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William Tyndale

He lost his life in giving England her Bible.

By John Bradshaw

The course of religious history has been profoundly altered by great men like Luther, Calvin, Knox, Huss, and Jerome—men who were willing to put truth even before their own lives. But none gave more to the English Reformation than William Tyndale. Banished from his homeland and relentlessly persecuted, he left the English-speaking world a legacy that even today influences the lives of millions.

In Tyndale’s day, the Scriptures were inaccessible to the common people of England for several reasons. First, the reading of the Bible was against papal law. Second, there was no accessible English translation. Wycliffe had translated the Bible into English in the 1300s from the only source then available—Jerome’s corrupted Latin Vulgate. But papal clergymen had done their best to destroy it, and Wycliffe’s English had become obsolete. While Bibles in German and French were appearing, nothing was yet available in the

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  1. Anderson, Annals of the English Bible (London, 1845), p. 19, quoted in Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, 1911 ed., p. 246.

  2. Ibid.

  3. D’Aubigné, History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century, b. 18, ch. 4, quoted in White, The Great Controversy, p. 246.

  4. D’Aubigné, History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century, b. 18, ch. 8.

  5. James Anthony Froude, History of England, vol. 2, chap. 6, p. 18.

  6. John Foxe, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, p. 119.

  7. See reference 4.

About the author

John Bradshaw was an editorial assistant at Last Generation magazine when he wrote this article. He is now the speaker/director for It Is Written, an international Christian television ministry dedicated to sharing insights from God’s Word with people around the world.