Timothy George – William Tyndale and the Making of the English Bible – Isaiah 40:1-8, Philippians 3:12-14

Timothy George – William Tyndale and the Making of the English Bible – Isaiah 40:1-8, Philippians 3:12-14 from Southeastern Seminary on Vimeo.

‪The Forbidden Book – „History of the English Bible”

A 1777 Philadelphia edition of the English Bible – photo source here

Discover the fascinating story behind the preservation of the Bible, the best selling book of all times.

During the Dark Ages, superstition and ignorance controlled the minds of the masses.A few brave men obeyed God and brought the Scriptures to the world…..historical figures responsible for bringing us the Bible as we know and love it today: Wycliffe, Hus, Gutenberg, Colet, Erasmus, Tyndale, Luther and so on.

John Wycliffe, the brilliant 14th century Oxford scholar, translated the Bible from Latin into English in order to enlighten the masses oppressed through ignorance. His work was so despised by the established church, that Pope Martin the Fifth ordered Wycliffe’s bones to be dug up and burned forty years after his death.
Martin Luther was one of the few who challenged church authority in the 16th century and lived to tell the tale. In exposing the folly of indulgences (paying money to the church in order to obtain favor with God), he revealed what had always been written in Scripture, that justification was through faith and faith alone.
William Tyndale was not spared like his friend Luther. Tyndale spent the last 500 days of his life in a cold castle dungeon. He was then tied to a stake, strangled, and burned. His crime?.. printing Bibles in the English language!

This one-hour documentary takes us on a fascinating journey through time. It was shot all across Europe and shows all the important places of Christian history. Here you will learn how God’s Word was originally scribed and discovered and how the Word was preserved through the 1,000 year period of the Dark and Middle Ages. It will also enlighten you how the King James version was created.

There are many amazing facts worked into the presentation. Dr. Lampe shows a scroll that is 1000 years old, and tells the viewer that it is word-for-word the same as the text of the Dead Sea Scrolls that were written a full millennium before.

Being reminded of the blood that was shed to bring the Bible to common folk like us will make us consider just how flippantly we treat the Scriptures. It will make us truly realize how privileged our generation is to have not just one Bible but an entire stack of them in many outstanding translations. It will make us thank God for the faithful men and women who gave their lives that we can have unlimited access to His Word.

See also these other great links (some containing videos) 

VIDEO by abramski2

‪Lamp In The Dark:Untold History of the Bible ~ Full Documentary‬‏

Throughout the Middle Ages, the Papal Inquisition forbade biblical translation, threatening imprisonment and death to those who disobeyed. Learn the stories of valiant warriors of the faith, such as John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, Martin Luther, the ancient Waldenses, Albigenses and others who hazarded their lives for the sake of sharing the Gospel light with a world drowning in darkness.

Once the common people were able to read the Bible, the world was turned upside down through the Protestant Reformation. The Reformers subdued whole kingdoms by preaching the grace of God, and exposing the unbiblical doctrines of Rome. In response, the Vatican would launch a Counter Reformation to destroy the work of the Reformers, including the bibles they produced.

VIDEO by amy2x

 

John Piper at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary – The sadness & beauty of Paul’s final words

From February 17, 2013 at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Text 2 Timothy 4:9-22

 Make every effort to come to me soon; 10 for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. 12 But Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13 When you come bring the cloak which I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments. 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. 15 Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching.

16 At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. 17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus remained atCorinth, but Trophimus I left sick at Miletus. 21 Make every effort to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, also Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brethren.

22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.

Here are a few notes from the message-

John Piper SBTS 17 feb 2013Piper: We’ll look at some of the most beautiful and some of the saddest words in the Bible, that are intended, I think, to establish you in your mission and your ministry… I think, the overall impact God wants you to have- to the Timothy’s in the room especially- is to inform you that ministry will be hard, and that in spite of all of its hardness, Jesus will stand you.

I have about 7 observations about the ministry in church and the ministry in missions. If you live long enough, you will find them all to be true in your life:

  1. Christian ministry is relationally hard
  2. Friends in ministry can let you down, and never care for you again. I want to give a warning to culture embracing Christians in the room, because you’ve got to embrace culture to be relevant. There is an embrace of culture- God ignoring, God denying, God demeaning, Christ distorting products of culture that is mutually exclusive with a deep love for Jesus. There is a love for the world that is irreconcilable with world exposing ministry, witnessing to world ministry. Rescuing from world ministry. If your heart is in love with the world, you just love what unbelievers love, you’ll either change your ministry to be compatible with that love, which happens all over the place, or you will leave the ministry, like Dimas did. More people leave Christ, more people leave church, more people leave the ministry, and more people leave the hope of heaven, out of love for the world, than anything else. (10:45)
  3. Good friends in ministry can let you down and still be your friend.
  4. Jesus never intended the enjoyment of His presence would replace the enjoyment of other Christians. In other words, when Christ died, so you would enjoy Him supremely, He did not nullify the enjoyment of other Christians. Christ always intended for your friendship with Him to be the centerpiece of your friendship with others. The joy of Christ centered friendship is meant to magnify the worth of Christ, as the common treasure of the friendship, and thus deepen the sweetness of the friendship, not eliminate it.
  5. Nevertheless, Jesus is the only totally reliable friend for sinners. He is the only flawless friend, and therefore the all satisfying friend, and therefore the only friend who can make other friendships eternal. As much as you may love your earthly friends and your earthly family, they can’t do this for you. They cannot rescue you from every evil deed, and bring you safely to the heavenly kingdom. Only one friend can do that (Jesus). Seek Christian friendships, but when they fail, when they don’t show up at your trial, don’t turn on your one Friend who will be there. Have you ever thought how insane it is, how many people, being let down by christian friends, use it as the reason to leave the one Friend  who will never let them down.
  6. Closeness to God at the end of your life does not remove the need or the desire to read or be spiritually nourished. (25:00)
  7. People with great influence and great authority don’t need great possessions. Paul handled a lot of money for his day and he kept very little for himself. Don’t lay up treasures on earth, lay up treasures in heaven. Keep it simple.

Let me close, by reading a quote form William Tyndale. This was written a year before he was strangled and burned at the stake in 1536. He was in prison, just north of Brussels. He had been arrested for putting the Bible into English. He’s gonna die for helping people read the Bible in English. And, as he’s in prison languishing, he writes this. It’s just a beautiful, powerful (in my mind, anyway, in my heart) illustration of what we’ve just said.

„I beg your lordship, that if I am to remain here through the winter, you will request the commissary to send me, from the goods of mine, which he has, a warmer coat, also. For, this which I have is very thin. A piece of cloth, too, to patch my leggings. But, most of all, I beg and beseech your clemency to be urgent with the commisary, that he will kindly permit me to have the Hebrew Bible, the Hebrew grammar, and the Hebrew dictionary, that I may pass the time in that study.”

The Sadness & Beauty of Paul’s Final Words

The 7 Books Recommended for Pastors at the Desiring God National Conference 2013

by John Piper | February 4, 2013

1. Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry

2. Jonathan Edwards, End for Which God Created the World

3. David Daniell, William Tyndale

4. Joel Beeke, A Puritan Theology

5. Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students

6. G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

7. Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

‪The Forbidden Book – „History of the English Bible”‬‏

A 1777 Philadelphia edition of the English Bible – photo source here

Discover the fascinating story behind the preservation of the Bible, the best selling book of all times.

During the Dark Ages, superstition and ignorance controlled the minds of the masses.A few brave men obeyed God and brought the Scriptures to the world…..historical figures responsible for bringing us the Bible as we know and love it today: Wycliffe, Hus, Gutenberg, Colet, Erasmus, Tyndale, Luther and so on.

John Wycliffe, the brilliant 14th century Oxford scholar, translated the Bible from Latin into English in order to enlighten the masses oppressed through ignorance. His work was so despised by the established church, that Pope Martin the Fifth ordered Wycliffe’s bones to be dug up and burned forty years after his death.
Martin Luther was one of the few who challenged church authority in the 16th century and lived to tell the tale. In exposing the folly of indulgences (paying money to the church in order to obtain favor with God), he revealed what had always been written in Scripture, that justification was through faith and faith alone.
William Tyndale was not spared like his friend Luther. Tyndale spent the last 500 days of his life in a cold castle dungeon. He was then tied to a stake, strangled, and burned. His crime?.. printing Bibles in the English language!

This one-hour documentary takes us on a fascinating journey through time. It was shot all across Europe and shows all the important places of Christian history. Here you will learn how God’s Word was originally scribed and discovered and how the Word was preserved through the 1,000 year period of the Dark and Middle Ages. It will also enlighten you how the King James version was created.

