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English Bible Translator and Christian Martyr 01 Jan 2022 08:40 #73231

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William Tyndale Biography
English Bible Translator and Christian Martyr
 
Nearly 150 years after John Wycliffe produced the first complete English translation of the Bible, William Tyndale followed in his ground breaking footsteps. Yet, some Bible historians refer to William Tyndale as the true father of the English Bible. 

Tyndale had two advantages. While Wycliffe's earlier manuscripts were handwritten, painstakingly produced before the invention of the printing press in the mid-1400s, Tyndale's Bible, the first printed English New Testament, was copied by the thousands. And while Wycliffe's translation was based on the Latin Bible, Tyndale's chief ambition in life was to give common English speakers a translation based on the original Greek and Hebrew languages of Scripture. 

English Reformer
Tyndale lived at a time when only clergymen were deemed qualified to read and accurately interpret the Word of God. The Bible was still a "forbidden book" by church authorities in Western Europe. 

But suddenly the printing press now made wide distribution of the Scriptures feasible and affordable. And brave reformers, men like William Tyndale, were determined to make it possible for common men and women to fully explore the Scriptures in their own language. 

Like Wycliffe, Tyndale pursued his ambition at great personal risk. He lived by the conviction he had heard expressed by his professor of Greek at Cambridge, Desiderius Erasmus, who said, "I would to God the plowman would sing a text of the Scripture at his plow, and the weaver at his loom with this would drive away the tediousness of time. I would that the wayfaring man with this pastime would expel the weariness of his journey." 

When a priest criticized Tyndale's life ambition, saying, "We are better to be without God's laws than the Pope's." Tyndale replied, "If God spare my life, ere many years, I will cause a boy that driveth the plow shall know more of the Scripture than thou doest." 

In the end, Tyndale paid the ultimate sacrifice for his convictions. Today he is considered the single most important reformer of the English church. 

Bible Translator
When William Tyndale began his work of translation, the English Reformation was well underway. With the Church of England in turmoil and firmly opposed to this bold new movement, Tyndale realized he could not successfully pursue his goal in England. 

So, in 1524 Tyndale went to Hamburg, Germany, where Martin Luther’s reforms were changing the shape of Christianity there. Historians believe Tyndale visited Luther in Wittenberg and consulted Luther's recent translation of the Bible in German. In 1525, while living in Wittenberg, Tyndale finished his translation of the New Testament in English. 

The first printing of William Tyndale's English New Testament was completed in 1526 in Worms, Germany. From there the small "octavo editions" were smuggled into England by hiding them in merchandise, barrels, bales of cotton, and sacks of flour. Henry VIII opposed the translation and church officials condemned it. Thousands of copies were confiscated by authorities and publicly burned. 

But opposition only proved to fuel the momentum, and the demand for more Bibles in England increased at an alarming rate. 

In the years ahead, Tyndale, ever the perfectionist, continued to make revisions to his translation. The 1534 edition in which his name appeared for the first time, is said to be his finest work. Tyndale's final revision was completed in 1535. 

Meanwhile, Tyndale had also begun translating the Old Testament from the original Hebrew. Although he wasn't able to complete his translation of the entire Bible, that task was fulfilled by another groundbreaker, Miles Coverdale. 

In May of 1535, Tyndale was betrayed by a close friend, Henry Phillips. He was arrested by the king's officials and imprisoned in Vilvorde, near modern-day Brussels. There he was tried and convicted of heresy and treason. 

Suffering under the extreme conditions of his prison cell, Tyndale remained focused on his mission. He requested a lamp, his Hebrew Bible, dictionary, and study texts so that he could continue his work of translation. 

On October 6, 1536, after nearly 17 months in prison, he was strangled and then burned at the stake. As he died, Tyndale prayed, "Lord, open the king of England's eyes." 

Three years later, Tyndale's prayer was answered when King Henry VIII sanctioned the printing of an authorized version of an English Bible, the Great Bible. 

Brilliant Scholar
William Tyndale was born in 1494 to a Welsh family in Gloucestershire, England. He attended Oxford University and received his master of arts degree at age 21. He went on to study at Cambridge where he was strongly influenced by his professor of Greek language studies, Erasmus, who was the first to produce a Greek New Testament. 

Tyndale's story is largely unknown by Christians today, but his impact on English translations of the Bible is greater than anyone else in history. His belief that the Bible should be in the spoken language of the people set the tone of his work by avoiding overly formal or scholarly language. 

Likewise, Tyndale's work strongly influenced the English language in general. Shakespeare mistakenly receives much of the credit for Tyndale's contributions to literature. Called by some the "Architect of the English Language," Tyndale coined many of the cherished phrases and familiar expressions we know today. "Fight the good fight of faith," "give up the ghost," "daily bread," "God forbid," "scapegoat," and "my brother's keeper" are a small sampling of Tyndale's language constructions that continue to live on. 

A brilliant theologian and gifted linguist, Tyndale was fluent in eight languages, including Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Without a doubt, God had equipped William Tyndale for the mission he would fulfill in his short but laser-focused life. 


 -By Mary Fairchild-  
The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. (Nahum 1.7)

www.wayoflife.org/
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The Bible, human liberty and government, 03 Jan 2022 18:43 #73278

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The Bible and Western Culture

The spread of spiritual light through the preaching of the gospel and the publication of the Bible had a powerful effect on Western society. It produced such things as great ideas of human liberty and government, social progress, the modern missionary movement, modern science, and beautiful music. It even had a powerful role on the formation of the English language. 

