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2016 Term 1 - William Tyndale (1494 - 1536)

In the last edition of the newsletter I shared with you details about our house teams and how we have related them to biblical aspects. In these next editions I want to share with you the significance of the people our house teams are named after. We have four house teams, each named after a person who has been a significant role model for us in achieving great things for God. We have related biblical symbols and colours to each team and related them to the twelve tribes of Israel and the four camps the Israelites were in when out in the desert being led to the Promised Land by Moses. These all help to work together to create a heritage for each of our teams of which your children are associated. This is part of belonging to something within our school. Each of our teams represent significance which we can learn elements from to apply in our own lives.

In this edition we will take a look at Team Tyndale.

William Tyndale (1494 - 1536)

William Tyndale is considered the true father of the English Bible even though John Wycliffe produced the first complete English translation 15 years before.

Tyndale had a considerable advantage. Wycliffe's version was handwritten but by the time of Tyndale, in the early 1400's, the printing press had been invented and Tyndale's versions were able to be printed by the thousands. His main ambition was to give common English speakers a translation based on the original Greek and Hebrew Scriptures.

Tyndale lived with some dangerous opposition. He may have been determined to offer commoners a translation, but King Henry the VIII and the church of the time did not want the Bible in circulation. In that time the church controlled the Scriptures and only those qualified within it were given the power to read and interpret the Word of God, a dangerous degree of power! In fact, one priest was quoted as saying to Tyndale, "We are better to be without God's laws than the Pope's."

As a result Tyndale lived in fear for his life. He had to flee England in 1524 and carried on his work in hiding in Hamburg, Germany. There he is believed to have met and consulted with Martin Luther.

He finished and began printing his translation of the New Testament in 1526. These were smuggled into England by hiding them in merchandise, barrels, bales of cotton, and sacks of flour. Henry the VIII condemned the translation and had thousands of copies confiscated by authorities and publicly burned. All this did, however, was fuel people's appetites for more Bible's.

Tyndale carried on revising and perfecting his translations and started on translating the Old Testament from Hebrew. He never finished. One of his closest friends betrayed him and he was arrested in 1535 by the king's officials and imprisoned in Vilvorde near modern day Brussels. There he was tried and convicted of heresy and treason.

Suffering under extreme conditions in his prison cell, Tyndale managed to carry on with a lamp, his Hebrew Bible, a dictionary, and study texts to continue his translation work. But in late 1536, after 17 months in prison, he was strangled and then burned at the stake a martyr. As he died, Tyndale prayed, "Lord, open the King of England's eyes."

Three years later, Tyndale's prayer was answered when King Henry the VIII sanctioned the printing of an authorised version of the full Bible in English.

Tyndale serves as an amazing role model to our students today. By age 21 he had a Master of Arts degree from Oxford University and went on to become fluent in eight languages including Hebrew, Greek and Latin. He was very focussed on God and his mission to make God's Word accessible to everyday people. His perseverance in the face of adversity and rock solid faith in God makes him someone worthy to be looked up to as a role model for our students.

Team: Tyndale
Colour: Green
Symbol: Man
Linked with : The Tribe of Reuben
Gospel of Luke

William Tyndale in Vilvorde Prison
William Tyndale in Vilvorde Prison