There are many amazing facts worked into the presentation. Dr. Lampe shows a scroll that is 1000 years old, and tells the viewer that it is word-for-word the same as the text of the Dead Sea Scrolls that were written a full millennium before.

Being reminded of the blood that was shed to bring the Bible to common folk like us will make us consider just how flippantly we treat the Scriptures. It will make us truly realize how privileged our generation is to have not just one Bible but an entire stack of them in many outstanding translations. It will make us thank God for the faithful men and women who gave their lives that we can have unlimited access to His Word.

See also these other great links (some containing videos) 

VIDEO by abramski2

Possession of the Bible was once banned by the Catholic Church (and yes, unauthorized Bibles were burned)

This is a very interesting paper from http://www.aloha.net/ Whatever the motivation behind it, one can only gasp  incredulously when reading a phrase such as Pope Innocent III wrote in 1199: „They are moved by a certain love of Scripture in order to explain them clandestinely and to preach them to one another.” Then his reasoning that the word of God cannot be understood except for those qualified (by being taught i.e. informed intelligence) is even more bizarre. And if that doesn’t sound like a dangerous proclamation, it indeed set the course (in 1229) for the later persecution and martyrdom of thousands of believers deemed heretical by the papacy. Read on:

ITEM #1   POPE INNOCENT III

Pope Innocent III stated in 1199:

… to be reproved are those who translate into French the Gospels, the letters of Paul, the psalter, etc. They are moved by a certain love of Scripture in order to explain them clandestinely and to preach them to one another. The mysteries of the faith are not to explained rashly to anyone. Usually in fact, they cannot be understood by everyone but only by those who are qualified to understand them with informed intelligence. The depth of the divine Scriptures is such that not only the illiterate and uninitiated have difficulty understanding them, but also the educated and the gifted (Denzinger-Schönmetzer, Enchiridion Symbolorum 770-771)

Source: Bridging the Gap – Lectio Divina, Religious Education, and the Have-not’s by Father John Belmonte, S.J.

ITEM #2   COUNCIL OF TOULOUSE – 1229 A.D.

The Council of Toulouse, which met in November of 1229, about the time of the crusade against the Albigensians, set up a special ecclesiastical tribunal, or court, known as the Inquisition (Lat. inquisitio, an inquiry), to search out and try heretics. Twenty of the forty-five articles decreed by the Council dealt with heretics and heresy. It ruled in part:

Canon 1. We appoint, therefore, that the archbishops and bishops shall swear in one priest, and two or three laymen of good report, or more if they think fit, in every parish, both in and out of cities, who shall diligently, faithfully, and frequently seek out the heretics in those parishes, by searching all houses and subterranean chambers which lie under suspicion. And looking out for appendages or outbuildings, in the roofs themselves, or any other kind of hiding places, all which we direct to be destroyed.

Canon 6. Directs that the house in which any heretic shall be found shall be destroyed.

Canon 14. We prohibit also that the laity should be permitted to have the books of the Old or New Testament; unless anyone from motive of devotion should wish to have the Psalter or the Breviary for divine offices or the hours of the blessed Virgin; but we most strictly forbid their having any translation of these books.

Source: Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe, Edited with an introduction by Edward Peters, Scolar Press, London, copyright 1980 by Edward Peters, ISBN 0-85967-621-8, pp. 194-195, citing S. R. Maitland, Facts and Documents [illustrative of the history, doctrine and rites, of the ancient Albigenses & Waldenses], London, Rivington, 1832,  pp. 192-194.

Additional Sources:

Ecclesiastical History of Ancient Churches of the Albigenses, Pierre Allix, published in Oxford at the Clarendon Press in 1821, reprinted in USA in 1989 by Church History Research & Archives, P.O. Box 38, Dayton Ohio, 45449, p. 213 [Canon 14].

 The History of Protestantism, by J. A. Wiley, chapter 10 cites:

  • Concilium Tolosanum, cap. 1, p. 428. Sismondi, 220.
  • Labbe, Concil. Tolosan., tom. 11, p. 427. Fleury, Hist. Eccles., lib. 79, n. 58.

Some Catholics may doubt that there even was a Church Council in Toulouse France in 1229. The following quotes are offered as corroborating evidence:

After the death of Innocent III, the Synod of Toulouse directed in 1229 its fourteenth canon against the misuse of Sacred Scripture on the part of the Cathari: „prohibemus, ne libros Veteris et Novi Testamenti laicis permittatur habere” (Hefele, „Concilgesch”, Freiburg, 1863, V, 875).

Source: The 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia article on  Scripture.


In France Louis VIII decreed in 1226 that persons excommunicated by the diocesan bishop, or his delegate, should receive „meet punishment” (debita animadversio). In 1249 Louis IX ordered barons to deal with heretics according to the dictates of duty (de ipsis faciant quod debebant). A decree of the Council of Toulouse (1229) makes it appear probable that in France death at the stake was already comprehended as in keeping with the aforesaid debita animadversio.

Source: The 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia article on the  Inquisition.


… the Council of Toulouse (1229) entrusted the Inquisition, which soon passed into the hands of the Dominicans (1233), with the repression of Albigensianism. The heresy disappeared about the end of the fourteenth century.

Source: The 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia article on the  Albigenses.


1229 – The Inquisition of Toulouse imposed by Albigensian Crusaders forbids laymen to read the Bible.

Source: The People’s Chronology, Revised and updated, by James Trager, Copyright 1992, 1994, published by Henry Holt and Company, ISBN 0-8050-3134-0, New York, page 108.


In 1229, when the Council of Toulouse assembled to survey and regulate the results of the Albigensian Crusade, its canons reflected the severity of ecclesiastical discipline in an area in which the inability to eradicate heresy had led to profound secular and ecclesiastical consequences. The first canon of the Council insists upon the appointment of the traditional testes synodales, but these now have new powers of actively searching out the hiding places of heretics; condemned heretics who repent must be moved to orthodox places to live, and they must wear conspicuously colored crosses on their garments to publicly indicate their penitential status; certain professions were closed to those even suspected of heresy.

Source: Inquisition, by Edward Peters, published by University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, Copyright 1988 by the Free Press, a division of Macmillan, Inc., ISBN 0-520-06630-8, page 51.


In the same year [1229], the Council of Toulouse set up a special court of permanent judges to search out and try heretics. But although twenty of the forty-five articles of that Council dealt with the problem of heresy, it did not yet create a new and specific institution for this work. The local bishop remained the final judge, and had the power to commute sentences. 4

4. Lea, Henry Charles, The History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages, New York: Macmillan, 1908, vol. I, p. 310.

(Lea cites the 1229 Council of Toulouse as the foundation for the Inquisition, on page 359 of vol. I., as does Guiraud in The Medieval Inquisition, London: Burns Oates and Washbourne, 1929, on page 59.)

Source: The Inquisition, Hammer of Heresy, By Edward Burman, Copyright 1984, Published by Dorset Press, a division of Marboro Books Corp., by arrangement with Harper Collins Publishers, UK., ISBN 0-88029-909-6, pages 31, 32.


The clauses of the Peace of Paris and the decrees of a council held at Toulouse in November 1229 demonstrated that twenty years of crusading had not been very effective, since heresy was as much a concern as ever. The fact was that crusading, particularly when as episodic as this type was, could not eradicate deep-rooted heresy. It required the establishment of the inquisition in Toulouse in 1233 and the persistent pressure that such an instrument could bring to bear for headway to be made …

Source: The Crusades, A Short History, by Jonathan Riley-Smith, Copyright 1987, published by Yale University Press, New Haven and London, ISBN 0-300-04700-2, pages 138, 139.


ITEM #3   THE COUNCIL OF TARRAGONA – 1234 A.D.

The Council of Tarragona of 1234, in its second canon, ruled that:

„No one may possess the books of the Old and New Testaments in the Romance language, and if anyone possesses them he must turn them over to the local bishop within eight days after promulgation of this decree, so that they may be burned lest, be he a cleric or a layman, he be suspected until he is cleared of all suspicion.”

-D. Lortsch, Historie de la Bible en France, 1910, p.14.

See also: The 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia article on the  Scripture.


ITEM #4     JOHN WYCLIFFE – MORNING STAR OF THE REFORMATION

John Wycliffe was the very first to translate the entire Bible into English, which he completed in 1382. Wycliffe translated from the Latin Vulgate. One copy of an original manuscript is in the Bodlein Library in Oxford, England. Wycliffe’s Bibles were painstakingly reproduced by hand by copyists.

