John Piper on the Life and Legacy of William Tyndale

At this years New Attitude Conference, John Piper brought to life the work and world of William Tyndale, and reflected on his amazing achievements.  Tyndale translated the New Testament and parts of the Old into English, and was violently opposed by the Roman Catholic church, which lead to his execution by strangulation and being burned at the stake.

Tyndale’s English translation found it’s way into the King James Bible (after his death) and also properly translated various words and phrases that had skewed the Latin translation to support the Roman Catholic ecclestiastical system and Roman Catholic understanding of the gospel.

One very interesting section of Piper’s message draws a parallel between Tyndales opponent Erasmus and post-modern “Christian” writers of today:

There are elitist, cool, avant-garde, marginally evangelical writers and scholars today for whom what I’m about to read here which is written to describe Erasmus and Moore is amazingly parallel:


“Not only is there not only no fully realized Christ or devil in Erasmus book, there is a touch of irony about it all with a feeling of the writer cultivating a faintly superior ambiguity, as if to be dogmatic, for example about the full theology of the work of Christ, was to be rather distasteful.” [reference not cited]


[Begin new quote] “I just feel that in book after book today. That to be robust and strong and full about what Christ achieved “feels rather distasteful.” By contrast William Tyndale is ferociously single-minded. The mater in hand, the immediate access of the soul to God without intermediary is far too important for hints of faintly ironic superiority. Tyndale is as four-square as a carpenters tool. But in Erasmus account of the origins of his book, there is a touch of the sort of layering of ironies found in the games with personae.”

End of quote from Daniell. [from David Daniell, William Tyndale: A Biography]


It is ironic, and this a warning, I hope you will hear, from a ‘dad-like’ guy for you, it is ironic and sad that today supposedly avant-garde Christian writers strike a cool, evasive, imprecise, artistic, superficially reformist pose of Erasmus and call it ‘post-modern’ when in fact it is totally pre-modern, because it is totally permanent. It happens in every single age. It’s a clever way of writing for unsuspecting people like you who don’t have a lot to measure it by, because your roots aren’t deep yet in church history and in reading things from the 19th and 18th and 17th and 16th and 15th century so that when you open up this contemporary post-modern thing you say, “What in the Sam Hill is new about that?” Don’t be dupped. Be thoughtful. Be a thinker. Go deep. Know your history.
This is an excellent message that you won’t want to miss.

History of the English Bible

In four lectures, Dr. Daniel Wallace covers the history of the English Bible from John Wycliff to the present day. He concludes with a lecture about why there are so many versions of the Bible. These lectures were given at the Lancaster Bible College and are part of the cirriculum.

From Wycliffe to King James
The Reign of King James
From the KJV to the RV
Why So Many Versions?

History of the English Bible >>>

Always Singing One Note, Piper biography of Tyndale

John Piper’s well-known biographical sketches have recieved an excellent edition on William Tyndale who spent his life translating and printing the Bible into English.  Piper discusses Erasmus’ great contribution in printing the first Greek New Testament, which prepared the way for Luther’s German Bible and Tyndales English Bible.

Tyndale’s famous quote, “I defy the Pope and all his laws. . . . If God spare my life ere many years, I will cause a boy that driveth the plow, shall know more of the Scripture than thou dost.”

Always Singing One Note–A Vernacular Bible
Why William Tyndale Lived and Died
2005 Desiring God Conference for Pastors