Kristine Gifford

Years ago I read a book titled Fire in the Bones: William Tyndale, Martyr, Father of the English Bible by S. Michael Wilcox. It told the story of the life of William Tyndale and of his desire to publish the Bible in the common, or “vulgar,” English language so that all people would have access to the scriptures. He died a martyr, condemned and burned at the stake for the crime of translating and publishing the Bible in English. Tyndale’s work became the foundation for almost all future translations of the Bible, most notably, the King James Version. We owe William Tyndale, along with many others who gave their lives, a debt of gratitude for the scriptures we can hold in our hands.

William Tyndale lived in a time when those in authority restricted scriptural access to designated religious leaders, and it was illegal for a common person to own a copy of the Bible. Elder D. Todd Christofferson said, “In Tyndale’s day, scriptural ignorance abounded because people lacked access to the Bible, especially in a language they could understand. Today the Bible and other scripture are readily available, yet there is growing scriptural illiteracy because people will not open the books. Consequently, they have forgotten things their grandparents knew.”

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