In 1408 the third synod of Oxford, England, banned unauthorized English translations of the Bible and decreed that possession of English translation’s had to be approved by diocesan authorities. The Oxford council declared:

   „It is dangerous, as St. Jerome declares, to translate the text of Holy Scriptures out of one idiom into another, since it is not easy in translations to preserve exactly the same meaning in all things. We therefore command and ordain that henceforth no one translate the text of Holy Scripture into English or any other language as a book, booklet, or tract, of this kind lately made in the time of the said John Wyclif or since, or that hereafter may be made, either in part or wholly, either publicly or privately, under pain of excommunication, until such translation shall have been approved and allowed by the Provincial Council. He who shall act otherwise let him be punished as an abettor of heresy and error.”

Source: The Western Watchman, a Catholic newspaper published in St. Louis, August 9, 1894, „The Word of God”, The English Bible Before the Reformation, page 7.

At the ecumenical Council of Constance, in 1415, Wycliffe was posthumously condemned by Arundel, the archbishop of Canterbury, as „that pestilent wretch of damnable heresy who invented a new translation of the scriptures in his mother tongue.” By the decree of the Council, more that 40 years after his death, Wycliffe’s bones were exhumed and publicly burned and the ashes were thrown into the Swift river.

Around 1454 Gutenberg printed an edition of the Latin Vulgate Bible on the first moveable-type printing press. With this new printing technology books could now be printed faster and cheaper than ever before, a fact that Protestants soon took advantage of. Within a hundred years there was a virtual explosion of Protestant Bibles coming off the new presses.


ITEM #5   THE BIBLE IN ENGLISH IS PRINTED

William Tyndale completed a translation of the New Testament from the Greek in 1525, which church authorities in England tried their best to confiscate and burn. After issuing a revised edition in 1535, he was arrested, spent over a year in jail, and was then strangled and burned at the stake near Brussels in October 6th, 1536. It is estimated today that some 90 percent of the New Testament in the 1611 King James Bible is the work of Tyndale. Tyndale was unable to complete his translation of the Old Testament before his death.

Miles Coverdale, an assistant to Tyndale, completed Tyndale’s translation of the Old Testament using Martin Luther’s German text and Latin as sources, and in Germany he printed the first complete Bible in English on October 4, 1535.

Matthew’s Bible, a composite of the work of Tyndale and Coverdale, probably edited by John Rogers, was published in 1537 under the pseudonym „Thomas Matthew”, and was the second complete edition of the Bible printed in English.

Coverdale’s „Great Bible”, called that because of its size, was published in 1539 and had over 21,000 copies printed in seven editions in only a single year. Working under the patronage of Thomas Cromwell, Coverdale had submitted his Bible via the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, and it was published with the authorization of King Henry VIII, whose likely motivation was the realization that the Bible was an effective means of combating papists. Amazingly, at the end of the book of Malachi were the initials W.T., covering half a page, standing for William Tyndale! Beginning with the second edition, the Great Bible included a preface by Thomas Cranmer, and so it is also called Cranmer’s Bible.

The English parliament in 1543 passed a law forbidding the use of any English translations other than the „Great Bible”. Tyndale’s New Testament was specifically prohibited, and later Wycliffe’s and Coverdale’s Bibles were also banned. It was decreed a crime for any unlicensed person to read or explain the Scriptures in public. Many copies of Tyndale’s New Testament and Coverdale’s Bible were burned in London, though ironically, the authorized „Great Bible” contained the work of both men!

In 1557 the Geneva Bible was first published, which continued to be popular even years after the King James was available. The Geneva Bible was the version in use during Shakespeare’s time, and was often quoted by him in his plays.

In 1559 Queen Elizabeth, a Protestant, decreed that a copy of the Bishop’s Bible be placed in every parish church. The Bishop’s Bible was printed in 20 editions over 42 years and was the basis for the King James Bible.

Responding to the increasing flood of Protestant Bibles in English, the very first complete Bible in English to be produced by the Catholic Church was the Douay Rheims, a translation from the Latin Vulgate, which was finally completed in the early 17th century. The New Testament was begun in 1578 and finished in Rheims France in 1582, and the Old Testament was finished in 1609-10 in Douay. Note that it had been over two centuries since Wycliffe had completed his English Bible!

In an attempt to combat the swiftly rising tide of Protestantism, the Catholic Church began maintaining lists of the prohibited books which were to be confiscated. Here is an example from England:

Memorandum of a proclamation made at Paul’s Cross on the first Sunday in Advent, 1531, against the buying, selling or reading of the following books:

The disputation between father and the son.
The supplication of beggars.
The revelation of AntiChrist.
Liber qui de veteri et novicio Deo inscribitur.
Precaciones.
Economica christiana.
The burying of the mass, in English rhyme.
An exposition into the VII chapter of the Corinthians.
The matrimony of Tyndal.
A B C against the clergy.
Ortulus animae, in English.
A book against Saint Thomas of Canterbury.
A book made by Friar Reye against the seven sacraments.
An answer of Tyndal to Sir Thomas More’s dialogue, in English.
A disputation of purgatory, made by John Frythe.
The first book of Moses, called Genesis.
A prologue in the second book of Moses, called Exodus.
A prologue in the third book of Moses, called Leviticus.
A prologue in the fourth book of Moses, called Numeri.
A prologue in the fifth book of Moses, called Deuteronomy.
The practice of prelates.
The New Testament in English, with an introduction to the epistle to the Romans.
The parable of the wicked Mammon.
The obedience of a Christian man.
The book of Thorpe or of John Oldecastell.
The sum of scripture.
The primer in English.
The psalter in English.
A dialogue between the gentlemen and the plowman.
Jonas in English.

Calendar of State Papers V, 18.

Source: The Reformation, by Hans J. Hillerbrand, copyright 1964 by SCM Press Ltd and Harper and Row, Inc., Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 64-15480, page 473.


ITEM #6    THE BIBLE PROHIBITED BY THE INDEX LIBRORUM PROHIBITORUM

Pope Pius IV had a list of the forbidden books compiled and officially prohibited them in the Index of Trent (Index Librorum Prohibitorum) of 1559. This is an excerpt:

Rule I

All books which were condemned prior to 1515 by popes or ecumenical councils, and are not listed in this Index, are to stand condemned in the original fashion.

Rule II

Books of arch-heretics – those who after 1515 have invented or incited heresy or who have been or still are heads and leaders of heretics, such as Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Hubmaier, Schwenckfeld, and the like — whatever their name, title or argumentation — are prohibited without exception. As far as other heretics are concerned, only those books are condemned without exception which deal ex professo with religion. Others will be permitted after Catholic theologians have examined and approved them by the order of bishops and inquisitors. Likewise, Catholic books written by those who subsequently fell into heresy or by those who after their lapse returned into the bosom of the Church can be permitted after approval by a theological faculty or the inquisition.

Rule III

Translations of older works, including the church fathers, made by condemned authors, are permitted if they contain nothing against sound doctrine. However, translations of books of the Old Testament may be allowed by the judgment of bishops for the use of learned and pious men only. These translations are to elucidate the Vulgate so that Sacred Scripture can be understood, but they are not to be considered as a sacred text. Translations of the New Testament made by authors of the first sections in this Index are not to be used at all, since too little usefulness and too much danger attends such reading.

Rule IV

Since experience teaches that, if the reading of the Holy Bible in the vernacular is permitted generally without discrimination, more damage than advantage will result because of the boldness of men, the judgment of bishops and inquisitors is to serve as guide in this regard. Bishops and inquisitors may, in accord with the counsel of the local priest and confessor, allow Catholic translations of the Bible to be read by those of whom they realize that such reading will not lead to the detriment but to the increase of faith and piety. The permission is to be given in writing. Whoever reads or has such a translation in his possession without this permission cannot be absolved from his sins until he has turned in these Bibles …

Rule VI

Books in the vernacular dealing with the controversies between Catholics and the heretics of our time are not to be generally permitted, but are to be handled in the same way as Bible translations. …

Die Indices Librorum Prohibitorum des sechzehnten
Jahrhunderts 
(Tübingen, 1886), page 246f.

Source: The Reformation, by Hans J. Hillerbrand, copyright 1964 by SCM Press Ltd and Harper and Row, Inc., Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 64-15480, pages 474, 475.


