Love Under Fire


Chapter 14—Truth Advances in Britain

While Luther was opening a closed Bible to the people of Germany, the Spirit of God was leading Tyndale to do the same for England. Wycliffe had translated the Bible from the Latin text, which had many errors. The cost of manuscript copies was so great that not many were produced. LF 105.1

In 1516, for the first time the New Testament was printed in the original Greek language. This printing corrected many errors of former versions and conveyed the meaning more clearly. It led many of the educated people to a better knowledge of truth and gave a new energy to the work of reform. But to a great extent the common people were still shut away from God's Word. Tyndale would complete Wycliffe's work in giving the Bible to the people of England. LF 105.2

He preached his convictions fearlessly. To the Catholic claim that the church had given the Bible and the church alone could explain it, Tyndale responded: “Far from having given us the Scriptures, it is you who have hidden them from us. It is you who burn those who teach them, and if you could, you would burn the Scriptures themselves.”1 LF 105.3

Tyndale's preaching stirred up great interest. But the priests tried to destroy his work. “What can be done?” he exclaimed. “I cannot be everywhere. Oh, if Christians just possessed the Holy Scriptures in their own language, they themselves could resist these clever deceivers. Without the Bible it is impossible to establish the people in the truth.”2 LF 105.4

A new purpose now took hold of his mind. “Shouldn’t the gospel speak the language of England among us? ... Should the church have less light at noonday than at the dawn, when it began? ... Christians must read the New Testament in their mother tongue.”3 Only by the Bible could people arrive at the truth. LF 105.5

In a dispute with Tyndale an educated Catholic exclaimed, “We would be better off without God's laws than the pope's.” Tyndale replied, “I defy the pope and all his laws; and if God spares my life, in a few years I will see to it that a boy driving a plow knows more of the Bible than you do.”4 LF 105.6