I want to begin a short five-week study this morning on how we came to possess an English Bible. In our study, on want to focus on the two main individuals that God in his providence chose to use to help make an English Bible a reality. Those two men are John Wycliffe and William Tyndale.
I want to explain or try to explain why they thought it necessary that English speaking people have a Bible in their own tongue…in the vernacular. I also want to also try to explain what producing a Bible in the vernacular cost them personally. I don’t want to do that simply to make you like Wycliffe and Tyndale. If you come away from our study solely as hero-worshippers I will have failed my purpose. Both Wycliffe and Tyndale are worthy of your admiration. I think that is especially true of Tyndale.
In my own mind, Tyndale has moved up a notch from a place of profound respect to a place of deep, heartfelt affection. I view him now in almost every way as a co-equal with Luther and Calvin. Those of you that know how much I love Luther and Calvin know that I can hardly offer higher praise. Still, if the only thing that happens as a result of our time together is that you come to love Wycliffe and Tyndale…I will have failed my purpose. I don’t want you to simply love Wycliffe and Tyndale. I want you to love your English Bible.