This is a guest post from my friend Andrea. She and her husband and son live in North Carolina, and you can read her blog here. I definitely recommend it! She’s way smarter than me, and I love her perspective. Hope you enjoy. Leave her a comment here and tell her how much you love it!!!
Every day, mostly mornings, I sit down to read my Bible. My goal is to read 5 pages a day. I also have a little journal to take notes in as I read. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. Some days I’m fascinated and some days it is just another thing to check off the list. Of course we all know it should not be that way and should not feel that way. We all also know that it happens to all of us sometime.
It seems so natural to us the up and down of our relationship with the Bible. Have you ever thought of how you even came to have a relationship with the Bible? Not Jesus, but the Bible, the book that you hold in your hands and from which you read. We discussed this in our Sunday school class recently. I was stunned with the history of this book. I have 4 or 5 of them in my house. I know that there are some places that don’t have one and I do feel special for having so many. I know that years ago Bibles weren’t so prevalent because it was so hard to print one. Once again I feel lucky to able to get one or several so easily. Other than feeling lucky, I don’t really think too much more about it. That is until this series in our class.
There were many men that gave their time, their intelligence, their reputation, and for some their lives to bring us a reliable Bible that we could read. Men like Thomas Linacre, John Colet, and William Tyndale. The idea of a Bible in English began its physical journey with John Wycliffe. The Pope wasn’t pleased. So much so that he ordered Wycliffe’s bones to be excavated, crushed, and scattered in a river. John Hus was a follower of Wycliffe’s and burned at the stake for continuing to spread Wycliffe’s ideas. You might wonder why the church was so angry with translating the Bible.
It wasn’t until the 1490’s when Thomas Linacre learned Greek that the full extent was revealed. His reaction to the original Greek was to say, “Either this is not the Gospel or we are not Christians.” Through the years passages had been added. Things like indulgences, which is the process of buying your salvation or the salvation of a relative, had been added to the Scriptures. The Bible at the time had actually said you should buy your salvation! A colleague of his, John Colet, also learned Greek and together they discovered these additions. They urged scholars to begin the work of translation because the Latin Vulgate was not accurate. They were making things difficult for the church in Rome. The leaders began to kill those who had Bibles in any language other than in Latin.
The translation work began with William Tyndale. He used the work of Erasmus, a scholar who translated the Greek into Latin anew. He had to flee England and went to Martin Luther. He translated the New Testament into English and began to publish them. When they were discovered, these books were burned. Although that only led to their spreading further. One copy even ended up in the bedroom of King Henry VIII. Eventually Tyndale was betrayed and jailed. He was strangled and burned at the stake. His last words were, “Oh Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.” 3 years later the Church of England split with the church in Rome. It may not have been for the right reasons, but the English people now had access to a Bible in English and services in English.
So next time you sit down to read your Bible, think of these men that sacrificed their lives for us to pick up a Bible and read it. Not only to read it, but to feel confident in the translation that we have. We know the words of God that are written directly to us because of these men.