William Tyndale — A Life Lived With Passion to Bring the Bible Into English
An Englishman driven by a desire to render the Bible into English, William Tyndale created language so powerful that some say without him, there would have been no Shakespeare. And over eighty percent of the King James Version of the Bible, including the Psalms and The New Testament, was taken from his translation. Its lyrical depths reach us now.
He lived from 1494–1536, a time when kings had divine right. He was accused of heresy, betrayed for money, captured overseas, and sent to prison in Antwerp in 1535. For over a year he was held in the castle of Vilvoorde not far from Brussels. In 1536 he was placed on a scaffold, strangled, and then burned at the stake. Nice times.
He was a scholar, a linguist, a Christian, and a creative man. While in prison, he wrote requests to the authorities. Of particular concern he felt bereft of anything to do in the dungeon cell where he was, and requested material for study. This was denied. The image attached shows a copy of the letter he wrote asking for warm clothes as well as books. The translation can be found at http://www.bible-researcher.com/tyndale3.html
His life was lived with a passion and commitment and influence to such a degree one would think he would be honored for all to see, not imprisoned and abandoned. But then, not all did see.
Yet without Tyndale, the English we have now would be sorely bereft.
Though Shakespeare was born thirty years later, the bard had access to Tyndale’s English version of the Bible, as did all of Christendom, and its rich language and poetic rhythms emerged as a legacy for all time.