Saturday, 11 August 2007

Discovering Our Christian Heritage -1

William Tyndale

The Great Bible Translator, William Tyndale is commemorated by this bronze statue formed by Sir Joseph Boehm the great Victorian sculptor. It stands in the Victoria Embankment Gardens near to the River Thames. The statue was unveiled in 1884 in celebration of the 80th anniversary of the British and Foreign Bible Society's founding and also as coinciding with the 400th anniversary of Tyndale's birth in 1484.

It is remarkable that a man so greatly used by God should be recognised in this way. Tyndale spent much of his adult life translating the Bible into English at great personal cost and suffering. His burning ambition was to ensure that "Boy who pulled the plough" would have the scriptures in his own language. Persecuted by the Roman Church for this endeavour, he fled to the continent where he continued his work. He was finally betrayed, strangled and burnt at the stake in Belgium for his great "sin" of translating the Bible. Much of his work formed the basis for the King James Version of the Bible. Many of the phrases he translated are found in English Literature and in common speech even today (the salt of the earth; the way of all flesh and scapegoat, for example).