Who was the Father of the English Bible? In the recent issue of Credo Magazine, “The English Reformation,” Joseph Carmichael answers this question, introducing us to William Tyndale. Joseph V. Carmichael is Pastor of New Covenant Presbyterian Church in Selma, AL and faculty member of Birmingham Seminary’s Montgomery, AL campus and Eastwood Christian School. Here is the start of Carmichael’s article, “The Father of the English Bible”:
William Tyndale (1494-1536) dedicated his life to the translation of the Bible into English. It was the pioneering efforts of Bible-translators like Tyndale, along with the martyr-fires of those such as Ridley and Latimer, of Lady Jane Grey and Anne Askew that helped transform England into a Protestant nation. Born into an important family in the west of Gloucestershire, Tyndale studied at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge between 1510 and 1521. As Cambridge was teeming with Lutheran ideas at the time, Tyndale may have then adopted his Protestant convictions. He later complained that the universities taught heathen studies while neglecting serious study of Scripture until most had lost their appetite to understand such spiritual truth. After his time at university Tyndale was ordained at some point.
Fluent in seven languages and a scholar of Hebrew and Greek, Tyndale observed that most English clergy knew little more of the Bible than what was listed in their Missal (Mass Book). This astonishing state of affairs served to direct Tyndale toward his own divine vocation. In his disappointment he once quipped to a cleric, “If God spare my life, ere many years pass, I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of the Scriptures than thou dost.” Tyndale perceived that lay people needed the Scripture in their own plain language that “they might see the process, order, and meaning of the text.” Only clergy and Latin scholars, however, could read the Scriptures, for by royal edict they could not be translated into or even read in the “vulgar tongue.” John Wycliffe (1320-1384) had translated the Latin Vulgate into English and his followers the Lollards had clandestinely distributed handwritten copies. This was not the accurate translation Tyndale desired. Further, this Lollard threat had led to laws against any unauthorized English translation. …
Read the rest of this article today: “The Father of the English Bible”