ITEM #7    POPE CLEMENT XI ON READING SCRIPTURE

From  UNIGENITUS, The Dogmatic Constitution issued by Pope Clement XI on Sept. 8, 1713:

The following statements are condemned as being error:

79. It is useful and necessary at all times, in all places, and for every kind of person, to study and to know the spirit, the piety, and the mysteries of Sacred Scripture.
80. The reading of Sacred Scripture is for all.
81. The sacred obscurity of the Word of God is no reason for the laity to dispense themselves from reading it.
82. The Lord’s Day ought to be sanctified by Christians with readings of pious works and above all of the Holy Scriptures. It is harmful for a Christian to wish to withdraw from this reading.
83. It is an illusion to persuade oneself that knowledge of the mysteries of religion should not be communicated to women by the reading of Sacred Scriptures. Not from the simplicity of women, but from the proud knowledge of men has arisen the abuse of the Scriptures and have heresies been born.
84. To snatch away from the hands of Christians the New Testament, or to hold it closed against them by taking away from them the means of understanding it, is to close for them the mouth of Christ.
85. To forbid Christians to read Sacred Scripture, especially the Gospels, is to forbid the use of light to the sons of light, and to cause them to suffer a kind of excommunication.


ITEM #8    POPE PIUS VI ON READING SCRIPTURE

From the Constitution Auctorem fidei, Aug. 28, 1794, of Pope Pius VI:

[D. Errors]  Concerning Duties, Practices, Rules Pertaining to Religious Worship.

The Reading of Sacred Scripture
[From the note at the end of the decree on grace]

[p. 390]
1567    67. The doctrine asserting that „only a true impotence excuses” from the reading of the Sacred Scriptures, adding, moreover, that there is produced the obscurity which arises from a neglect of this precept in regard to the primary truths of religion,—false, rash, disturbing to the peace of souls, condemned elsewhere in Quesnel [Unigenitus, quoted above].

Errors of the Synod of Pistoia, Condemned in the Constitution Auctorem fidei, Aug. 28, 1794, Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, Translated by Roy J. Deferrari, from the Thirtieth Edition of Henry Denzinger’s Enchiridion Symbolorum, published by B. Herder Book Co., Copyright 1957, page 390.


ITEM #9 POPE LEO XII CONDEMNS VERNACULAR BIBLES AS HARMFUL

From the Encyclical  UBI PRIMUM of POPE LEO XII, MAY 5, 1824:

17. You have noticed a society, commonly called the Bible society, boldly spreading throughout the whole world. Rejecting the traditions of the holy Fathers and infringing the well-known decree of the Council of Trent,[16] it works by every means to have the holy Bible translated, or rather mistranslated, into the ordinary languages of every nation. There are good reasons for fear that (as has already happened in some of their commentaries and in other respects by a distorted interpretation of Christ’s gospel) they will produce a gospel of men, or what is worse, a gospel of the devil![17]

18. To prevent this evil, Our predecessors published many constitutions. Most recently Pius VII wrote two briefs, one to Ignatius, Archbishop of Gniezno, the other to Stanislaus, Archbishop of Mohileu, quoting carefully and wisely many passages from the sacred writings and from the tradition to show how harmful to faith and morals this wretched undertaking is.

19. In virtue of Our apostolic office, We too exhort you to try every means of keeping your flock from those deadly pastures. Do everything possible to see that the faithful observe strictly the rules of our Congregation of the Index. Convince them that to allow holy Bibles in the ordinary language, wholesale and without distinction, would on account of human rashness cause more harm than good.


ITEM #10    POPE PIUS VIII ON UNAUTHORIZED VERNACULAR BIBLES

From the encyclical  TRADITI HUMILITATI of Pope Pius VIII, May 24, 1829

5. We must also be wary of those who publish the Bible with new interpretations contrary to the Church’s laws. They skillfully distort the meaning by their own interpretation. They print the Bibles in the vernacular and, absorbing an incredible expense, offer them free even to the uneducated. Furthermore, the Bibles are rarely without perverse little inserts to insure that the reader imbibes their lethal poison instead of the saving water of salvation. Long ago the Apostolic See warned about this serious hazard to the faith and drew up a list of the authors of these pernicious notions. The rules of this Index were published by the Council of Trent;[8] the ordinance required that translations of the Bible into the vernacular not be permitted without the approval of the Apostolic See and further required that they be published with commentaries from the Fathers. The sacred Synod of Trent had decreed[9] in order to restrain impudent characters, that no one, relying on his own prudence in matters of faith and of conduct which concerns Christian doctrine, might twist the sacred Scriptures to his own opinion, or to an opinion contrary to that of the Church or the popes. Though such machinations against the Catholic faith had been assailed long ago by these canonical proscriptions, Our recent predecessors made a special effort to check these spreading evils.[10] With these arms may you too strive to fight the battles of the Lord which endanger the sacred teachings, lest this deadly virus spread in your flock.

ITEM #11   POPE GREGORY XVI CONDEMNS BIBLE SOCIETIES, VERNACULAR BIBLES

From the encyclical  INTER PRAECIPUAS (On Biblical Societies) by Pope Gregory XVI, May 8, 1844:

1. Among the special schemes with which non-Catholics plot against the adherents of Catholic truth to turn their minds away from the faith, the biblical societies are prominent. They were first established in England and have spread far and wide so that We now see them as an army on the march, conspiring to publish in great numbers copies of the books of divine Scripture. These are translated into all kinds of vernacular languages for dissemination without discrimination among both Christians and infidels. Then the biblical societies invite everyone to read them unguided. Therefore it is just as Jerome complained in his day: they make the art of understanding the Scriptures without a teacher” common to babbling old women and crazy old men and verbose sophists,” and to anyone who can read, no matter what his status. Indeed, what is even more absurd and almost unheard of, they do not exclude the common people of the infidels from sharing this kind of a knowledge.

4. Moreover, regarding the translation of the Bible into the vernacular, even many centuries ago bishops in various places have at times had to exercise greater vigilance when they became aware that such translations were being read in secret gatherings or were being distributed by heretics. Innocent III issued warnings concerning the secret gatherings of laymen and women, under the pretext of piety, for the reading of Scripture in the diocese of Metz.[12] There was also a special prohibition of Scripture translations promulgated either in Gaul a little later[13] or in Spain before the sixteenth century.[14]

[Footnote #13: Council of Toulouse (1229), can. 14., as listed at the beginning of this article]

11. … We again condemn all the above-mentioned biblical societies of which our predecessors disapproved. … Besides We confirm and renew by Our apostolic authority the prescriptions listed and published long ago concerning the publication, dissemination, reading, and possession of vernacular translations of sacred Scriptures.

12. … In particular, watch more carefully over those who are assigned to give public readings of holy scripture, so that they function diligently in their office within the comprehension of the audience; under no pretext whatsoever should they dare to explain and interpret the divine writings contrary to the tradition of the Fathers or the interpretation of the Catholic Church.


ITEM #12   POPE PIUS IX DECLARES BIBLE SOCIETIES „PESTS”

On December 8, 1866, Pope Pius IX, in his encyclical  QUANTA CURAissued a  syllabus of eighty errors under ten different headings. Under heading IV, we find listed:

IV. Socialism, Communism, Secret Societies, Biblical Societies, Clerico-Liberal Societies

Pests of this kind are frequently reprobated in the severest terms in the
Encyclical  Qui pluribusNov. 9, 1846, (See #13-14):

13. You already know well, venerable brothers, the other portentous errors and deceits by which the sons of this world try most bitterly to attack the Catholic religion and the divine authority of the Church and its laws. They would even trample underfoot the rights both of the sacred and of the civil power. For this is the goal of the lawless activities against this Roman See in which Christ placed the impregnable foundation of His Church. This is the goal of those secret sects who have come forth from the darkness to destroy and desolate both the sacred and the civil commonwealth. These have been condemned with repeated anathema in the Apostolic letters of the Roman Pontiffs who preceded Us[15] We now confirm these with the fullness of Our Apostolic power and command that they be most carefully observed.

14. This is the goal too of the crafty Bible Societies which renew the old skill of the heretics and ceaselessly force on people of all kinds, even the uneducated, gifts of the Bible. They issue these in large numbers and at great cost, in vernacular translations, which infringe the holy rules of the Church. The commentaries which are included often contain perverse explanations; so, having rejected divine tradition, the doctrine of the Fathers and the authority of the Catholic Church, they all interpret the words of the Lord by their own private judgment, thereby perverting their meaning. As a result, they fall into the greatest errors. Gregory XVI of happy memory, Our superior predecessor, followed the lead of his own predecessors in rejecting these societies in his apostolic letters.[16] It is Our will to condemn them likewise.

