An Unbroken Line of Witnesses
by David Cross
26 February 2015« Previous Day | Next Day »
Next time you open a Bible printed in English, spare a thought and a thank-you for the work of William Tyndale. At the beginning of the sixteenth century he laboured in exile, and against huge hostility, to produce the first printed copy of the New Testament in English, and much of his translation from the Greek was used in subsequent Bibles such as the King James Version.
The Holy Spirit has empowered men and women down through history to be witnesses of divine truth despite the often very turbulent and dangerous times in which they have lived. For some it has been a hugely demanding and very public journey of faith, even ending in martyrdom. For others, the call on their lives has been to quietly intercede for God’s mercy concerning the sinful practices evident in the world around them. Without doubt, the true message of salvation will be carried by faithful followers of Jesus, until He returns, despite the enemy’s vicious hostility.
Tyndale saw much corruption and deception in the established Church of his day, practices hidden to some extent by the fact that ordinary people in England were denied the ability to read or hear the words of the Bible in their own language. The Scriptures were conveyed to them only through the Latin scholars of the Church, and were presented in such a way as to maintain an often distorted control by both the Church and the state authorities.
Tyndale said that he longed for even the lowliest ploughboy to be able to hear the truths of the Bible in untainted and understandable language. Indeed he lived to see many hundreds of copies of his New Testament translation being smuggled into England and Scotland, and these books were eagerly devoured by a hungry populace. Sadly he was eventually betrayed and burned at the stake near Brussels, on a false charge of heresy. But God had initiated through the determination of this extraordinary man an unstoppable process towards the regular publication of the word of God in the English language.
Prayer: Thank You, Father God, for men and women like William Tyndale who have not drawn back from the challenge of making the truth of Your word known to all who are open to receive it. Please strengthen me in my part, however great or small, in the proclaiming of Your Kingdom until the return of our precious Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
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