Volume. XXXIV, No. 22
Sunday, 01 December 2019

William Tyndale “The Apostle of England” (Part 4 - Final)


  • From 1531 onwards, Tyndale’s security was in jeopardy and he quit the Low Countries, and for many months he wandered up and down the Rhine like a fugitive, hoping in that way to baffle the ingenuity of his hostile pursuers. Eventually he settled at Antwerp, and there he returned with all his energy to his great work of translation.  The work of revision and translation occupied Tyndale’s attention to the last.


  • The inquisition was armed with unrestricted authority to seize all suspected persons, and try, confiscate, and execute without any right of appeal. While resident in Antwerp he was the guest of an influential citizen named Thomas Poyntz, a warm and true friend, who was able to offer protection to Tyndale, by reason of the privilege which exempted citizens and their guests from being arrested in their houses.  Inside Poyntz’s house, Tyndale was safe.


  • While engaged in his daily routine of translation and correction, he was caught in a spider’s web of guile and treachery, by Henry Phillips. The Low Countries had become a dangerous place. 


  • In May, 1535, plans were laid to lure Tyndale away from his safe refuge. Phillips had wormed his way into the confidence and affections of Tyndale, pretending to be a convert to the Protestant cause. 


  • Tyndale was invited out to dinner, and as he left the shelter of his friend’s roof, he was seized by two officers stationed either side of the narrow entrance to the house. He was arrested and taken to Vilvoorde Castle in Belgium, where he spent his final year.


  • In that cell, he wrote his final letter. It gives us a real clue to Tyndale’s manner of life, and his faith, even though he knew that death was around the corner.  It gives us a view of what it was like to be in a cell, awaiting martyrdom,


I believe, right worshipful, that you are not unaware of what may have been determined concerning me.  Wherefore, I beg your lordship, and that by the Lord Jesus, that if I am to remain here through the winter, you will request the Commissary to have the kindness to send me from the goods of mine which he has, a warmer cap, for I suffer greatly from the cold in the head and am afflicted with a perpetual catarrh which is much increased in this cell; a warmer coat also, for this which I have is very thin; a piece of cloth too, to patch my leggings.  My overcoat is worn out, my shirts are also worn out.  He has a woollen shirt, if he will be good enough to send it. I have also with him leggings of a thicker cloth to put on above; he has also warmer nightcaps.  And I ask to be allowed to have a lamp in the evening, it is indeed wearisome sitting alone in the dark.  But most of all I beg and beseech your Clemency to be urgent with the Commissary that he will kindly permit me to have a Hebrew Bible, Hebrew Grammar and Hebrew Dictionary that I may pass the time in that study”.[1]

How beautifully reminiscent of the mighty Apostle Paul, Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me. … … The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments”. (2 Timothy 4.9,13)


There are no windows in the cell; and the rain and the snow came in.  There was no central heating, and there was no fire in the corner of the room.  And no doubt, over your feet, there ran a rat or two.  His coat was thin, and he had a perpetual catarrh, he was cold.  But uppermost in his mind, remember the words of Paul, “This one thing I do”.  Here was a man who was freezing, yet “This one thing I do;” there is work to be done to the end.  In that cell, he translated from the Hebrew from the book of Joshua to the book of 2 Chronicles, whilst awaiting death.  That’s the measure of the man.  Foxe tells us,


that … he converted his keeper, the keeper’s daughter, and others of his household; also the rest that were with Tyndale conversant in the castle reported of him that if he were not a good Christian man, they could not tell whom to trust”.2


  • At the end of July 1536 Tyndale was condemned as a heretic, degraded from the priesthood, and handed over to the secular power for punishment.
  • On the 6th of October 1536 he was brought forth to the place of execution, was there tied to the stake with an iron chain around his waist and a piece of hemp in a noose round his neck, and a pile of straw and faggots all round his feet. It was then he lifted up his voice, crying thus at the stake, “LORD, OPEN THE KING OF ENGLAND’S EYES”. 
  • The rope was wrenched tight from behind and then the faggots were lit with a torch to blaze around his strangled body. A martyr’s crown made a fitting end to a life such as his had been.


Meanwhile, in England an extraordinary development had taken place.  Under Cranmer, Convocation itself had petitioned for an English Bible. In the same year that Tyndale was martyred, King Henry VIII issued the Royal Warrant for placing one Bible in every parish church throughout the land.  Tyndale’s prayer was answered.  And if you have the Authorised Version in your hand, treasure it and thank God for that godly and scholarly man whose sanctified genius is deeply engraven upon almost every page of this, the most excellent translation in our mother tongue.



[1] Mozley J F., “William Tyndale,” SPCK, 1937, p.334-335

2 Foxe, Vol. V. p127



More Lively Hope



  • Visitation to Rembrandt Living today at 2:45pm. Address: 1 Madras St, Oaklands Park.
  • Hope Bookshop Christmas Cards available for $1 each. Buy 5 get 1 free.
  • Christmas Carols Afternoon this Saturday at 3pm. Please invite your friends, neighbours, classmates & workmates. Please bring something to share for light refreshments following.
  • Flower Roster for 2020 is available today in the Foyer 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: Volunteers. Next week: Neighbourhood Groups.


Looking Ahead

  • Christmas Worship Service, 10 am.
  • Watchnight Service, Tue, 31 Dec, 7:30 pm.


Praise & Thanksgiving

  • God’s daily providence, protection & guidance.
  • Church activities & visitors in the past week.
  • Working Bee
  • Uni & Year 12 students exam completion.



  • Healing: Rev George van Buuren; Rev Pong Sen Yiew (S’pore)
  • Year 12 students as they prepare for University or other endeavours next year.
  • Jobs for University graduates & visa approvals for those applying.
  • God’s guidance & protection: Elder David & Sis Giok Yeo as they settle down in Melbourne; for their worship & service there.
  • Missions – IBPFM missionaries worldwide; Rev & Mrs Johnson George (Gujarat); 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: International students; vacationers; others who are travelling.



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