It is challenging to enter this next era of the English Bibles without talking about Desiderius Erasmus and the Textus Receptus (Received Text) that would impact English Translations for centuries to come. Erasmus is credited with saying, “When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.”
While the Wycliffe Bible is not the first English Bible, it is the first complete English Bible. It came to us through the efforts and influence of John Wycliffe (c. 1330-1384), a Catholic priest and a professor of theology at Oxford, England, called the “morning star of the Reformation" because of the religious principles that he developed through his investigation of Scripture and witnessed about, a great risk to himself.
With Wycliffe (1320-1384), we reach a landmark in the history of the English Bible in the production of the first complete version of both the Old Testament and the New Testament. It belongs to the last period of Wycliffe’s life, that in which he was engaged in open war with the Papacy and with most of the official chiefs of the English Church.
In Britain, as elsewhere, missionary work proceeded almost entirely by means of the spoken word. Any translation of the Scriptures consisted of a free and extemporaneous rendering of the Latin text into the vernacular speech.
Bible translation goes back to 280 to 150 B.C.E., when (seventy-two, according to tradition) translators gave us the Hebrew Old Testament books in Greek. From those days forward, translators have lived hazardous lives in trying to bring us the Word of God in the common languages of man. This has often been from the religious organizations themselves, who have caused the suffering and death of many translators. Is it any different today? How so?
Below is a short overview of the copying process of the Greek text of the New Testament. We will cover its transmission in the Greek of the time, as well as other languages that it has been translated into; not to mention the trustworthiness of the critical text that we have today.
The Old Testament, the inspired Word of God, how was it copied, maintained as to the textual reliability, and handed down throughout the past three thousand five hundred years?
The Bible has a unique record of preservation, restoration, translation, and distribution. It has faced many enemies and yet it is the bestselling book of all time many times over. How did our English Bible come down to us?
The importance of the Tyndale Bible in shaping and influencing the English language cannot be overstated. According to one writer, Tyndale is "the man who more than Shakespeare even or Bunyan has molded and enriched our language."