“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” –Psalm 119:105
Earlier today, I had the privilege of doing something absolutely amazing. Something super unique. I got to do something Christians from all centuries probably never even dreamed would, or even could happen.
I listened to the whole book of 1 Timothy on audio through the Bible app on my iPhone.
Maybe that feels like a let down for you, but consider for a moment how amazing it is to have God’s word so readily available in English. I cannot begin to express the gratitude I have to live in a land that allows me to read and study the Scriptures to my heart’s delight. I am beyond blessed to speak a language in which I can read a well-translated study Bible. Not only can a simple English speaking man study the Scriptures, I can also read literally thousands of theological works from the greatest Christian minds to ever live.
As my eyes are opened more and more lately to the privilege and the blessing of reading God’s Word in my native tongue, the more and more I realize that others do not. There currently 160 million people without a single Bible verse in their native tongue. Just small and simple verse’s like John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-9, Proverbs 3:5-6, and Psalm 119:9-11 have not yet reached 160 million souls.
It was not always the case that English speaking Christians had the word of God in abundance. We too were like those around the world who are devoid of God’s Word. One of my greatest heroes of the Reformation is William Tyndale. The man gave his whole life for one mission, to bring the Word of God to the English speaking peasants. That even the poor and impoverished could have a relationship with God and read the gospel in their tongue.
Once a Catholic Clergy taunted Tyndale stating that men were better off without the law of God than without the Pope. In response to this blasphemous statement, Tyndale responded with his legendary battle cry, “I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spares my life for many years, I will cause the boy that drives the plow to know more of the scriptures than you!”
Without diving into the whole history, let me simplify by saying the Roman Catholic church condemned anyone from translating any Bibles to English. The Roman Catholic Church needed to keep the peasants of England unaware of doctrine at all cost and thereby made only Latin translations available.
The Lord was with Tyndale and the English Bible translation he created from the original Greek and Hebrew spread throughout England. Tyndale struck such a blow against Rome they wanted him dead. Tyndale had to live under many fake aliases. Eventually, the Roman papists were successful in finding Tyndale. He was martyred brutally by strangulation. His corpse was burned and his ashes were fired out of a canon.
Thus Tyndale devoted his life to translating the Bible. Motivated by compassion for the English, but even more so out of zeal for God’s glory. It was the arrogance of papal idolatry that spurred this Reformer onward in his mission all the way to the fiery stake.
I pray that God would raise up many more men like Tyndale. Men who are intellectually gifted and passionately devoted to God. Men who will have the heart of The Apostle Paul whose “spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols,” (Acts 17:16). That the zeal for the great glory of our God and gospel of Jesus Christ would invoke men to lay down their lives and work toward spreading the Word to a world in dire need of the light.
Let us pray that God would do such a thing for those living in darkness. That the world would see His light.
“For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.” – Psalm 36:9