From Here to Forever


Chapter 14—Truth Advances in Britain

While Luther was opening a closed Bible to the people of Germany, Tyndale was impelled by the Spirit of God to do the same for England. Wycliffe's Bible had been translated from the Latin text, which contained many errors. The cost of manuscript copies was so great that it had had a narrow circulation. HF 154.1

In 1516, for the first time the New Testament was printed in the original Greek tongue. Many errors of former versions were corrected, and the sense was more clearly rendered. It led many among the educated to a better knowledge of truth and gave a new impetus to the work of reform. But the common people were still, to a great extent, debarred from God's Word. Tyndale was to complete the work of Wycliffe in giving the Bible to his countrymen. HF 154.2

He fearlessly preached his convictions. To the papist 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 HF 154.3

Tyndale's preaching excited great interest. But the priests endeavored to destroy his work. “What is to be done?” he exclaimed. “I cannot be everywhere. Oh! if Christians possessed the Holy Scriptures in their own tongue, they could of themselves withstand these sophists. Without the Bible it is impossible to establish the laity in the truth.”2 HF 154.4

A new purpose now took possession of his mind. “Shall not the gospel speak the language of England among us? ... Ought the church to have less light at noonday than at the dawn? ... Christians must read the New Testament in their mother tongue.”3 Only by the Bible could men arrive at the truth. HF 154.5

A learned Catholic in controversy with him exclaimed, “We were better to be without God's laws than the pope's.” Tyndale replied, “1 defy the pope and all his laws; and if God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy that driveth the plow to know more of the Scripture than you do.”4 HF 155.1