Allocution Quibus quantisque, April 20, 1849,
Encyclical  Noscitis et nobiscumDec. 8, 1849, (See #14):

14. The crafty enemies of the Church and human society attempt to seduce the people in many ways. One of their chief methods is the misuse of the new technique of book-production. They are wholly absorbed in the ceaseless daily publication and proliferation of impious pamphlets, newspapers and leaflets which are full of lies, calumnies and seduction. Furthermore, under the protection of the Bible Societies which have long since been condemned by this Holy See,[7] they distribute to the faithful under the pretext of religion, the holy bible in vernacular translations. Since these infringe the Church’s rules,[8] they are consequently subverted and most daringly twisted to yield a vile meaning. So you realize very well what vigilant and careful efforts you must make to inspire in your faithful people an utter horror of reading these pestilential books. Remind them explicitly with regard to divine scripture that no man, relying on his own wisdom, is able to claim the privilege of rashly twisting the scriptures to his own meaning in opposition to the meaning which holy mother Church holds and has held. It was the Church alone that Christ commissioned to guard the deposit of the faith and to decide the true meaning and interpretation of the divine pronouncements.[9]

Allocution Singulari quadam, Dec. 9, 1854,
Encyclical  Quanto conficiamur (On Promotion Of False Doctrines), August 10, 1863.


ITEM #13    THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH THE ONLY TRUE GUIDE TO SCRIPTURE

14. … Wherefore it must be recognized that the sacred writings are wrapt in a certain religious obscurity, and that no one can enter into their interior without a guide[32]; God so disposing, as the Holy Fathers commonly teach, in order that men may investigate them with greater ardor and earnestness, and that what is attained with difficulty may sink more deeply into the mind and heart; and, most of all, that they may understand that God has delivered the Holy Scriptures to the Church, and that in reading and making use of His Word, they must follow the Church as their guide and their teacher. … the Council of the Vatican, which, in renewing the decree of Trent declares its „mind” to be this—that „in things of faith and morals, belonging to the building up of Christian doctrine, that is to be considered the true sense of Holy Scripture which has been held and is held by our Holy Mother the Church, whose place it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the Scriptures; and therefore that it is permitted to no one to interpret Holy Scripture against such sense or also against the unanimous agreement of the Fathers.”[34] … Hence it follows that all interpretation is foolish and false which either makes the sacred writers disagree one with another, or is opposed to the doctrine of the Church.

15. … But it is most unbecoming to pass by, in ignorance or contempt, the excellent work which Catholics have left in abundance, and to have recourse to the works of non-Catholics—and to seek in them, to the detriment of sound doctrine and often to the peril of faith, the explanation of passages on which Catholics long ago have successfully employed their talent and their labor. For although the studies of non-Catholics, used with prudence, may sometimes be of use to the Catholic student, he should, nevertheless, bear well in mind—as the Fathers also teach in numerous passages[41]—that the sense of Holy Scripture can nowhere be found incorrupt out side of the Church, and cannot be expected to be found in writers who, being without the true faith, only gnaw the bark of the Sacred Scripture, and never attain its pith.

Source:  PROVIDENTISSIMUS DEUS (On the Study of Holy Scripture), Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII promulgated on 18 November 1893.


ITEM #14    POPE LEO XIII PROHIBITS NON-CATHOLIC BIBLES

From Leo XIII, Apostolic Constitution Officiorum ac Munerum, Jan. 25, 1897, art. 1., „Of the Prohibition of Books,” chaps. 2,3, trans. in the Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIII (New York: Benziger, 1903):

[p. 412]

CHAPTER II.
Of Editions of the Original Text of Holy Scripture and of Versions not in the Vernacular.

5. Editions of the original text and of the ancient Catholic versions of Holy Scripture, as well as those of the Eastern Church, if published by non-Catholics, even though apparently edited in a faithful and complete manner, are allowed only to those engaged in theological and biblical studies, provided also that the dogmas of Catholic faith are not impugned in the prolegomena or annotations.

6. In the same manner, and under the same conditions, other versions of the Holy Bible, whether in Latin or in any other dead language, published by non-Catholics, are permitted.

CHAPTER III.
Of Vernacular Versions of Holy Scripture.

7. As it has been clearly shown by experience that, if the Holy Bible in the vernacular is generally permitted without any distinction, more harm that utility is thereby [p. 413] caused, owing to human temerity: all versions in the vernacular, even by Catholics, are altogether prohibited, unless approved by the Holy See, or published, under the vigilant care of the bishops, with annotations taken from the Fathers of the Church and learned Catholic writers.

8. All versions of the Holy Bible, in any vernacular language, made by non-Catholics are prohibited; and especially those published by the Bible societies, which have been more that once condemned by the Roman Pontiffs, because in them the wise laws of the Church concerning the publication of the sacred books are entirely disregarded.
Nevertheless, these versions are permitted to students of theological or biblical science, under the conditions laid down above (No. 5)


ITEM #15   OUR SUNDAY VISITOR ON BANNING VERNACULAR BIBLES

   Is it not an historical fact that the church forbade the reading of the Bible in the vernacular?

It is and it is not. The Church never issued a general prohibition that made the reading of the Bible in the vernacular unlawful; but at various time she laid down certain conditions regarding the matter, which had to be observed by the faithful, so that they might not wrest the Scriptures to their own destruction. It was not until the Albigenses, the Wyclifites, and later on the Protestants, issued editions of the Bible that bristled with mistranslations, and the most arbitrary changes of the original text, that the Church made stringent regulations in regard to the reading of the Scriptures. These regulations did not make Bible reading unlawful, but required that only approved editions, well supplied with explanatory notes taken from the writings of the Early Fathers, should be used. In this matter, as in so many others, Protestants failed to distinguish between the actions of the Church and the actions of the Provincial Synods. It is indeed true that the Synod of Toulouse, in 1229, the Synod of Tarragona, 1233, and the Synod of Oxford, in 1408, issued formal prohibitions against the reading of the Bible by the laity, but these prohibitions had only a local application, and were revoked as soon as the danger that threatened the faith in these localities had passed. The Church’s legislation in the matter of Bible reading was never prohibitive, but only tended to the enactment of such restrictions as the common good evidently required.

Source:  Our Sunday Visitor, July 5th, 1914, of Huntington Indiana, page 3, Bureau of Information.


ITEM #16   THE 1918 CODE OF CANON LAW ON CENSORSHIP AND PROHIBITING BOOKS

The previous Code of Canon Law, quoted here, went into effect in 1918, and was superceded in 1983:
(boldface numbers are paragraph numbers, the Canon numbers are in parenthesis)

TITLE XXIII.
Censorship and Prohibition of Books.

1227.     The Church has the right to rule that Catholics shall not publish any books unless they have first been subjected to the approval of the Church, and to forbid for a good reason the faithful to read certain books, no matter by whom they are published.
The rules of this title concerning books are to be applied also to daily papers, periodicals, and any other publication, unless the contrary is clear from the Canons. (Canon 1384).

CHAPTER I.
Censorship of Books.

1128.     Without previous ecclesiastical approval even laymen are not allowed to publish:
1. the books of Holy Scripture, or annotations and commentaries of the same;
2. books treating of Sacred Scripture, theology, Church history, Canon Law, natural theology, ethics, and other sciences concerning religion and morals. Furthermore, prayer books, pamphlets and books of devotion, of religious teaching, either moral, ascetic, or mystic, and any writing in general in which there is anything that has a special bearing on religion or morality;
3. sacred images reproduced in any manner, either with or without prayers.
The permission to publish books and images spoken of in this Canon may be given either by the proper Ordinary of the author, or by the Ordinary of the place where they are published, or by the Ordinary of the place where they are printed; if, however, any one of the Ordinaries who has a right to give approval refuses it, the author cannot ask of another unless he informs him of the refusal of the Ordinary first requested.
The religious must, moreover, first obtain permission from their major superior. (Canon 1385.)

1234.     Translations of the Holy Scriptures in the vernacular languages may not be published unless they are either approved by the Holy See, or they are published, under the the supervision of the bishop, with annotations chiefly taken from the holy Fathers of the Church and learned Catholic writers. (Canon 1391.)

1241.     The prohibition of books has this effect that the forbidden books may not without permission be published, read, retained, sold, nor translated into another language, nor made known to others in any way.
The book which has in any way been forbidden may not again be published except after the demanded corrections have been made and the authority which forbade the book, or his superior, or successor, has given permission. (Canon 1398.)

