free gift from God.
He completed his translation of the New Testament in 1525 and had eighteen thousand copies smuggled into England. In 1534 he began work on the Old Testament, and completed the Pentateuch, Jonah, and Joshua through II Chronicles before being captured. He was burned at the stake on this day in 1536, his last words being, “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.” Miles Coverdale (Jan. 20) went on to finish the work, and up until this time, most Bibles in English are revisions of the Tyndale Coverdale Bible.
For a summary of Tyndales writings, go to English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, Excluding Drama, Oxford UP, 1954), pp 187-191. by C.S. Lewis.
Tyndale and Coverdale actually brought back to England a movement begun by John Wycliff in the 14th century. Since King John’s wife was Anne of Bohemia, Wycliff’s ideas found their way to Prague to influence Jan Huss, who in turn influenced Martin Luther who in turn influenced Tyndale. And interesting circle of ideas. It is believed that the Great Bible, which is the basis for the Authorised (or King James) Version, so that much of Tyndale’s work is preserved in the King James Version.

Collect: Father, you gave to your servant William Tyndale the gifts of knowledge, wisdom and perseverance translate the scriptures into the English language. Grant that we would share his passion to share the scriptures with all the world, that they may be made aware that Yeshuah is the way, the light and the truth, and we pray in the blessed name of Yeshuah, Amen. (red)

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