Volume. XXXIV, No. 21
Sunday, 24 November 2019

William Tyndale “The Apostle of England” (Part 3)

Cardinal Wolsey took steps to suppress the seditious book!  A search was made, and all copies of Tyndale’s New Testament were ordered to be given up.  At the same time the Bishop of Rochester (Fisher) was charged to preach at St. Paul’s Cross on the 1st February 1526, denouncing the books as replete with dangerous heresies, and at the conclusion of the sermon, at which Wolsey was present, surrounded by a great company of mitred abbots, friars, and bishops, great baskets of Tyndale’s heretical New Testament were brought out and burned.


  • These public denunciations and burnings served only to increase demand for Tyndale’s New Testament. Wolsey had determined to buy up all of the copies of the “pestilent” New Testament.   Bishop Tunstall commissioned a London merchant, named Packington, to buy up all the copies he could find in the city of Antwerp, and return them to England to be burnt at St. Paul’s Cross.


Packington came to Tyndale, and said,


‘William, I know thou art a poor man, and hast a heap of New Testaments and books by thee, for the which thou hast both endangered thy friends and beggared thyself; and I have now gotten thee a merchant which with ready money shall despatch thee of all that thou hast, if you think it so profitable for yourself.’   ‘Who is the merchant?’ said Tyndale.  ‘The Bishop of London,’ said Packington.  ‘Oh, that is because he will burn them,’ said Tyndale.  ‘Yea, marry,’ quoth Packington.  ‘I am the gladder,’ said Tyndale, ‘for these two benefits shall come thereof: I shall get money to bring myself out of debt, and the whole world will cry out against the burning of God’s Word, and the overplus of the money that shall remain to me shall make me more studious to correct the said New Testament, and so newly imprint the same once again, and I trust the second will much better like you than ever did the first.’  And so, forward went the bargain; the Bishop had the books; Packington had the thanks; and Tyndale had the money”.[1]


  • Justly famed as Tyndale’s New Testament was and is, very few people acknowledge Tyndale’s scholarship and contribution to the English Old Testament.


  • Hebrew was not taught at either Oxford or Cambridge until 1524, the year after which Tyndale had left England for his life’s work. His knowledge of Hebrew, no doubt, was gleaned from the many Jews who lived in the old German towns.


[1] The History of the Transmission of the Bible, John Rylands Library, 1935, p.34-35


  • In 1529, Tyndale, having completed his translation of Deuteronomy, and desiring to get it printed took ship to Hamburg, but was shipwrecked on the coast of Holland, and lost everything. Finding another ship, he eventually arrived at Hamburg, and rewrote his translation. 


  • By 1530 he had started upon the Old Testament from the Hebrew. He had done the whole of the Pentateuch, that is, Genesis to Deuteronomy.


  • By 1531, he had translated the whole of Jonah. He still had five more years of exile in which to use his pen for reform.  The extent of his work is described concisely in Hall’s Chronicles of 1548.  After listing the parts in print, the rest were recorded as ‘Judges, the books of Kings ... to Nehemiah (that is the whole of the books from Joshua to Nehemiah, eleven in all), the prophet Jonah, and no more of Holy Scripture.’2


  • So that Tyndale’s contribution to the Old Testament far exceeded that which was in print. Tyndale’s unprinted portion almost doubled the amount.  It also means that his total contribution between 1525 and his arrest in May 1535 amounted to 47% of the whole Bible.  Nor was this unprinted part lost. 


The manuscripts were rescued by John Rogers and incorporated into the Matthews Bible. He utterly refused Royal invitations to return home and use his pen in service of the Crown, but exercised it most eloquently to encourage John Frith, to face the flames of martyrdom.


  • Bitter opposition rapidly ensued, and Tyndale took up his pen to answer his critics, Cardinal Wolsey whom he named “Thomas Wolfsee” and “Caiaphas the Cardinal,”[1] and Thomas More that “Proctor of Purgatory”. The bishops were, in Tyndale’s words, blind buzzards and shameless hypocrites”.3


Demaus rightly says that the one word which fits the life and work of Tyndale is the word heroic.  . . .  His was the first voice raised in accents clear enough and loud enough to reach the ear and touch the heart of his people; his was, in fact, one of those great lives which form a kind of landmark in our national history. … No mere scholar would have lived as he lived, toiled as he toiled, daring Churchmen and Statesmen, braving peril and exile, for the sake of God’s Good News in England.  The one grand aim of his life was to give to England a version of the Scriptures in the language of the people, and for that high purpose, he had been quite content to bear the pains of privation and run the risk of martyrdom”4


2 Quoted by Daniel D., “William Tyndale A Biography”, Yale University Press, 1994, p.333

3 Works, Vol II, pp.321,337

4 Loane, p.78                                                                                          

                                              To be continued in the next edition……………………………

More Lively Hope



  • Hope Bookshop Christmas Cards available for $1 each. Buy 5 get 1 free.
  • Missionary offerings will be taken today.
  • Visitation to Rembrandt Living Oaklands Park, next Lord’s Day, 1 Dec @ 2:45pm. Please inform Bro Zach Liang or Sis Sally Teng if you wish to participate.
  • Please send your availability for the Jan-Mar 2020 serving roster no later than next Lord’s Day, 1 Dec, to hopebpcrosterer@gmail.com.
  • Flower Roster for 2020 will be available next Lord’s Day for people to fill in.
  • Most fellowship groups will have their break in December & January. For more details please contact the fellowship group leaders.
  • Lunch Duty: This week: VFG. Next week: Volunteers.


Praise & Thanksgiving

  • God’s daily providence, protection & guidance.
  • Church activities & visitors in the past week.
  • Uni & Year 12 students exam completion.
  • Journey mercies: Those who have travelled.



  • Healing: Rev George van Buuren; Rev Pong Sen Yiew (S’pore); Grandpa Ki (S’pore); and others in affliction.
  • Year 12 students as they prepare for University or other endeavours next year.
  • Jobs for University graduates & visa approvals for those applying.
  • Those affected by the bushfires in Yorke Peninsula.
  • God’s guidance & protection: Elder David & Sis Giok Yeo as they move to Melbourne this week; for their worship & service there.
  • Missions – Bro Jose Mangco & House of Hope (Cebu); Air conditioners for worship area of Faith Krang Angkrang Church (Phnom Penh).
  • Batam & Phnom Penh Missions Teams in Jan/Feb 2020 - preparation & planning.
  • Journey mercies: for Elder David & Sis Giok Yeo (Melb); international students; others who are travelling.





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