“Hang for the Bible? Or just hang it up?”Categories: Christian Attitudes, Christian Living, Sunday Family Report Articles, The Bible
In the history of the Middle Ages, one can find a number of accounts of people who were sentenced to capital punishment in some sinister ways. The sentencer: the Catholic church leaders. The crime: translating the Bible into a language which could be understood by the general public. William Tyndale’s is the most memorable story of the type. He was hanged and then his body was burned for his translation of the bible into English in 1536.
I imagine most of us would look at the stories of Tyndale and others and think, “Of course the Bible should be translated! Everyone needs to know what it says! Why would anyone ever think it should be kept from people?”
Part of the reason for prohibiting Bible translation was to keep control of the things that would be taught. It is not difficult to see in the histories of that time that the man-made political system of the Catholic church did its due diligence to keep people from studying the Bible and seeing the true nature of salvation and Christ’s kingdom. This standing in the way of truth is certainly not to be commended. It was ungodly, impious, and sinful.
But another reason for keeping the Bible out of the hands of common man was the belief that the common man could not correctly handle the great truths of the Bible. And while we might look back on that line of reasoning and sneer at it, we would do well to ask ourselves if we are, in fact, correctly handling the word of God. When it cost Jesus his life to make the plan available, and when it cost the lives of others to make it available in our language; are we going to waste the beautiful blessing that it is? Are we familiar with the word of God as it truly speaks, or just as we would like it to speak? Are we lackadaisical in our approach to study and reading? Are we intellectually dishonest with the Bible? Are we reading it with humility and submission to the power of Christ, or not?
I would never advocate the idea that the Scriptures should only belong to a select, small group of people. But I do want us to all make sure that if the word of God is within our grasp, that we take hold and make the most of it.
- Dan Lankford, evangelist