Word Bible School this month:
History of the English Bible
When John Wycliffe wrote in 1375 that all men would answer to God individually and so had the right to read the Bible for themselves the church condemned him. In an attempt to fight church corruption Wycliffe then translated the Latin Bible into English. Wycliffe finished this English translation in 1382 and died of a stroke two years later. Thirty-six years later the church was still so upset with him that they dug up his body, burned his bones and threw the ashes in a river.
Almost 100 years later William Tyndale graduated from Oxford. Tyndale told a church leader who was resisting translation of the Bible into English, “If God spare my life, many years, I will cause a boy that drives the plough to know more of the scriptures than you do.” Ten years later, in 1525, Tyndale finished the first ever New Testament translation directly taken from the original Greek into English. From Germany 15,000 copies were smuggled into England but were burnt by the church as fast as they could find them. Before Tyndale could finish the OT he was captured by the church. On Oct. 6, 1536 King Henry VIII had him strangled and burnt. Tyndale died praying, “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.” Miles Coverdale finished Tyndale’s OT translation. Ironically, in less than a year King Henry broke his ties with the established church and ordered that what he thought was Coverdale’s translation be printed. He did not know at the time he was giving the English world the Tyndale Bible at royal expense
.In 1543 England made it a crime to have or use an English Bible without a license.