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William Tyndale, a scholar from England who lived from 1494–1536, loved God’s Word. He understood that we need to build our thinking on it as the bedrock base for our lives. During his lifetime, it was illegal to read the Bible in English without a bishop’s license. If you were caught breaking this law, you would be put to death.
But Tyndale wanted everyone to be able to read the Bible in English because he knew how important God’s Word was. So he left his home country of England and started translating the Bible into English from Greek and Hebrew, the languages the Bible was originally written in. Once the New Testament was complete, people started smuggling copies into England. When the authorities found out, they started buying these English Bibles and burning them. But God’s Word can’t be stopped! The money Tyndale got from these men buying his Bibles meant he could print even more Bibles!
A Tyndale Bible, displayed at the Bodleian Library in June 2014.
Eventually the authorities found William Tyndale after he was betrayed by a close friend. They sentenced him to death. But his work lived on in the English Bible and, eventually, it became legal to read, translate, and share the Bible with others.