What about Tyndale? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Tyndale is the one who gave us the word “beautiful.” It’s hard to say something negative about a guy like that. He was a devout Christian, but will a KJV-only work get this right? The source material is here.
Throughout history the Roman Catholic Church has ‘stonewalled’ efforts to give God’s Holy Word to the common person.
But a man named Tyndale would champion the cause of the common man.
I don’t doubt this about Tyndale, and while I know about Wycliffe and his effort with the Bible, at the same time I wonder about the former statement. For one thing, there wasn’t much means to get the Bible into the hands of the common man since printing was costly and timely. Also, few people could read or had need to.
“The first printed English version of the Bible was that of William Tyndale, one of England’s first Protestant martyrs” [S12P214]. “The burning desire to give the common people the Holy Word of God was the reason Tyndale translated it into English” [S2P239].
Tyndale was born: “… in the county of Gloucester near the Welsh border, about 1484” [S9P5]. “Tyndale entered Magdalen Hall at Oxford at an early age, completing his graduate work there. Further studies were done in Cambridge, which was also a center for reform. Many of the reformation martyrs were from Cambridge” [S9P5] Tyndale: “… went from Oxford to Cambridge to learn Greek under Erasmus, who was teaching there from 1510 to 1514” [S12P214].
Tyndale was: “… completely at home in eight languages, French, Hebrew, Greek, German, Spanish, Dutch, Latin and in his own tongue. He could speak any one of the seven as well as his mother tongue. He translated all of the New Testament and part of the Old, from the Greek or Hebrew, into English. His English was so perfect that the King James translators used 85% of his translation without changing a word. That was a miracle, because those scholars naturally would wish to use their own way of translating, but instead gave Tyndale’s choice of words and phrases the preference” [S10P4].
If the Tyndale was 85% word-for-word, what was the problem with the other 15%? If nothing serious, why a new Bible like the KJV? (Remember, at one time the KJV was the new Bible on the scene.)
In a dispute with a learned man, who put the Pope’s laws above God’s laws, Tyndale said: “If God spare my life, ere many years, I will cause a boy that driveth a plough to know more of the Scripture than thou …” [S2P229].
For this, Tyndale: “… was called before a council to answer charges of heresy” [S9P5].
“From that moment … his life was one of continual sacrifice and persecution” [S2P229].
“About 1520 he became attached to the doctrines of the Reformation and conceived the idea of translating the Scriptures into English” [S12P214].
To find a place to translate the Bible, Tyndale went to see Bishop Tonstall. The purpose was to:
“… ask for a place for his employ … The Bishop had no room for him. It had been decreed at the Council of Constance in 1417, that the Scriptures were NOT to be translated into the vernacular … Tyndale wrote that … there was not only no room in the Bishop’s palace to translate the Bible, but not in all of England” [S9P5].
So far I don’t really have a problem with this, but it would be good to see real historians cited or actually Tyndale himself.
Unable to translate the Bible in England, Tyndale:
“… set out for the Continent in the spring of 1524 and seems to have visited Hamburg and Wittenberg. In that same year (probably at Wittenberg) he translated the New Testament from Greek into English for dissemination in his native land. It is estimated that 18,000 copies of this version were printed on the Continent of Europe between 1525 and 1528 and shipped secretly to England. After this Tyndale continued to live on the Continent as a fugitive, constantly evading the efforts of the English authorities to have him tracked down and arrested. But in spite of this ever present danger his literary activity was remarkable. In 1530-31 he published portions of the Old Testament which he had translated from the Hebrew and in 1534 a revision both of this translation and also of his New Testament. In this same year he left his place of concealment and settled in Antwerp, evidently under the impression that the progress of the Reformation in England had made this move a safe one. In so thinking, however, he wasmistaken. Betrayed by a friend, he was imprisoned in 1535 and executed the following year. According to Foxe, his dying prayer was this: “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes” [S12P214]. “Henry VIII had banned all Bibles printed in English in his realm. Eleven months after Tyndale’s death Henry gave the order to print the Bible in English …” [S10P5].
As to translating from Greek into English (vs from Latin into English) Tyndale said:
“The Greek tongue agreeth more with the English than with Latin. And the properties of the Hebrew tongue agreeth a thousand times more with the English than with the Latin. The manner of speaking is both one; so that in a thousand places thou needest not but to translate into the English, word for word: when thou must seek a compass in the Latin” [S6P86].
And where did Tyndale get the Greek text that he used for his English translation?
His text: “… came from the pure Greek text of Erasmus” [S2P222].
Could be, but at the same time, this doesn’t mean that Greek text is necessarily the best text.
As to the quality of his English translation, Tyndale said:
“I call God to record, against the day we shall appear before our Lord Jesus Christ to give a reckoning of our doings, that I never altered one syllable of God’s Word against my conscience, nor would to this day, if all that is in the earth-whether it be honour, pleasure, or riches-might be given me” [S6P85].
And so: “William Tyndale translated from the original Greek into English … For this he was imprisoned in 1535 for about 18 months, afterwards strangled and burnt at the stake in October, 1536” [S9P4-5]. “His great offense was that he had translated the Scriptures into English and was making copies available against the wishes of the Roman Catholic hierarchy” [S2P3].
“But his life’s work had been completed. He had laid securely the foundations of the English Bible” [S12P214].
So not much to comment on here, and that’s okay. We’ll continue next time when we get a more contrary position.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)