William Tyndale was born in the late 1400’s. As he grew, he became passionate about God and the Bible.
But it wasn’t available in English. In fact, it was illegal to translate it and to sell it.
Tyndale, however, was highly motivated, despite the danger. He knew the Bible had infinite value—not because of what it was made from, but who it was made by and for. He had a dream that even a boy working a plough could someday read and understand the Scriptures.
He tried to get someone to help him in England, and then Germany. All the while he worked on his translation. He eventually found someone to print several thousand copies. He smuggled the books back to England in bales of cloth on ships.
Many were confiscated for a book burning in London.
Over time Tyndale’s persistence persisted. But in June 1530, his translation was condemned and he was captured and imprisoned. He was put on trial for heresy, found guilty, and sentenced to execution.
On October 6, 1536, Tyndale was to be burned alive for what he had done. The executioner had mercy on Tyndale and strangled him first so that he wouldn’t feel the pain of the flames.
The very next year, English Bibles were being sold openly and publicly in England.*
What effort! What courage! What sacrifice!
Today the Bible has never been more widely accessible. Tyndale would be so happy. Or would he? Unfortunately, we can take for granted what others so readily gave their lives to give.
Let’s not let that be us.
Read. Receive. Respond. Give thanks.
“Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart” (Psalm 119:111).
—NEW podcast interview: In uncertain times (and in choppy waters) we need an anchor. This is the topic of an insightful talk by (and Q & A with) the Rev. Dr. Clyde Ervine on The Pulse Podcast that I host. Click here to listen, or tune in wherever you subscribe to podcasts.
–*This summary of Tyndale is from: Michael A.G. Haykin, The Reformers and Puritans as Spiritual Mentors (Kitchener: Joshua Press, 2012), 11-29.
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–Bible quotes are from the NIV.