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Friday, September 24, 2010

Education in Colonial America

The Protestant Reformation had a profound effect upon the development of Colonial America. This article by Robert A. Peterson entitled "Education in Colonial America," first published in The Freeman nearly thirty years ago, describes the success of Colonial America's free-market educational system.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A History of the Authorized Version (1611)

by Mom, 2008

Upon assuming the English crown in 1603, James I called the Hampton Court Conference to address "things pretended to be amiss in the church." From this conference came a request that His Majesty authorize a new translation of the Scriptures "for reducing of diversities of Bibles now extant in the English tongue." James I was more than happy to comply, for he despised the study notes in the popular Geneva translation.

Accordingly, James I appointed a committee of the best scholars and linguists of the day to work on the new translation. The 47-man committee was instructed to consider the work of previous English translators as well as the original Hebrew and Greek texts. King James requested the committee to consult with other learned men about any doubtful text, and he insisted that the new translation have no marginal notes.

The committee divided into six groups, each working on a different section of the Bible. The preliminary translation took four years. Then a sub-committee of twelve spent nine months on further review and translation. The completed Bible was published n 1611.

The Authorized Version, or King James Version as we call it today, remains the most popular and significant translation of the Scriptures in English. Westcott and Hort, members of a committee that produced a modern English text, said of the King James Version, "From the middle of the seventeenth century, the King's Bible has been the acknowledged Bible of the English-speaking nations throughout the world simply because it is the best." The King James Version quickly surpassed the popular Geneva Bible, whose last edition was published in 1644. Ironically, the study notes to the Geneva Bible that so offended James I continued to be published for many years, attached to the Authorized Version text.

A History of the Geneva Bible of 1560

by Mom, 2008

Although its popularity has been eclipsed by the Authorized Version (1611), the Geneva Bible was the most innovative and influential English language Bible of the Reformation.

Following the ascension of Mary I to the English throne, persecution drove thousands of Protestants into exile. Many sought refuge in Geneva, Switzerland. They desired to have a Bible suitable for both corporate and family worship. Up until this time, Bibles had been large folios with hard-to-read Gothic type. The Geneva Bible was the first English Bible printed in a quarto edition and with Roman type. The Geneva Bible was also the first English study Bible, containing numerous marginal notes and study helps. Although chapter divisions had existed in previous Bibles, the Geneva Bible was the first to enumerate verses.

It would be difficult to overstate the importance of the Geneva Bible. It was the household Bible of English-speaking Christians for three generations. It was the Bible of the Scottish Reformers and of the English Separatists and Puritans. The great English writers Shakespeare, Milton, and Bunyan quoted from the Geneva Bible, and it was the Scriptures first brought to New England by the Pilgrims.

Ironically, it was the popularity of the Geneva Bible that prompted James I of England to authorize another translation. He felt that the Geneva Bible's study notes encouraged civil disobedience. Consequently, he was more than willing to commission a new English language Bible - one with no study notes.

Although the popularity of the Geneva Bible was eventually surpassed by the Authorized Version of 1611, many of the innovations first seen in the Geneva Bible continue to this day. The Geneva Bible remains one of the most historically significant editions of the Scriptures, and with its recent reprinting, the influence of the Geneva study notes is once again being felt.

John Rogers (1500-1555)

by: KGH, 2008

John Rogers was born in the town of Aston. He grew up to be a minister, Bible translator, and commentator. He was educated at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge University, where he graduated with a B.A. in 1526. Six years later, he was Rector of Holy Trinity Church in London, and in 1534, we went to Antwerp as chaplain to a company of English merchants. There he met William Tyndale. John Rogers used the name "Thomas Matthew" to protect himself when he published his translation of the Bible. But he was captured anyway and burned at Smithfield by Queen Mary I in 1555.

Miles Coverdale (1488-1568)

by: KGH, 2008

Miles Coverdale and John "Thomas Matthew" Rogers were loyal partners for the last six years of William Tyndale's life as they carried the English Bible project forward. Coverdale finished translating the Old Testament in 1535. He printed the first complete Bible in the English language. Coverdale had studied at Cambridge, receiving a bachelor's degree in Canon Law in 1531. Coverdale and many other men have helped Christians very much. Many people take advantage of that. We would not have been able to get closer to God or go to Heaven if it weren't for the Bible being translated into English.

