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The Retrial Of William Tyndale

Supernatural in Origin, Eternal in duration, Infinite in scope, Personal in application, universal in interest. This is the Word of God.

Against the grain

One of the most revolutionary Bible translators was William Tyndale. On October 6, 1536 he was strangled and burned at the stake for heresy. Tyndale’s Bible is considered to be the first translation from the original Greek (New Testament) and Hebrew (Old Testament) text and was not a translation of the Latin Vulgate. During his lifetime there was a law that prohibited the translation of scripture into English and the reading of scripture in English unless permission was first obtained from the authorities whom he had sought earlier then was denied.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

De Haeretico Comburendo

"We therefore enact and ordain that no one henceforth on his own authority translate any text of Holy Scripture into the English or other language, by way of a book, pamphlet, or tract, and that no book, pamphlet, or tract of this kind be read, either already recently composed in the time of the said John Wycliffe, or since then, or that may in future be composed, in part or in whole, publicly or privily, under pain of the greater excommunication, until the translation itself shall have been approved by the diocesan of the place or if need be by a provincial council. Whoever shall do the contrary to be punished in like manner as a supporter of heresy and error." Oxford Constitutions 1408

Tyndale's Beliefs

Some of the views he held and published that were considered heretical and was charged with; surprisingly make up the statement of faith for modern evangelicals.

1. He maintains that faith alone justifies.

2. He maintains that to believe in the forgiveness of sins and to embrace the mercy offered in the gospel is enough for salvation.

3. He avers that human traditions cannot bind the conscience, except where their neglect might occasion scandal.

4. He denies the freedom of the will.

5. He denies there is any purgatory.

6. He affirms that neither the Virgin nor the saints pray for us in their person.

7. He asserts that neither the Virgin not the saints should be invoked by us.

Proverbial English phrases attributed to Tyndale

Also Known as the architect of the English language for his introduction of new words such as Jehovah, scapegoat, Passover, birthright, longsuffering, stiff-necked, loving-kindness. He also coined phrases such as the salt of the earth, let there be light, my brother’s keeper, the apple of his eye, ‘death, where is thy sting, thirty pieces of silver, eye for an eye, no man can serve two masters, seek and ye shall find, the last shall be first and so many more

The Gold Standard of Bible translation

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Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

Timeless translation of Scripture

To better understand the influence Tyndale has on the modern English Bible, look no further than the King James Authorized Version Bible (1611 & 1881). That, though not publicly acknowledged, about 84% of its New Testament and 76% of the Old Testament is verbatim Tyndale.

Tyndale excelled for he allowed the original source language of the Holy Scripture to faithfully determine its English form. Yet in some modern English translations the opposite is true.

From my study of the Bible, I came to appreciate that the English language can limit your revelation of God’s word if you don’t exert some mental effort to understand the intent of the author which characterized Tyndale’s translation.

The same principle can be used to dissolve contradictions in scripture which I learnt From Dr Abel Damina. For example:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15

Looking at the passages contextually, you can perceive both the scriptures have different meanings. Investigating the word ‘world’ from its original Greek makes it clear. World is “Aion” the world’s way of thinking that contradicts God and “Kosmos” is the cosmopolitan where human beings are. Applying “Kosmos” to John 3:16 and “Aion” to 1 John 2:15 makes it easier for a Christian’s to defend their knowledge of the word.

The Word is King

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Photo by pixabay from Pexels

The Authority of Divine scripture

As a Christian you need to be able to defend your doctrine not on institutional theology but on the basis of deep understanding of all scripture applied appropriately. As for Tyndale, what is not in doubt today is he produced a literary masterpiece.

Christianity is indebted to him and time has truly vindicated him, for he was faithful and did justice to the source text without diluting its literal- spiritual meaning at the cost of his life. He was well ahead of his time and he deserves honour and recognition. He truly is the model for 2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth