As I write this, the end of the world was suppose to have come, at least according to the prediction of some old man in California, who’s previous predictions had also failed. There have always been, and always will be, men like this who make their own predictions on the future, and some people will always fall for it. And this only proves again how important it is to read and STUDY the Bible.
But it is so much easier to believe the words of someone, who claims to know the Word of God, than it is to go and check it out for ourselves. Just think how easy it is going to be for the anti christ to deceive people, when he comes on the scene. I hate these movies that show him as some kind of weird man with glowing eyes. Sorry, but someone like that probably couldn’t deceive anyone. I’m sure he will be very much normal.
In Matthew 24:24 Jesus said: “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to DECEIVE if possible even the elect.” Remember satan is called the deceiver, and as the anti christ performing miracles, he will look a lot more attractive than this old fellow in California did, especially to those who find it boring and too much trouble to check things out for themselves.
Your eternal destiny is dependent upon getting to know the Truth, the True Word of God. Think on that and see how important the Bible is to our eternal life. No book or document written by man can be trusted unless it checks out with God’s Word.
Many of you may not know about the great Reformation which came about by Martin Luther in the 1500’s. The Catholic church spiritually ruled most of the civilized world during that time. It was against the their laws for any ordinary man to read God’s Word. Only the priests had access to the manuscripts, etc. They translated it in many ways to please themselves and to keep the people totally dependent upon the clergy. A document called “The Ninety-Five Theses“, was written by Martin Luther in 1517 and is widely regarded as the primary catalyst for the Protestant Reformation.
Some very brave men - John Wycliffe & William Tyndale (to mention just two) - translated the Bible into English. It was then that the common people of England were able to read and decide for themselves what the message was that God had inspired Moses and the prophets to write. Tyndale proclaimed these words: “If God spare my life in many years I will cause a boy who drives the plough to know more Scripture than the religious leaders.” For this good and courageous deed he was burned at the stake and died a martyr’s death in 1536.
Tyndale was by no means the only man martyred in such a way. This list is long of those who gave their lives that we might read the Word for ourselves. See “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs,” which is an account of Christian martyrs throughout Western history from the 1st thru the 16th Century.
Rodney and I are not biblical scholars, but we plan to present a little teaching on Martin Luther and these other men, and some history that is not being taught in the churches. Pastor Scott seems to be the only teacher who understands the importance of the history of the Bible.
There are also other sources to draw from. Hopefully it will get some of you interested enough to begin your own study.
Jesus often said, “He who has ears to hear let him hear.” Matthew 13:9 We all have ears, but we all do not have an interest in hearing. Interest in His Word is something that only you and God can work out, but hopefully we are writing to those who have an interest and the ability to hear.
One of the signs that we are in the “last days” is that there is a famine taking place. Not a famine of bread where people are physically starving, nor a thirst for water, but a hearing of the Word of God. Amos 8:11 I have noticed over the years that little by little the churches of today (at least the ones on TV) have taken on other subjects that are not covered in the Bible. The emphasis is on becoming a better person, done by our own power of meditation, practice and so on, instead of faithing in God and allowing Him to make the changes in you.
Self discipline and practice never worked for me. I did try but the THOUGHTS were still there. And Jesus did say that the thought was the same as the deed (See Matthew 5:28 for one example). That’s not easy to agree with, but that’s what He said and He is God.
He also said “you must be born again.” John 3:5 So how does that happen? We are told today to go forward down to the alter and say “the sinner’s prayer.” I know there is more to it than that, that your salvation is based on a “sinner’s prayer” that you repeated once some time ago. You may at some point make a commitment to God. That is a beginning, but we grow into salvation by the knowledge of the Word. 1st Peter 2:2 If you have had no change in your life, then you’re probably not saved.
The entire premise of going down to the altar is all off. The altar, in the Old Testament, was a place of death. A sacrifice was laid there to be killed. Today the repeating of a “sinner’s prayer” is thought to not only give forgiveness of sins, but also to bless us with eternal life. It’s cheap grace and a counterfeit Gospel that is being taught, not the true Word of God. Today we have the Bible, which came to us in our English language at a great price, and it is neglected and not being taught.
Just before Jesus went to the garden, from where He was arrested and later crucified, He prayed. A large part of this prayer is for us. At such an hour of misery, He was thinking of others. The entire 17th chapter of John is this prayer. Quoting in part, Jesus said: “And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom you have sent. I have manifested Your name to the men whom you have given me out of the world. I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word.”
