Monthly Archives: January 2011

  • History of the English Bible, part 4

    Before he came under the influence of the teaching of the reformers, Miles Coverdale had been an Augustinian friar (1506) and a priest (1514). After he came under the influence of the teachings of the reformers he became an exile (1528). After six years on the run working with Tyndale and doing other proofreading jobs, King Henry’s mood had changed and Coverdale was able to return. Upon his return he was involved in the making of the first complete Bible ever to be printed in English. As is often the case, this Bible came about because of a confluence of men in the right place at the right time. Most notable were the political clout of Thomas Cromwell and the religious clout of  Thomas Cranmer. One was head of the state and the other of the church, respectively; and both … Read More »

  • History of the English Bible, part 3

    “Between the death of Wycliffe and the advent of Luther the world had changed” says Benson Bobrick (Wide as the Waters: The Story of the English Bible and the Revolution It Inspired, 81). Indeed it had. For starters there was that great period of intense learning known as the Renaissance. But perhaps even greater than the Renaissance and an event that rivaled Al Gore’s invention of the internet was the invention of the printing press (circa 1450). And the most influential of all texts delimitated as a result was the Erasmus’s edition of the Greek New Testament. By God’s providence a man was uniquely situated during these times. His name? William Tyndale. These three cultural changes coupled with one man in the hand of God would propel the Bible in English forward and lay the foundation of the Reformation. Tyndale … Read More »

  • The History of the English Bible, part 2

    There had been bits and pieces translated into English and favorite passages from here and there, but the first full translation of the whole English Bible is associated with John Wycliffe and bears his name, The Wycliffe Bible. During Wycliffe’s day (1330-1384) knowledge of the Bible was dismal. If you think ours is a day of Biblical illiteracy you should have seen his. Even Bible reading among paid clergy was rare. It was deemed sufficient for the priests to know the 10 commandments, the Pasternoster (Our Father), the Creed and Ave (Hail Mary), ironically most of which is itself unbiblical. And if Bible reading was rare among the clergy, it was nonexistent among the laity who were fed a steady diet of clichés and jingles and more consumed with the cult of the saints. Enter Wycliffe.

    While doubtful that Wycliffe … Read More »