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October 6, 2020

“Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

Today the church commemorates William Tyndale, translator and martyr. Influenced by both Erasmus of Rotterdam and Matin Luther, Tyndale’s great project was to bring God’s Word into the language of the people. He was the first English translator to work directly from the Hebrew and Greek texts. He was also the first English Bible translator to take advantage of the printing press. His work endures through many subsequent English translations; its influence can be seen in versions such as the King James and the New Revised Standard Version (which we use in worship at Grace).

His work also got him into trouble. His work as a translator was viewed as a threat against both the power of Rome and the King of England, Henry VIII, who was at that time still a staunch supporter of Rome. Henry eventually turned on Rome, but that didn’t help Tyndale. In 1530 he wrote against Henry’s proposed annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon in favor of Anne Boleyn. Tyndale was martyred in 1536. His last words were, “Lord! Open the King of England’s eyes.”

While most of us will never produce a translation of the scriptures, it is our task as Christians to make clear the word of God through our living. May we do so today, and may those whose eyes are clouded by power by opened to the true gifts of mercy and justice.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

God, your Word is living and active; it kills and gives new life. As we open your Word today, may it open and interpret us. Let us live boldly, unafraid of the powers and principalities of this world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: Portrait of William Tyndale from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (public domain).

From → COVID-19

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