But how will you believe if you don’t know their words? Think on that.
(From The New Analytical Bible and Dictionary of the Bible © 1973 by John A. Dickson Publishing Co. Notes and footnotes provided by us.)
The oldest existing translations of the Bible into English are in Anglo-Saxon, written between the lines of an earlier Latin text. Of these, the earliest is the Vespasian Psalter (9th century). The Lindisfarne Gospels, with a Latin text by Bishop Eadfrith (about A.D. 700) and an interlinear Anglo-Saxon translation by Aldred (about A.D. 950), is perhaps the best known. A little later, Aelfric translated much of the Old Testament. Most, if not all, of these translations were based on Latin Bible manuscripts, mainly those of the Vulgate1. These were sporadic efforts, however, and should not be confused with the activity of Wycliffe and Tyndale, who were dedicated to translating the entire Bible.
1. THE WYCLIFFE BIBLE (A.D. 1380-1384)
John Wycliffe, called “the morning star of the Reformation2” because he early on used both pen and voice against abuses observed in the medieval Roman Catholic church, is best known for giving to the English people the first whole Bible in their own tongue. “The Scriptures are the property of the people,” Wycliffe declared, “and one which no one should be allowed to wrest from them.”
Born about 1320 at his family’s manorial estate near Richmond in Yorkshire, Wycliffe attended Oxford University and won prominence first as an educator, appearing about 1360 as Master of Balliol College. After two earlier church posts, in 1374 he was appointed vicar at Lutterworth and remained there until his death in 1384. Much of his time, however, was spent at Oxford. His teaching and preaching were so controversial that he was protected from prosecution only by the influence of strong friends like John of Gaunt (He was called "John of Gaunt" because he was born in Ghent, then known as Gaunt in English).
In his impassioned speeches and scholarly treatises, Wycliffe made continual use of the Scriptures. It was logical, therefore, for him to take the next step - planning a translation of the Bible into the English vernacular so that every man might have God’s Word in language he could understand. Wycliffe himself long was thought to have translated all the Bible except about half of the Old Testament, which was probably the work of a colleague, Nicholas de Hereford. Evidence now seems to eliminate Wycliffe himself from most, if not all, actual translation work in the great project he started. Hereford’s part - translating Genesis through Baruch 3:20, a book in the Apocrypha3 - stands; but completion of the Bible (between 1380 and 1384) is now usually attributed to several other helpers, possibly including Wycliffe’s secretary, John Purvey.
The first Wycliffe Bible was a literal translation from inferior texts of the Latin Vulgate. Within a few years, Purvey started revising it, and his revision (about 1395) shows a great improvement in style. Wycliffe’s Bible, however, met the great reformer’s own goal of a Bible designed for the common people, not for the scholars. He formed a
band of “Poor Priests,” called the Lollards, who went about the country teaching laymen from his Bible; and they heard the Word gladly.
Wycliffe’s difficulties with church authorities were many. Gregory XI, in proclamations issued in 1377, warned against 18 Wycliffe “errors.” In 1382 the Blackfriars Council of London further condemned his teaching. The Council of Constance in 1415 passed judgment on 267 “errors” culled from his works, ordered his Bible to be burned, and his bones to be dug up. The last order was not obeyed until 1428, however, when his bones were exhumed and burned and the ashes cast into the River Swift. But his Bible lived in the hearts and minds of men for 150 years.
2. TYNDALE’S TRANSLATION (A.D. 1525)
To William Tyndale, born about 1494 in Gloucestershire, England, goes the honor of producing the first printed Scriptures in English, a complete New Testament. His distinguished career was destined to be crowned, 152 years after Wycliffe’s passing, by a martyr’s death on foreign shores in 1536.
The stage was set for Tyndale’s contribution. About 50 years before his birth, the first significant product of a revolutionary invention was in the works. Johannes Gutenberg had started printing his famed 42-line Bible in Mainz, Germany. These two massive folio volumes, which were to come from his press before August 15, 1456, were to be the forerunners of a steady stream of Scriptures issuing from the presses of the world. Gutenberg’s invention of printing from metal movable type was to have a tremendous impact on the mass distribution of the Bible. Monks of Great Britain and men of learning throughout the continent of Europe had copied Biblical manuscripts, through the centuries, word by word. Now this slow, wearisome work was at an end!
