Friday, October 06, 2006

Remembering William Tyndale

Today (Oct. 6) many Christians will pause to remember English reformer and Bible translator William Tyndale (c. 1494-1536). He is perhaps best known for an early translation of the Bible into English--well before the Authorized (King James) Version of the Bible of 1611. In fact, he was finally executed for his work in translating and making the Scriptures available to the people.

Historian David Daniel, in his introduction of a modern edition of Tyndale's New Testament has this to say:

William Tyndale's Bible translations have been the best-kept secrets in English Bible history. Many people have heard of Tyndale: very few have read him. Yet no Englishman--not even Shakespeare--has reached so many.

Tyndale translated the New Testament twice, and continually revised. His 1534 New Testament was his greatest work. . . . [We now know that ] much of the New Testament in the 1611 Authorized Version came directly from Tyndale, as a glance at Luke 2 or most of Colossians or Revelation 21 will show. [In many cases] the rest was [only] subtly changed (vii).

Christians in the English-speaking world owe this 16th century scholar a massive debt of thanks. We might pray a short prayer for him as follows:

Almighty God, thank you for the life and work of your servant William Tyndale, who labored and died that we might have your Holy Word in English. Thank you for this priceless gift, which has comforted and inspired countless millions of English-speaking people around the globe. Please, Lord, bless today the men and women who continue to work to translate and make available the Scriptures to native peoples who have no other avenue to your Gospel. Grant them stength and wisdom in their work, and grant them protection from those who would have this work stopped. We ask this in Jesus' name, Amen.

Best wishes,
Mason Smith

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