William Tyndale (c. 1494 – 1536) was a 16th-century Protestant reformer and scholar who was influenced by the work of Erasmus and Martin Luther. Like Luther, Tyndale was convinced that the way to God was through His Word and that Scripture should be available even to common people. Facing the same opposition from the Catholic Church as Luther, Tyndale declared, “I defy the Pope, and all his laws; and if God spares my life, I will cause the boy that drives the plow to know more of the Scriptures than the Pope himself!” Tyndale’s translations were condemned by both the Catholic Church and the king of England. Following the publication of Tyndale’s New Testament, Catholic Cardinal Wolsey condemned Tyndale as a heretic and Tyndale was first mentioned in open court as a heretic in January 1529. After years of working on his translation in exile, he was finally apprehended and tried on a charge of heresy in 1536 and condemned to death. He was strangled to death while tied at the stake, and then his dead body was burned. The martyr’s last words, spoken in a loud and fervent voice, were “Lord! Open the king of England’s eyes.”
Tyndale’s Bible is credited with being the first English translation to come directly from Hebrew and Greek texts and the first English biblical translation that was mass-produced as a result of new advances in the art of printing. In 1522, Tyndale illegally acquired a copy of Martin Luther’s New Testament in German. Imitating Luther’s work, but in English, the first recorded complete edition of his New Testament was published in 1526, with revisions following in 1534 and 1536. Since Tyndale’s death in 1536, his work has been revised and reprinted numerous times.
Tyndale Bible – Translation method
Tyndale used a number of sources when carrying out his translations of both the New and Old Testaments. When translating the New Testament, Tyndale used Erasmus’s Greek and Latin New Testament, as well as Luther’s German version and the Vulgate. The sources Tyndale used for his translation of the Pentateuch, however, are not known for sure.
John 3:16 – “For God so loveth the worlde yt he hath geven his only sonne that none that beleve in him shuld perisshe: but shuld have everlastinge lyfe.”
John 8:58 – “Iesus sayd vnto them: Verely verely I saye vnto you: yer Abraham was I am.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace are ye made safe thorowe fayth and that not of youre selves. For it is the gyfte of God and commeth not of workes lest eny man shuld bost him silfe.”
Titus 2:13 – “lokinge for that blessed hope and glorious apperenge of ye myghty god and of oure savioure Iesu Christ”