Christianity 201

January 23, 2011

The Difference A Life Made

William Tyndale

Because 2011 is the 400th anniversary of the King James translation of the Bible, North American newspaper writers are tripping over themselves to write something relevant about a 400-year old book that many of them would never otherwise consider reading.

The Toronto Star was no exception yesterday.

I found it interesting that they traced the development of the Bible back an extra century to the work that William Tyndale did.

Reporter Ron Csillag notes:

William Tyndale, scored the first printed English translation of the New Testament in 1526. Working directly from the Hebrew and Greek texts, his was a plain and vigorous English, designed to make the work accessible to “the boy that driveth the plough.” Some 3,000 of Tyndale’s translations were printed in Germany. Many were smuggled into England, where most were seized and burned as heretical, and Tyndale himself was burned at the stake in Belgium.

I’d heard that part before.  But here’s the part that I didn’t know:

But the scholars who laboured for seven years under James’s royal mandate must have found his words inspiring: It’s estimated that 80 per cent of Tyndale’s translation was incorporated into the KJV.

Eighty per cent!  That part, I hadn’t heard before. The Bible that has served the English speaking world so well for many years is really, four-fifths of it anyway, the Tyndale Bible.

The translation laboriously translated from the Hebrew and Greek by William Tyndale, the Bible translation that he believed in, the translation work that ultimately cost him his life; four-fifths of that is the very same translation whose survival four hundred years later — a fact that would totally amaze Tyndale given how the language has changed — is still being read by some people and still being sold in some Christian bookstores.  400 years later!

That’s the difference his life made.

What difference is my life making?

What difference is your life making?