The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew (with small parts in Aramaic), and the New Testament in Greek. The earliest translation of the whole Bible into English was in the 14th century, but by that time, the Latin translation dominated and that English Bible was translated from Latin.
Two views existed regarding translation: The dominant one held that having a Bible the common man could read would just cause problems and confusion. The other was that people needed access to God’s word in a way they could understand.
William Tyndale was born in England about 1494. He went to Oxford University in 1509 where he studied languages. His goal was to study theology but discovered to his surprise that scripture was not in the Oxford syllabus, so he transferred to Cambridge. Determining to create an English New Testament from the Greek text, he found no support in England so he traveled to Germany where the project was completed in 2 years (1526).
Tyndale’s New Testament was not warmly received in England. The English church determined to buy up as many copies as possible and burn them. Tyndale had printed them on a shoestring budget, but the purchase of them in large quantities by his enemies made it possible for Tyndale to bring out another, better, edition. Because Tyndale dared to rebel against ecclesiastical authority, he was branded a heretic (one who causes division) and arrested. Found guilty, he was tied to a stake and strangled to death. His body was then burned. The date was October 6, 1536 – 483 years ago.
But the die had been cast and there would be no turning back. New English Bibles appeared in rapid succession and today, at least in our nation, they are cheap, readable and plentiful. Our blessing cost more than one man his life. I hope you are taking advantage of Tyndale’s sacrifice and daily reading your Bible.