“Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness. Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word…. Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words.” (Psalm 119:40-41, 57)
“If they would burn the Word of Christ, they would burn Christ.”
~ William Tyndale (1494–1536), language scholar and theologian
who was burned at the stake for translating the Bible
and for believing in justification by faith alone
Throughout history, there have been many people who fought the spread of God’s Word. There were people who thought it was wrong for the Word of God to be translated into a “common” language, or any other language but the original languages it was written in. Some religious leaders did not want the Bible to be readable, because their false teachings would be found out if people could check them by the Bible in their own languages.
Many years ago, a man named William Tyndale was overcome with a passion to see the Hebrew and Greek original Scriptures translated into English. His dream was that any common ploughboy (any farmer’s servant) would be able to read the Bible in his own language (English) instead of having to know Hebrew or Greek, or instead of having to listen to the Bible read in Latin. Tyndale was a skilled translator and wonderful writer, so his translations (some pieces of the New Testament that he translated) are quoted today even more than famous lines from Shakespeare’s plays are quoted!
But back in his time, William Tyndale was not so popular. He was betrayed, went to prison, and eventually was strangled and burned at the stake – all because he wanted to give the Bible to English-speaking people. Tyndale loved God’s Word so much that he died for it. He died so God’s Word could be read. He died so God’s Word could be printed and preserved (kept safe and available) for generations to come. God used people like William Tyndale throughout history to preserve His Word, to keep it safe. That is why God’s Word is still here for us to use in our time.
King David’s psalms about God’s Word show that he also had a deep love for the Scriptures. He says he has longed after God’s Word. He says that the LORD is his portion (the LORD is all he needs), and because of that, he promises to keep (obey) the LORD’s words.
David was “a man after God’s own heart.” He loved God, so he loved God’s Word. William Tyndale’s whole life (and death) was devoted to making sure God’s Word would be around in the future, readable by both rich and poor people. He was passionate about God’s Word, because He was passionate about God. God’s Word ought to be considered precious (extremely valuable) because it is from God. Many people have lost their lives trying to make sure God’s Word would stay safe. If you have a Bible today, check out your relationship to God’s Word. How often do you read it? How do you respond to it? Does your life show that you love the Word of Christ?
God’s Word is precious, because it is from Him.
» How often do I think about God’s Word?
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