From the beginning the Word and the Spirit of God have been the two greatest factors in the history of the Church. The preaching of Jesus and the apostles was rooted in the Old Testament. Later the Old and New Testaments came to be the one source of knowledge of Christian truth, the only rule for faith and conduct.
The translation of the Bible into various languages has been one of the most important things in the history of the Church. Even today missionaries, as soon as they are able to do so, translate the Bible into the language of the people to whom they bring the Gospel. The Seventy translated the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek about three centuries before the birth of Christ, and produced the Septuagint. Jerome translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Latin, and produced what is known as the Vulgate. Wycliffe translated the Bible into the English of his day. Translations of the Bible were among the most powerful agencies for the promotion of the Reformation. Luther translated the Bible into German; Calvin made a French translation. The translation of the Bible into Dutch was a great help to the Reformation in the Netherlands. Now Tyndale set to work to translate the Bible into English.
William Tyndale was educated at Oxford and Cambridge. He became acquainted first with the ideas of Erasmus, then with those of Luther, and at last also with those of Zwingli. He decided to place the Bible within reach of the people of England. The common people could not, of course, read the Latin Bible. Copies of Wycliffe's translation into English were not numerous, and besides in the course of two centuries the English language had undergone such great changes that his translation was no longer understood.
Tyndale could not get his translation published in England. He went to the continent, visited Luther, and finally in 1525 had it published in the city of Worms. It was a very excellent translation of the New Testament from the original Greek, not from the Latin Vulgate as Wycliffe's had been. The first edition was six thousand copies. In the ten years following, seven editions appeared. Next he translated parts of the Old Testament. These were published in Cologne and Antwerp. Tyndale accomplished all this in the face of fierce opposition and bitter persecution. Finally his enemies caught up with him, and on October 6, 1536, Tyndale suffered a martyr's death near the city of Brussels.
Many copies of his translation were smuggled into England. This translation did much to further the cause of the Reformation in England and also in Scotland. God's Word again proved to be more powerful than the sword.
The words of Jesus ring down through the centuries, "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." The question Oswald Chambers asks is timely: "Am I measuring my life by God's standard or by something less?
References: Matt. 4: 4, The Holy Bible and The Church In History by B.K. Kuiper- Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Grand Rapids, Mi.
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