Friday, December 30, 2011

TYNDALE: The Man Who Gave God An English Voice by David Teems: Book Review

Meet William Tyndale, a contemporary of Martin Luther, and Thomas Moore.  David Teems presents a thorough history of the life and work of William Tyndale and how he was persecuted because he wished to create a Bible in the language of the people of his time and place - the English.  Previous to this time (by two centuries) Wycliff, translated the Bible into English.  Wycliff's English Bible did, indeed, impact the translation work done by Tyndale.  Tyndale's work was, however,  translated from the original Greek language.  The author of this biography of Tyndale, David Teems references only slightly Wycliff's translation in this book.

The Catholic Church did not allow translations they did not endorse or create and persecuted anyone involved in such activity.  They certainly did not want the Bible placed in the hands of people other than clergy.  If you are at all familiar with the period of history dealing with the Reformation, the Renaissance, and the controlling power that the Catholic Church held over all social levels during that period, you already have a grasp of the difficulties facing Tyndale.  However, Tyndale desired to see the Scriptures in his own language for his own people.  Therefore, he endured hardship,  banishment, peril, and censorship all causing him to move from his homeland.  Eventually his choice to bring God's Word to the English in their own language cost him his life.

"Lord! Open the King of England's eyes"
were his last spoken words.

So you ask, just what is Tyndale's legacy?  We don't hear a lot about the Tyndale translation.  It gets about as much mention historically as Wycliff's and other Biblical translation works.  However, the beautiful language in the Bible - the King James Bible - has it's "first appearance, or first mention" in the Tyndale Bible.  These include the beautifully phrased wording given to us by the workmanship and pen of William Tyndale. 

I found David Teem's biography of Tyndale interesting yet difficult to read.  It is not a casual read.  Teems examines Tyndale's work paralleling it with works of more modern writers such as Thomas Wolfe.  I find this inappropriate because we are dealing with vastly differing types of writing and periods in which these literary giants wrote.  Tyndale's "style" and literary genius of expression are or should be directly attributable to the work that he was accomplishing because he was translating directly from the original languages into his own and his work was of a "holy" nature and not that of the secular world.

We in Christendom have much for which to be grateful because of the writings of William Tyndale as well as his beautiful translation of Scripture - Old and New Testaments. 
Behold the lamb of God
I am the way, the truth, and the life
In my father's house are many mansions
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory
Seek, and ye shall find
With God  all things are possible
In him we live, move, and have our being
Be not weary in well doing
Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith
Behold, I stand at the door and knock
Let not your hearts be troubled
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light
Fight the good fight
(These phrases made their first appearance in translations
of the Scriptures by Tyndale. pg. xx Prologue, Tyndale)
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for a review.  I was not required to render a positive review.  Opinions expressed are my own.

NOTE:  There are short bio-histories of William Tyndale online.  The following link substantiates David Teem's disclosure and collaboration that William Tyndale's New Testament was translated from the original Greek and not from the works of Wycliffe and Luther. Bible History-William Tyndale

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