God had provided, at precisely the right moment in history, the channel through which the “new learning” of the Renaissance could be most effectively disseminated. In his providence, the Turks had driven the Christian Greek and Hebrew scholars out of Constantinople into Western Europe. Greek and Hebrew soon were being taught in European universities. Erasmus of Rotterdam had left his imprint on Cambridge, where as a teacher (1511 - 1514) he did much of the work that was to blossom into the first printed translation of the Greek New Testament, which came from the press of Johann Froben at Basel in 1516.
Tyndale had a distinct role in this stimulating 16th century scene. He studied at Oxford under classical scholars like Latimer; and, although he came to Cambridge after Erasmus had left, the influence of the famed Greek scholar still pervaded the classrooms. Tyndale returned in 1522 to Gloucestershire as chaplain and tutor in the family of Sir John Walsh in Little Sodbury.
This determination to translate the Bible into the language of the English people led him, about 1523, to Bishop Tunstall of London, a friend of Erasmus and Sir Thomas More. He failed to secure from the Bishop any encouragement for his project. He did spend a
year in London, however, working diligently at his task under the benevolent roof of Humphrey Monmouth, a merchant who later became an alderman of London.
The country he chose as likely to be most hospitable to his project was Martin Luther’s Germany. Luther himself had completed a translation of the New Testament into the German vernacular in 1522, two years before Tyndale left England, never to return. First he went to the free city of Hamburg; but he soon left for Wittenberg, where he had close ties with his kindred spirit, Luther, who was now engaged in translating the Old Testament into German; it was completed in time for Luther to publish his complete Bible in 1534.
In Hamburg again, Tyndale received funds from his London patron, Monmouth. Hurrying to Cologne, a little later in 1525, he at last started printing his completed translation of the New Testament in a quarto edition. His work betrayed to the authorities by Cochlaeus (an enemy of Luther), Tyndale fled to Worms, carrying some of the printed sheets with him. There he completed an octavo edition without notes and the quarto edition (started in Cologne) with notes. Both editions were shipped to England (3,000 copies of the octavo edition), hidden in cases of merchandise. They were eagerly purchased by the people but condemned by Church authorities. Opposition by Archbishop Warham, Bishop Tunstall (who found 2,000 “errors” in Tyndale’s New Testament), and Sir Thomas More was so violent - many copies were actually bought to be burned - that today only a fragment of one quarto copy survives, in the British Museum; two copies of the 3,000 in the octavo edition still exist - one at the Baptist College, Bristol, England, and the other in the library of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London.
Dedicated scholar that he was, Tyndale spent the years 1527 to 1531 at Marburg, Germany, working on his translation of the Old Testament from the Hebrew and publishing doctrinal and controversial works. His translation of the Pentateuch was published in 1530 and that of the Book of Jonah in 1531. The historical books, Joshua through 2 Chronicles, were probably completed by Tyndale but not published during his lifetime.
Tyndale’s closing years were spent at the English House in the free city of Antwerp, Belgium, which was not under the control of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, as the surrounding territory was. No legal action could be taken against Tyndale in Antwerp, but outside he could be tried for heresy. Here he made several revisions of his New Testament, the most important being that of November, 1534. This is not only his best translation; it also contains a stinging rebuke to his former colleague, George Joyce, who had issued a “pirated” edition of Tyndale’s New Testament that was full of errors and translations deliberately different from Tyndale’s, especially in ecclesiastical terminology, where it often followed the Latin Vulgate. A final revision was made in 1535.
On May 21, 1535 Tyndale was kidnapped and taken beyond the safety of Antwerp, to be arrested and imprisoned in the Vilvorde fortress, about six miles from Brussels. On October 6, 1536, he was strangled and burned at the stake. His dying words were: “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.” He could not know (so strict was the surveillance over him in prison) that, a year earlier in October, 1535, a whole Bible -
largely Tyndale’s translation insofar as he had completed it, the Bible of Myles Coverdale - was already circulating in England with the approval of King Henry VIII. The martyr’s prayer had been heard!
