By Stan Mitchell
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10, ESV).
The soldiers gathered around the condemned man, adding fuel for the fire. He was tied to an upright stake, and you could hear the flickering flames of the burning brand the captain held aloft, ready to ignite the material, combustible as a movie star in front of the Paparazzi.
What was his crime, so thoroughly worthy of death? Was he a murderer? Guilty of high treason?
William Tyndale had translated the Bible from its original languages into the language of the day, allowing the ordinary Englishman access to the word of God.
There were those, especially in entrenched ecclesiastical positions, who didn’t want that, because those same ordinary Englishmen might then detect the gulf between what the church of the day taught … and what the Bible actually said.
On one occasion, in the heat of debate with some of these entrenched individuals, he had declared, “One day I will see to it that the boy with the plow will know more Bible than thou!”
What an extraordinary thought that was, that a Bible would be available to all people, accessible, and understandable for all.
In our day a dozen Bibles of varied translations lie languishing on our coffee tables or on our shelves. But in Tyndale’s day, a Bible was as rare as a Los Angeles Laker fan in Boston.
As the flames began to bite, Tyndale raised his face to the heavens, and prayed: “Lord, open the king of England’s eyes!”
Within thirty years, King James I of England had commissioned the Authorized Bible that now bears his name: “The King James Version,” the most widely read English translation in history. Tyndale’s courage had been rewarded.
And what did you say made you quit serving the Lord?

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