Long ago, on an island far away, a man named John wanted to be able to read God's Word in the language he knew best. It troubled him that other Christians could not read it at all; that only very educated men could read the Bible in the elite Latin tongue. John recognized that false teaching and theology were rampant in the church, and realized that the ignorance of the common people was causing serious problems for the Christian faith.
Even though John’s own language was considered inferior and vulgar, John firmly believed that the Word of God, as the only norm for Christian faith, should be accessible to the poor and less educated people as well. The religious men of the day labelled John as a rebel, as he and like-minded friends translated the Bible into the language that we now call English around 1384.
"Englishmen learn Christ's law best in English.
Moses heard God's law in his own tongue;
so did Christ's apostles."
Aren’t you thankful that John Wycliffe was willing to brave public opinion in order to translate the Bible into our language? Can you imagine only hearing the Word of God in Latin from the pulpit each Sunday morning, waiting for someone more educated to explain its meaning to you?
Today, more than 600 years since John gave us the Bible in English,
there are still over a billion Bibleless people.
Stop and think about that.
One billion people who have yet to read God’s Word in their own language,
or to learn for themselves the truth of the Bible as the only rule for Christian faith.
May we be faithful not only to share the Gospel, the saving knowledge of Christ with the world, but the whole counsel of His Word, the only means by which the church will grow in faith and obedience!
"Christ and His apostles taught the people
in the language best known to them...
believers should have the Scriptures
in a language which they fully understand."
- John Wycliffe