The importance of Tyndale’s translation cannot be overestimated. Skilled in seven languages, he could and did go back to the Greek and Hebrew as his source, instead of to Jerome’s Latin. He was able to consult other modern translations, notably Luther’s New Testament (1522). “With all the tinkering to which the New Testament has been subject,” wrote Professor J. Isaacs, “Tyndale’s version is still the basis in phrasing, rendering, vocabulary, rhythm, and often in music as well. Nine-tenths of the Authorized New Testament is still Tyndale, and the best is still his.” Every great version since his day, in fact, owes a heavy debt to Tyndale.
To be continued next month………….
1. The Vulgate is a late 4th-century Latin version of the Bible.
2. The Protestant Reformation, also known as the Protestant Revolt or the Reformation, was the European Christian reform movement that established Protestantism as a constituent branch of contemporary Christianity. It was led by Martin Luther, John Calvin, and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to ("protested") the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Catholic Church, led to the creation of new national Protestant churches. The Catholics responded with a Counter-Reformation led by the Jesuit order, which reclaimed large parts of Europe, such as Poland. In general, northern Europe, with the exception of Ireland and pockets of Britain, turned Protestant, and southern Europe remained Catholic, while fierce battles that turned into warfare took place in the centre. The largest of the new denominations were the Anglicans (based in England), the Lutherans (based in Germany and Scandinavia), and the Reformed churches (based in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Scotland). There were many smaller bodies as well. The most common dating begins in 1517 when Luther published The Ninety-Five Thesis and concludes in 1648 with the Treaty of Westphalia that ended years of European religious wars.
3. Apocrypha has evolved in meaning somewhat, and its associated implications have ranged from positive to pejorative. Apocrypha, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means "books included in the Septuagint and Vulgate but excluded from the Jewish and Protestant canons of the Old Testament.”
Note: Some of you may find this history tedious and somewhat boring. But there are others, who through the years of prison confinement, have expanded their minds, and today are much more learned and educated in God’s Word than any man on the street. A brother on death row translates from Hebrew, and some very deep thoughts and insights into life are expressed by many of you. We are proud to call you our brothers in Christ and feel a deep kinship to so many. So open the mind, let it expand, and God will bless you with knowledge of who He is.
Prayer Requests for June, 2011
For Johnny Carruthers, Florence, Arizona, who seeks Spiritual growth.
For Joe Bruno & his family, especially his Father’s health. Joe is at Florence, Arizona.
For J.T. Likes, Grady, Arkansas, who wants to have contact with his family again.
For Michael Rivera, Buckeye, Arizona, for healing of his body.
For Earl Oswalt, Taft, Oklahoma, who has a double hernia and various other health issues.
For William Holland, Pontiac, Illinois, for health.
For Raymond (“Peanut”) Sanders at Iowa Park, Texas, for health. He has blood pressure problems and suffers headaches.
For Richard Burns, Menard, Illinois, who has diabetes and takes daily injections.
For Ed Ewing, Visalia, California.
For Mike Long, at Larned, Kansas, for health.
For Anthony Grayson, Wallkill, New York. He just received a time cut of 20 years and wanted to thank everyone for their prayers. He still has more legal challenges ahead, though.
For Roger Best at Holdenville, Oklahoma, who has Somnambulism (sleep-walking). He also wants a better prayer life.
For Willie Scott at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, for stronger faith, and health.
For Jimmy Huff and his ministry at Colorado City, Texas, and for everyone living in Colorado City. They are in desperate need of rain to put out the fires.
For Willie Clark, Iowa Park, Texas, who wants to be transferred closer to his family in the Houston area. He also has Glaucoma and high eye pressure right now.
For Michael Small’s step Mother, Suzanne, for health, and that her cancer will stay in remission. Michael is at Menard, Illinois.
For Sister Ann & all the Carmelite Nuns in Little Rock.
For Frank Williams, Jr., Death Row, Grady, Arkansas. The Arkansas Supreme Court is going to hear his case again.
For Freddie Lee Lott, Galesburg, Illinois, to keep his healing and stay cancer free.
For Willie Harper, Joliet, Illinois, for health, and that his cancer stays in remission.
For Robert Heffernan, Grady, Arkansas, for healing of a diabetic ulcer on his leg.
For Pastor Scott & her ministry (The University Network) in Los Angeles.
For all of us at Wingspread.
The New Testament suggests that we should be persistent in prayer!
Romans 12:12: “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing diligently in prayer.”
Ephesians 6:18: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”
Colossians 4:2: Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.”
1st Thessalonians 5:17: “Pray without ceasing.”
See also, the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-6.
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