William Tyndale was a brilliant, winsome scholar whose life was changed by finding today’s verse in Erasmus’ Greek New Testament. He called it the pearly gate through which I entered the Kingdom. I used to think that salvation was not for me, since I did not love God; but those precious words showed me that God does not love us because we first loved Him. No, no; we love Him because He first loved us. It makes all the difference!
Tyndale was born at a critical time. Christopher Columbus was discovering whole new worlds; the printing press was churning out books; and Luther’s Reformation had rediscovered evangelical theology. As a young man, Tyndale felt the time was ripe to translate the Bible into the common languages, and began dreaming of rendering the Bible into English.
But his idea was poorly received by the British Church and State. Sir Thomas More was commissioned by Henry VIII to refute Tyndale, and the two carried on a war of words. In one of his early salvos, Tyndale published a letter in 1531 from Antwerp where he was in hiding. It began: Our love and good works make not God first love us, nor change Him from hate to love. No, His love and deeds make us love, and change us from hate to love. For He loved us when we were evil, and His enemies; and chose us to make us good and to shew us love and to draw us to Him, that we should love again. If ye could see what is written in the first epistle of John, though all the other Scriptures were laid apart, ye should see all this. …
Tyndale died at the stake at age 42, but he produced so accurate an English translation of Scripture that more than 90 percent of all his wordings appeared nearly 100 years later in the King James Version. He is called the “Father of the English Bible.”