1242.     By the very law are forbidden:
1. editions of the original text, or of ancient Catholic versions, of the Sacred Scriptures, also of the Oriental Church, published by non-Catholics; likewise any translation in any language made or published by them;
2. books of any writers defending heresy or schism, or tending in any way to undermine the foundations of religion;
3. books which purposely fight against religion and good morals;
4. books of any non-Catholic treating professedly of religion unless it is certain that nothing is contained therein against the Catholic faith;
5. books on the holy Scriptures or on religious subjects which have been published without the permission required by Canons 1385, § 1, nn. 1, and 1391; books and leaflets which bring an account of new apparitions, revelations, visions, prophecies, miracles, or introduce new devotions even though under the pretext that they are private; if these books, etc., are published against the rules of the Canons;
6. books which attack or ridicule any of the Catholic dogmas, books which defend errors condemned by the Holy See, or which disparage Divine worship, or tend to undermine ecclesiastical discipline, or which purposely insult the ecclesiastical hierarchy, or the clerical and religious states; … (Canon 1399.)

Source: THE NEW CANON LAW, A commentary and Summary of the New Code of Canon Law, by Rev. Stanislaus Woywod, O.F.M., Published and Copyright, 1918, by Joseph F. Wagner, New York, pages 282-289.


ITEM #17   INDEX OF PROHIBITED BOOKS OF 1930

From Cardinal Merry de Val, „Forward,” in the Index of Prohibited Books, revised and published by order of His Holiness Pope Pius XI (new ed.; [Vatican City]: Vatican Polyglot Press, 1930), pp. ix-xi:

[p. ix] What many, indeed fail to appreciate, and what, moreover non-Catholics consider a grave abuse — as they put it of the Roman Curia, is the action of the Church in hindering the printing and circulation of Holy Writ in the vernacular. Fundamentally however, this ac- [p. x] cusation is based on calumny. During the first twelve centuries Christians were highly familiar with the text of Holy Scripture, as is evident from the homilies of the Fathers and the sermons of the mediaeval preachers; nor did the ecclesiastical authorities ever intervene to prevent this. It was only in consequence of heretical abuses, introduced particularly by the Waldenses, the Albigenses, the followers of Wyclif, and by Protestants broadly speaking (who with sacrilegious mutilations of Scripture and arbitrary interpretations vainly sought to justify themselves in the eyes of the people; twisting the text of the Bible to support erroneous doctrines condemned by the whole history of the Church) that the Pontiffs and the Councils were obliged on more than one occasion to control and sometimes even forbid the use of the Bible in the vernacular…
[p. xi] Those who would put the Scriptures indiscriminately into the hands of the people are the believers always in private interpretation — a fallacy both absurd in itself and pregnant with disastrous consequences. These counterfeit champions of the inspired book hold the Bible to be the sole source of Divine Revelation and cover with abuse and trite sarcasm the Catholic and Roman Church.


ITEM #18    CURRENT CODE OF CANON LAW ON VERNACULAR  BIBLES

The current Code of Canon Law, which went into effect in 1983, reads as follows:

Can. 825 § 1. Books of the Sacred Scriptures cannot be published unless they have been approved either by the Apostolic See or by the conference of bishops; for their vernacular translations to be published it is required that they likewise be approved by the same authority and also annotated with necessary and sufficient explanations.

§ 2. With the permission of the conference of bishops Catholic members of the Christian faithful can collaborate with separated brothers and sisters in preparing and publishing translations of the Sacred Scriptures annotated with appropriate explanations.

Source: Code of Canon Law, Latin-English Edition, copyright 1983 by Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Vatican City, published by the Canon Law Society of America, Washington DC 20064, ISBN: 0-943616-19-0, page 309.


This is by no means a complete list, but it is what I have for the moment. Far from championing the spread of the Bible, and the translation into the vernacular, the Catholic Church has a history of repression and censorship in this regard. It was really the combination of the reformation and the advent of the printing press that „let the cat out of the bag.” It seems that Bibles could be printed faster than they (and their authors or owners) could be burned. Since Catholicism could no longer contain the Bible and keep it out of the hands of the laity, the issue has become one of authority to interpret.

For those Catholics who continue to maintain that the Roman Catholic Church was justified in seizing and burning „faulty” vernacular Bibles, and that grave errors in translation were the primary reason for destroying them, I offer the following challenge:

Tyndale’s Bible has recently been republished by David Daniell and Yale University Press and can still be found at some bookstores. Tyndale’s New Testament is 0-300-04419-4 for the hardback and 0-300-06580-9 for the paperback. Tyndale’s Old Testament in hardback is ISBN 0-300-05211-1. Mr. Daniell has updated the spelling but remained faithful to the original text.

The Geneva Bible’s 1602 New Testament has also been reprinted in facsimile by Pilgrim Classic Commentaries in 1989 from an original in the Cambridge University Library. The ISBN is 0-8298-0789-6 for the hardback and ISBN 0-8298-0785-3 for the paperback.

The 1611 Authorized Version (King James) Bible has also been reprinted word-for-word with original spelling by Thomas Nelson Publishers in 1993.

In addition, to my knowledge, the Roman Catholic Church was unsuccessful in completely destroying all copies of any „heretical” reformation era vernacular translations of the Bible. Despite their diligence, there are surviving copies existing today that can be studied. I therefore challenge Catholics to produce Catholic documents from the reformation period that cite and explain in detail the grave „errors” in vernacular Protestant Bibles, that warranted not only their destruction, but also frequently the death of the author, as well as those found in possession of said Bibles. It would seem that any charge of grave translation „errors” can still be verified by almost anyone today from either original editions or facsimile reprints. So mere claims of faulty vernacular Bibles proves absolutely nothing without providing citations of the exact verse and Bible edition where the alleged error occurs.

I maintain that the objections of the Catholic church to the various attempts to produce a Bible in the vernacular, were not that of faulty translations (although that claim was made), but rather that of „unauthorized heretical” interpretations that resulted from widespread publication and the laity finally being able to read the entire Bible for themselves in their own tongue, as noted in the various items above. The laity was then able to discern the truth for themselves, and the biblical truth was often at odds with Catholic teaching. Dissent flourished with the availability of the Bible, and so persecution of these heretics increased as well, in an attempt by the church to maintain control and assert her presumed authority. It is a sad chapter in history that is quite well documented.

‪Battle For The Bible- The English Bible : John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, Thomas Cranmer (Docummentary)‬‏

An illustrated Tyndale New Testament

Battle of the Bible tells the compelling story behind the world’s most famous book. The Biblical texts, translated into obscure Latin, were staunchly guarded, making common interpretation impossible and ensuring the authority of the Church. Through the stories of the brave reformers who paid the ultimate price to bring the … Bible to the people, Battle for the Bible reveals how a seed planted on English ground inspired a progressive way of thinking that crossed an ocean.

William Tyndale died a martyr, burned at the stake alive, with never having heard the Bible he translated into English, read in his native tongue on English soil.

(From KPBS)

Videourile Vodpod nu mai sunt disponibile.

‪Battle For The Bible- The English Bible Wyclif…
Follow my videos on vodpod

William Tyndale Biography (c 1492-1536) Photos of Tyndale Bibles

Portrait of William Tyndale

The Life of William Tyndale (c.1492-1536)

WILLIAM TYNDALE, translator of the New Testament and Pentateuch, was born on the Welsh border, probably in Gloucestershire, some time between 1490 and 1495. In Easter term 1510 he went to Oxford, where Foxe says he was entered of Magdalen Hall. He took his M.A. degree in 1515 and removed to Cambridge, where Erasmus had helped to establish a reputation for Greek and theology.

Ordained to the priesthood, probably towards the close of 1521, he entered the household of Sir John Walsh, Old Sodbury, Gloucestershire, as chaplain and domestic tutor. Here he lived for two years, using his leisure in preaching in the villages and at Bristol, conduct which brought him into collision with the backward clergy of the district, and led to his being summoned before the chancellor of Worcester (William of Malvern) as a suspected heretic; but he was allowed to depart without receiving censure or giving any undertaking. But the persecution of the clergy led him to seek an antidote for what he regarded as the corruption of the Church, and he resolved to translate the New Testament into the vernacular. In this he hoped to get help from Cuthbert Tunstall, bishop of London, and so „with the good will of his master” he left Gloucester in the summer of 1523. Tunstall disappointed him, so he got employment as a preacher at St Dunstan’s-in-the-West, and worked at his translation, living as chaplain in the house of Humphrey Monmouth, an alderman, and forming a firm friendship with John Frith; but finding publication impossible in England, he sailed for Hamburg in May 1524.

