Question posed by Interviewer:
“If you were to teach just three things about the Bible in English link on the Chain of Christianity what would they be? What is the “big idea” we should be teaching our children in this link?”
Answer by Ruth J. Smith, Pilgrim Institute:
To narrow the teaching of the Bible in English link to three main ideas is difficult, but I would propose the following:
1. The Price that was Paid
“Many Americans have little understanding of the price that was paid for us to have the Bible in our hands. It is important for the students to treasure the Bible as the Word of God and to recognize the price that men paid to give us the Bible in English.”1
The history of the Bible in English begins with the earliest light of John Wycliffe’s translation from the Latin. The Roman church of that day did not approve the people having the Scriptures in their hand, but Wycliffe labored for the people of England to have the Word of God in their language. Though his life was threatened, God preserved Wycliffe and his assistants to produce the written word. But first the people had to learn to read. Even without the printing press, the knowledge of the Word spread throughout England. “Historians tell us that if you met two people on the road in England, at least one would have followed the teachings of Wycliffe.”2
“William Tyndale had studied the Word of God. He knew it was very important for each person to read the Bible for himself. He did not think the church leaders should be the only ones who could have a Bible. He declared, ‘If God preserves my life, I will cause a boy that driveth a plow to know more of the Scriptures than the pope.”3 Tyndale dedicated his life to translating the Scriptures, not from the Latin, but from the original languages. For this labor, he paid the ultimate sacrifice, as he was imprisoned and martyred. God, in His wisdom, opened the door for Tyndale’s translation in England. “Within one year, Tyndale’s translation of the Bible was brought to the King. The King said the Bible could be sold in England.”4
Persecution of Bible scholars and teachers under the bloody rule of Queen Mary brought together the men who would produce the Geneva Bible – the Bible of the Pilgrims. Though Queen Mary’s purpose was evil, God meant it for good.
The story goes on with the great price that was paid for the Bible to be in English for all the people. Do we as individuals and families know this story and do we treasure it?
Stay tuned for Part Two of the Interview…..
Please visit the Pilgrim Institute website and Online Store for resources to deepen your understanding and appreciation of America’s Christian History.
We recommend the Online Course, Rudiments of America’s Christian History and Government..Ongoing Learning for Today’s Lifestyle.