Reviving the Soul
“Lex Domini inmaculata convertens animam, testimonium Domini fidele sapientiam praestans parvulis.”
Up until 500 years ago, words like this, in Latin, are what you’d have heard if you’d gone to church. This meant that the vast majority of people could not understand the Bible for themselves. In England, God raised up a man called William Tyndale to address this issue.
Tyndale was born in Gloucestershire about 1494, and as an educated man, was able to read Latin. He became passionate about the Bible and used his considerable gifts to start translating the Bible into English.
Tyndale’s aim was that everybody could understand it. In a conversation with a clergyman who had argued with him, Tyndale said “…if God spares my life…I will cause the boy that drives the plough to know more of the Scriptures than you do!”
Despite great opposition and having to flee to Germany, he completed translating the New Testament in 1525 and then began on the Old Testament.
So, why did William Tyndale have such drive and desire to translate the Bible at such personal cost? Because he had read what the Bible says about itself. The apostle Paul speaks about the origin of the Bible “All Scripture is breathed out by God” (Tim3;16). The words of the Bible have been, literally, ex-pired by Him.
Tyndale also knew the Bible had a clear purpose. 2Timothy speaks of, “the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” You might say the Bible is first and foremost a rescue manual. It is God’s means of showing us that we are in great need that we can’t sort out on our own. It is also in the Bible, that we find that God has provided a way of rescue, through relying on Jesus and His death and resurrection to put things right.
Sadly, Tyndale was tricked and betrayed, and in 1536 ended up being executed! As he was dying Tyndale cried out ‘Lord, open the King of England’s eyes!” It was a prayer that Henry VIII would see how important it was that people could read the Bible for themselves. Remarkably about three years later, God answered William’s prayer. King Henry ordered a copy of the English Bible (largely Tyndale’s work) to be put into every church building in England!
We can thank God, that because of William Tyndale, we have the Bible available to us. That is so important, for as the Latin above says (from Psalm 19) “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.”