After visiting Luther at Wittenberg, he settled with his amanuensis William Roy in Cologne, where he had made some progress in printing a 4to edition of his New Testament, when the work was discovered by John Cochlaeus, dean at Frankfurt, who not only got the senate of Cologne to interdict further printing, but warned Henry VIII and Wolsey to watch the English ports. Tyndale and Roy escaped with their sheets to Worms, where the 8vo edition was completed in 1526. Copies were smuggled into England but were suppressed by the bishops, and William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, even bought up copies on the Continent to destroy them. Attempts were made to seize Tyndale at Worms, but he found refuge at Marburg with Philip, landgrave of Hesse. There he probably met Patrick Hamilton, and was joined by John Frith.

About this time he changed his views on the Eucharist and swung clean over from transubstantiation to the advanced Zwinglian position. His Parable of the Wicked Mammon (1528), Obedience of a Christen Man (1528), in which the two great principles of the English Reformation are set out, viz. the authority of Scripture in the Church and the supremacy of the king in the state, and Practyse of Prelates (1530), a strong indictment of the Roman Church and also of Henry VIII’s divorce proceedings, were all printed at Marburg. In 1529 on his way to Hamburg he was wrecked on the Dutch coast, and lost his newly completed translation of Deuteronomy. Later in the year he went to Antwerp where he conducted his share of the classic controversy with Sir Thomas More.

After Henry VIII’s change of attitude towards Rome, Stephen Vaughan, the English envoy to the Netherlands, suggested Tyndale’s return, but the reformer feared ecclesiastical hostility and declined. Henry then demanded his surrender from the emperor as one who was spreading sedition in England, and Tyndale left Antwerp for two years, returning in 1533 and busying himself with revising his translations. In May 1535 he was betrayed by Henry Phillips, to whom he had shown much kindness as a professing student of the new faith. The imperial officers imprisoned him at Vilvorde Castle, the state prison, 6 mi. from Brussels, where in spite of the great efforts of the English merchants and the appeal of Thomas Cromwell to Archbishop Carandolet, president of the council, and to the governor of the castle, he was tried for heresy and condemned. On the 6th of August 1536 he was strangled at the stake and his body afterwards burnt.


The Burning of William Tyndale, from Foxe‘s Book of Martyrs

Though long an exile from his native land, Tyndale was one of the greatest forces of the English Reformation. His writings show sound scholarship and high literary power, while they helped to shape the thought of the Puritan party in England. His translation of the Bible was so sure and happy that it formed the basis of subsequent renderings, especially that of the authorized version of 1611. Besides the New Testament, the Pentateuch and Jonah, it is believed that he finished in prison the section of the Old Testament extending from Joshua to Chronicles. Beside the works already named Tyndale wrote A Prologue on the Epistle to the Romans (1526), An Exposition of the 1st Epistle of John (1531), An Exposition of Matthew v.-vii. (1532), a Treatise on the Sacraments (1533), and possibly another (no longer extant) on matrimony (1529).



Excerpted from:
Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th Ed., vol. XXVII.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1910. 499.


What is the Tyndale Bible?

William Tyndale holds the distinction of being the first man to ever print the New Testament in the English language. Tyndale also went on to first translate much of the Old Testament from the original Hebrew into English, but he was executed in 1536 for the „crime” of printing the scriptures in English before he could personally complete the printing of an entire Bible. His friends Myles Coverdale, and John „Thomas Matthew” Rogers, managed to evade arrest and publish entire Bibles in the English language for the first time, and within one year of Tyndale’s death. These Bibles were primarily the work of William Tyndale.

The History of William Tyndale and his Bibles

William Tyndale was the Captain of the Army of Reformers, and was their spiritual leader. Tyndale holds the distinction of being the first man to ever print the New Testament in the English language. Tyndale was a true scholar and a genius, so fluent in eight languages that it was said one would think any one of them to be his native tongue. He is frequently referred to as the „Architect of the English Language”, (even more so than William Shakespeare) as so many of the phrases Tyndale coined are still in our language today.

King Henry VIIIKing Henry VIII

Tyndale was a theologian and scholar who translated the Bible into an early form of Modern English. He was the first person to take advantage of Gutenberg’s movable-type press for the purpose of printing the scriptures in the English language. Besides translating the Bible, Tyndale also held and published views which were considered heretical, first by the Catholic Church, and later by the Church of England which was established by King Henry VIII. His Bible translation also included notes and commentary promoting these views. Tyndale’s translation was banned by the authorities, and Tyndale himself was burned at the stake in 1536, at the instigation of agents of Henry VIII and the Anglican Church.

Queen Mary 

An Illustrated Tyndale New Testament

A clergyman hopelessly entrenched in Roman Catholic dogma once taunted William Tyndale with the statement, „We are better to be without God’s laws than the Pope’s”. Tyndale was infuriated by such Roman Catholic heresies, and he replied, „I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life ere many years, I will cause the boy that drives the plow to know more of the scriptures than you!”

Tyndale was the first person to print an English language New Testament, doing so in 1525-1526. Only one complete copy of this first edition is known to exist, and the British Museum paid $2 million for it in 1948! Tyndale’s illustrated New Testaments of the 1530’s were even more spectacularly beautiful, and they went through several editions and printings. One year after Tyndale’s execution in October of 1536, Tyndale’s friend John Rogers, operating under the assumed name „Thomas Matthew”, produced the 1537 „Matthew-Tyndale Bible”. This was the very first printing of a complete English language Bible to be translated directly from the original language of Greek and Hebrew. It was reprinted once again in a more practical size in 1549. Originals (both whole books and individual leaves) and facsimile reproductions of these works are available today.

The impact of the printing press on the Reformation, the history of the Bible and the emergence of the Puritans by Gavin Finley

Our journey of discovery to seek the roots of the Puritans begins at a time when the Holy Scriptures were coming to the common man in Europe. After a thousand years of medieval darkness the Word of God was returning. In Germany during the mid 1400’s Johannes Gutenberg had invented a printing press with movable type. This greatly increased the speed of printing books. These were difficult and dark days for Europe. The second Jihad had begun and the Turks were attacking Christendom in the east. High taxes, famine, and peasant uprisings brought their misery. But in this same time frame there was something wonderful happening as well. The Bible was being translated and distributed in large numbers. And with that the lights were going on all over Europe.

With the Bible being translated in the European languages good copies of the Holy Scriptures were soon beginning to come off the presses in Germany. Not only that, they were being printed rapidly in significant numbers and at prices people could afford. This was one of the keys to the dramatic changes seen back in the 1500’s. It has been said that Gutenberg’s printing press made the Reformation possible.

Along with the courageous stand by Martin Luther it was the Bible translators at their wonderful work who lit the candles and brought the Light of God’s Word into the medieval darkness. The translators unlocked the Bible from the Latin, the dead language of ancient Rome. The new printing presses, marvels of German engineering at the time, were sitting there waiting for the Bible translators to bring in their manuscripts. And so out came the Bibles into the hands of the European people. The illumination of the Word of God changed the hearts and minds and the motivations of the people who heard. This was a marvellous turn of events. The impact of the Bible on Western Civilization along with the good and the evil historical responses to its coming cannot be overestimated.

John Wycliffe, the ‘morning star of the Reformation’ had begun this work with a translation of the Bible into English in the 1300’s. In the 1500’s Martin Luther translated the scriptures into the German language. Luther himself was transformed in the process. The scriptures opened his eyes to what was going on around him. He was appalled to see the obvious disparities between what he saw in the Bible and what was being practiced by the Church of Rome. The selling of indulgences by the church, supposedly securing the release of loved ones from Purgatory, was the last straw for Luther. Protesting this outrage, and numerous other grievances he nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenburg Cathedral. This sparked off a religious conflagration with the Roman Church in Germany. With Duke Ferdinand of Saxony and other German princes coming to his aid Luther avoided being taken into custody by the Roman church where he most certainly would have been burned as a heretic. Indeed, during the previous century in 1415 this had happened to a faithful priest in Bohemia, John Hus. Luther’s stand at the German city of Worms was historic. It was a defining moment for the church. And it led western Christendom into the Reformation.

Also in the 1500’s Englishmen Miles Coverdale and William Tyndale were translating the Bible into English. Tyndale was in exile in Europe. He lived a life of constant danger, translating the scriptures and living as a wanted man. His evangelical friends from Cambridge, John Frith and William Tewksbury, were both captured and burned at the stake. For years Tyndale was hunted down by agents of Henry VIII and the Bishop of London. Since Gutenburg’s printing presses were now proliferating in a big way it was Germany that was at that time the place to go for good printing work to be done. The coming of the scriptures to the common man had an enormous impact on European and English history. The Reformation led to the evangelical movement. Unfortunately its politicization led to a great tragedy. The awful 30 Years War wrecked Germany. It was left in such a ruined state that it would not recover for 200 years.