Noah Webster, author of The American Dictionary of the English Language (1828), understood the association between the Protestant Reformation and the distribution of the Bible and the spread of civil liberty: 

“Almost all the civil liberty now enjoyed in the world owes its origin to the principles of the Christian religion. Men began to understand their natural rights, as soon as the reformation from popery began to dawn in the sixteenth century; and civil liberty has been gradually advancing and improving, as genuine Christianity has prevailed” (Webster, History of the United States, 1832). 

While it is certain that other influences were brought to bear on Western culture, the fact remains the Bible had a massive and unique influence. 

The greatest fruit of the Reformation was the dismantling of much of Rome’s temporal power which made the way for the translation, printing, and distribution of Scripture. 

When Rome was in power, she did everything she could to keep the Bible out of the hands of the people. She banned Bible translations in the common languages. She threatened, imprisoned, tortured, and killed both Bible translators and Bible readers. She taught that only her priests can rightly interpret the Bible under church authority. She kept a large percentage of the people illiterate. 

The Protestant Reformation was the era of the Bible. The Protestants were guilty of many errors, but they were never guilty of trying to keep the Bible from the people. Rather, they were at the forefront of translating and publishing Scripture in the common languages. 

The light of God’s Word spread across Europe, England, and America, and eventually throughout the world by means of Bible translation, Bible printing, and missionary ventures, creating a “Judeo-Christian” worldview. 

Some aspects of this are as follows:
-There is a Creator God who is holy, just, almighty, all-wise, compassionate and merciful.
- God made the world but He is not the world (contrast pantheism) and He is not part of the world (contrast panentheism)
- The world was made by God for His glory and purposes; the universe is a product of Intelligent Design and follows the laws that the Creator made. 
- God is intimately involved with His creation; He is not an absentee God.
- Human history is under God’s sovereign control.
- Man was made in the image of God that He might know God. Thus, man is a dignified moral creature and is not of the animal kingdom.
- Man was made the master of the earth and has the right and the responsibility to explore it, to use its resources, and to rule its creatures.
- Man is accountable to God and is responsible to walk in God’s laws.
- Man has fallen from his original condition and is a sinner.
- The earth is under God’s curse because of man’s sin and is no longer pristine.
- All men are created equal before God.
- All men come from one father (Adam) and are to love one another.
- There is a future judgment, a heaven, and a hell. 

The Bible deeply influenced the thinking of a majority of British and American politicians, statesmen, authors, poets, artists, scientists, inventors, and “ordinary people,” even those who rejected the Bible as God’s Word. 

Today this history is being rewritten and obliterated. The Bible and its great influence on European, British, and American history, its role as a primary force in “Western Culture,” is being downplayed or totally obliterated.  

-By David Cloud-
The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. (Nahum 1.7)

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The Bible, human liberty and government, 05 Jan 2022 16:50 #73324

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The Bible and the English Language 

From the 15th to the 20th century, English was the language of people deeply influenced by the Bible, and the language itself was fashioned by its Bibles. The English language is permeated with biblical quotations, and wherever the English language went, it transported the biblical worldview upon which it was founded. 

Winston Churchill observed that the English Bible “forged an enduring link, literary and religious, between the English-speaking people of the world” (History of the English-Speaking People, “The New World”). 

Dr. Leland Ryken, professor of English at Wheaton College, says the Bible “is the central book of English-speaking cultures throughout the ages. ... Compared to the Bible, even the collected works of Shakespeare are demonstrably in the second tier” (“The Bible as Literature,” The Washington Times, Dec. 11, 2014). 

In the history of the English Bible we see the foreknowledge of God and the marvelous outworking of His sovereign plans. Neither Wycliffe nor Tyndale nor any of the translators of the Bible in the 14th to 17th centuries could know that English would become a world language through a global British Empire and America’s vast influence. 

The English Bible is without peer in its far-reaching influence in world history. There is really nothing to compare with it. David Daniell, Ph.D. in English literature, says, “... in the story of the earth we live on, its influence cannot be calculated” (The Bible in English, p. 427). 

Neither the Hebrew Old Testament nor the Greek New Testament had such an influence. The Greek Septuagint had no such influence. The Latin Bible had a wide and long-lasting influence, but it was painstakingly handwritten, and Rome did everything she could to keep the Latin Bible locked up among a few educated elites. 

There are many other Bibles, such as the German Luther and the Spanish Valera, that have had great influence, but none have had the global influence that the English Bible has enjoyed. 

Facts about the English language today
- It is used in more than 70 countries as an official language.
- It is the language of international aviation.
- It is the language of the Internet; 54% of the information on the Internet is in English.
- It is the language of the music and film industries.
- It is the language of international organizations, with 85% of them using English as one of their official languages and about 33% using English exclusively (e.g., OPEC, ASEAN, EFTA).
- It is the official language for many of the world’s largest corporations (e.g., Lufthansa, Lenovo, Honda, Nokia, Microsoft, SAP, Renault, and Samsung).
- It is the language of science. More than 75% of scientific papers are published in English, and in some disciplines, as high as 90%.
- It is the official language of the European Central Bank.
- There are currently 1.5 billion English language learners, and the British Council estimates there will be two billion English language learners by 2020. 

It is not difficult to see the hand of God in preparing the Bible in this special language for this special era. 

-By David Cloud-
The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. (Nahum 1.7)

www.wayoflife.org/
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