This is our third of a series about people who suffered because they strongly believed that there should be a widespread reading and knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. We borrow this brief description of a man who died for the sake of making available the Bible to thousands of his people:
“WILLIAM TYNDALE SENT HIS BIBLES TO ENGLAND BY SMUGGLERS…where the bishops of London collected as many copies as possible and burned them in the street! After ten years work in Germany, William Tyndale was betrayed and arrested. His crime: publishing a New Testament – the first in the English language. His punishment: in 1536 Tyndale was strangled and burned at the stake. His last words were: ’Lord, open the king of England’s eyes.’” (New Life Through His Word, Junior Teacher Manual, 1990 published by the 20th Century Christian)
We could hardly imagine the inconsistency of the bishops and priests of the 16th century who were religious workers but considered it a crime and a sin to read the Bible. Where then did they get their idea about their religion? Where did they get the law of the church if not from the Bible? But to these religious leaders, it was a crime to know God’s commandments!
Thankfully, we have a WILLIAM TYNDALE who was willing to die so that Bibles could be distributed to the people. He prayed that a day would come when the King of England would no longer countenance the persecution by religious workers on those who love God’s words. After several decades, his prayer was answered. The King of England stayed the hands of the persecution that churchmen laid against those who promoted Bible reading. If it were not for men like William Tyndale, who knows, we would still be ignorant of the Bible today. We would not be able to say, “Back to the Bible” or would fail to say “Sola Scriptura.” # (7.10.10)