The 1500’s were years of great change. The peasants revolted throughout central Europe during a conflict that would come to known as the Peasant Wars. During this period of internal strife the Turks took advantage of the situation. They attacked European Christendom from the east. The Muslim forces advanced to the point where for a while they were actually closing in on Vienna. It was an awful time to be alive in Europe. It was a time of unprecedented religious, political and social upheaval.

Out of all this turmoil came the Anabaptists. These were the ultimate Christian radicals. The war in central Europe had gone on for a whole generation. Successive Catholic and Protestant armies had pillaged the countryside taking the lives of young and old. Germany and the Swiss valleys were left in in a shambles. Many were now migrating out of central Europe to take refuge in Holland which was to take a dominant role in European history in the following century. During the 1600’s Dutch sea power and peaceful trade had made this a place of refuge for many evangelicals. During the Reformation wars in central Europe many had seen enough of Christian savagery and barbarism to last several lifetimes. For many separatist evangelical Christians it got to the point where they didn’t care which army won. From the scriptures they had come to believe that Christianity was a matter of personal faith, not national or church sponsored citizenship. Nor was it about which church or cathedral you belonged to. It was all about a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ and a personal faith walked out with Him daily. Accordingly, while they paid their taxes to the governing powers the Anabaptists resolved to take no oaths of allegiance with the political or ecclesiastical princes, whoever they might be. Nor would they take up arms with or against any army coming into their valleys, whether they were Protestant or Catholic. These are the main articles of the „Schleitheim Confession”. This document was penned by one of the leading lights of the Anabaptist movement, Michael Sattler at the gathering at Schleitheim, in the mountains of Switzerland in February of 1527.

For their stand in the peace of Jesus Christ they were bitterly persecuted from both sides. Millions of Anabaptists died at the hands of Catholic and Protestant powers alike. They continued to die for over 200 years. This story has not been told. It has been cut out of the history books. From these determined Christian separatists came the peace loving Amish and Mennonites along with the Brethren and some primitive Baptists of the free church tradition. They remember this history. We don’t.

Let us make no mistake about this. These saints who had rejected the sword were still full of Christian zeal. But they had given up on a church that had corrupted itself by going to bed with the state. They would prefer to go to their secret Christian meetings, even if they were under the constant threat of being arrested. If an Anabaptist met another on the pathway they would challenge him with the scripture,
„You cannot serve two masters”.
If the other man was an Anabaptist he would smile and reply,
„You cannot serve God and mammon”.

The pathway they were now going on was a ‘highway of holiness’. ~ Isa.35:8-10. The Anabaptists resolved to keep their little church pure in devotion to Christ. They were weary of seeing the hideous mixture of the cross and the sword played out before their eyes year after weary year. The sword had been stained with Christian blood. To their mind it had become a despised and shameful thing. It no longer had the sacred power of chivalry it once held over them. They had seen its dark side. It had come to the point where they were going to turn their back on politics and make the peaceful preaching of the Gospel their prime concern come what may. At this time the first missionary outreaches were organized. The Mennonites, the Baptists, the Brethren and many other Christian groups began to send out missionaries beyond European shores. A new era in Christian missions had begun.

THE EMERGENCE OF THE ENGLISH PURITANS IN THE 1500’s.

This is where we pick up our story of the Puritans. The coming of the English Bible was giving rise to desires for full Reformation of the Church of England. There was even talk of ‘purifying’ the Church of England. It was during the latter part of the 1500’s that men like Thomas Cartwright began to argue for a purified English Christianity. They wanted to see a Church of England free of the medieval trappings and vestments of the Roman Church from which it had come. These reformist evangelicals came to be called ‘Puritans’.

These were dangerous times to express such views. During the reign of „Bloody Mary”, and throughout the 1500’s many separatist evangelicals were burned at the stake. But these persecutions, as usual, only spread the fires of devotion both inside the Church of England and outside the national church in the secret house meetings of the persecuted ‘Non-Comformists’.

In 1603 Protestant King James I came to the throne. By this time the Puritans were poised to move their agenda forward. These were turbulent times. Political extremists were abroad along with religious separatists. To the King and his bishops these people were all the same. As they saw it all these unregulated people were equally dangerous. Whether they be political dissidents or religious dissidents they all disturbed the peace with their tiresome petitions for reform. They interrupted the quiet life of the people which the leaders had worked so hard to maintain. In 1605, a Catholic zealot named Guy Fawkes tried to blow up Parliament. He and his anarchist friends wanted to kill the king and as many Puritan parliamentarians as possible. The plot was discovered and Guy Fawkes was executed.

1611 was a banner year for evangelicals in England. The King James Bible went out to the people. With the more ready access to the scriptures the Puritans continued to gain in numbers. King James was forced to put more restrictions on these movers and shakers. This in turn caused them to to push even harder for reform in the Church of England.

Evangelicals in England during those times had two choices. They could separate from the Church of England and became Non-Conformists or Pilgrim style Separatists. Or they could join the Puritans and stay in the system hoping to reform it from within. Both streams of evangelical Christianity were persecuted but the separatists had it far worse. King James had commissioned the printing of the Holy Scriptures which sets men free. But under his reign religious freedom was still not realized. Englishmen were still forbidden to worship outside the Church of England. Many Bible believing Christians, under persecution by the king’s bishops, were forced to flee the country. A Puritan community from the town of Scrooby left for Holland in 1608.

During this time the expanding Dutch sea trade to India had made Holland extremely wealthy. The infusion of new and vital people from the Reformation Wars in central Europe had enriched Holland in many ways. It was the place to be for people like godless rationalists and Godly evangelicals, both groups considering themselves enlightened. In the 1600’s Holland was the trade center of Europe. It was also the place where new ideas, the Renaissance arts, (which had originated in Italy), and ideas could be expressed in peace without church or governmental interference. This was good for evangelical Christians. It was also good for humanists, rationalists and freethinkers like Erasmus. Dutch trade and sea power had made the Netherlands the dominant power in Europe during that time. Here people of faith could gather and worship without fear of persecution. Here too they could educate their children into a biblical world view with their own Christian schools. But for the Pilgrims and Puritans from Scrooby, (and others), Holland was a temporary haven. But it was not their destiny. The Puritan fellowship from Scrooby would only stay there in Holland 12 years. Then they would set forth towards the next stop on their epic journey. The Pilgrims and Puritans were bound for the New World. During the fall of 1620 they set sail aboard the Mayflower.

Meanwhile, back in England, the Puritans fumed and fretted and chafed under the constraints under which their new biblical faith was forced to operate. The difficult Pilgrim path of living as „non conformists” and walking a separated life to Christ was open to them of course. But the Puritans were committed to the continuation of a church-state union. So they remained within the Church of England trying to move the huge medieval colossus with all its „Romish” trappings forward inch by inch into biblical Christianity. Being people who believed in ‘the system’ the Puritans were determined to change the national church from within. But they were having a very very frustrating time. Since they were forbidden to worship outside the Church of England they were stuck. The church that they believed in just didn’t seem to be going anywhere.

The Church of England did provide wonderful opportunity for English Christians since it cut them off from Roman Catholicism. But its birth was not a spiritual birth so much as a political one. Henry VIII had broken the English church free of its moorings with the Church of Rome. Now the scriptures were shining a lamp onto the pathway ahead. Many Englishmen were coming into a personal faith in Christ. The Puritans were keen to move on out of the medieval darkness. Yet the bishops, under the kings thumb, were holding back the very church reforms that these new Bible reading Christians considered necessary.

All this was making things very difficult for the emerging Puritans. They did not want to take the road of ‘separation of church and state’ as the Pilgrim separatists were doing. They were not going to worship secretly. Nor did they want to gather in little fellowships. They were Englishmen! And they would worship God as Englishmen. If the system was not with them then their future course was clear. They would change the system! If the king wanted them in a single national church that was fine. But by God’s help they were bound and determined to move the Church of England forward into an enlightened Biblical Christianity.

The proliferation of Bibles in the 1500’s made these times of great religious discovery. The Puritan corporate conscience began to burn within them. They prayed and they agonized a s they sought to bring political and social substance to their dreams of a ‘nation under God’. They knew what could and should be done. And by God’s help they were going to make it happen!

In the early 1600’s this Puritan zeal was building up enormous political pressure within English society. The history that followed was quite predictable.

Blogosfera Evanghelică

Vizite unicate din Martie 6,2011

free counters

Va multumim ca ne-ati vizitat azi!


România – LIVE webcams de la orase mari