Monday, September 20, 2010

William Tyndale (1494-1536)

by: SJH, 2008

William Tyndale had a burden for translating the Bible into English so people could read it and see that the Catholic church was wrong. He started translating in England, but soon realized that the Pope did not like it at all. So he went to Hamburg, Germany. Even in Hamburg, his life was not safe because the English Catholic bishops and priests were very angry with him. They even hired spies to try to stop him. Tyndale went to a printing press in Cologne where the printers were ready to help. He tried to keep his work a secret because of the English bishops. One day, Tyndale got a warning to flee for his life. A drunken printer had told a Catholic priest that the Bible was almost done. The priest had come to arrest him. William took the Bible and fled to Worms. This is where the Bibles were printed. They were sent to England with cloth, with articles for sale, in sacks of flour, and in many other ways. The Catholic bishop of England decided to buy all the Bibles and burn them. Only one problem, he tried to buy them from Tyndale's friend. Tyndale's friend sold them at a good price and gave the money to Tyndale who needed it to pay the printer and to keep on printing Bibles. Not long after, the Pope found him and sent some men to get him. He was later strangled and burned. William Tyndale made it possible for us to own and read the Bible.

Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

by: ASH (with Mom), 2008

He was born Gerrit Gerritszoon in Rotterdam, Holland, on October 28, 1466, and later took for himself the name Desiderius Erasmus. Erasmus is chiefly remembered for his fresh Latin translation of the New Testament from several Greek texts. Erasmus hoped that access to a more accurate translation of the Scriptures would liberate men from the corruptions of the Roman Catholic church. The Erasmus translation became the basis for Tyndale's English New Testament and Luther's German one. Roman Catholic critics condemned Erasmus for having "laid the egg that hatched the Reformation." For his part, Erasmus was a moderate, believing that the Catholic church should be reformed rather than abandoned. Consequently, Erasmus was often at odds with the very men who had benefited the most from his translation of the New Testament.

John Wycliffe (1324-1384)

by: LMH, 2008

Not much is known about John Wycliffe until his days at Oxford. There he made a name for himself by studying the Bible and debating doctrines with others. He soon saw the errors of the church and declared them openly. He became popular, and many befriended him. He would often debate with bishops, and on several occassions, he was summoned by the Pope. The Lord protected him through his work. In 1381, he retired to Lutterworth. There he worked on translating the Bible into English. His health was failing. In 1384, he died from the effects of a stroke. John Wycliffe lived a very godly life, and he truly was the "Morning Star of the Reformation."

John 1:1 in Five Translations

by: KGH, 2008

In the bigynnynge was the word and the word was at God, And God was the word. - Wycliffe, 1380

In the beginnynge was the worde, And the worde was with God: And the worde was God. - Tyndale, 1534

In the begynnynge was the worde, and the worde was wyth God: and God was the worde. - Great Bible, 1539

In the beginnyng was the worde, And the worde was with God, And that worde was God. - Geneva Bible, 1557

In the beginning was the Word, And the Word was with God, And the Word was God. - King James Bible, 1611

Overview of the English Bible

by: LMH, 2008

John Wycliff's handwritten Bible was the first in the English language. Eighty years later Gutenberg invented the printing press, and the first book printed was the Bible (in Latin).

William Tyndale was the leader of the English reformers. He translated the Greek Bible into English so the common person could understand it.

In 1517, Martin Luther nailed 95 Theses to the church door. This got people thinking. While all the attention was on Luther, Tyndale was working to complete his New Testament in English. Tyndale had to flee often to hide from those who wished to kill him. In 1525, Tyndale printed the first English New Testament. The Bishop of London tried to confiscate all the Bibles, but they continued to be smuggled in.

Tyndale was burned at the stake in 1536. Tyndale's assistants, Coverdale and Rogers, carried the project forward. Coverdale finished the Old Testament, and the first Bible was completed on October 4, 1535. It was called the Coverdale Bible. In 1537, another Bible came out (produced by Rogers). It was called the Matthew's Bible. In 1539, Thomas Cramner published an English Bible by the king's request. It was called the Great Bible because of its size. They used it in the churches.

Years later, the king died, and Queen "Bloody" Mary came to the throne. She began burning reformers at the stake. Many reformers fled to the church at Geneva. There they decided to produce a Bible. They completed it in 1557. It was known as the Geneva Bible. It became highly popular after Queen Mary died and Elizabeth became queen. The Geneva Bible spoke strongly against the institutional church of the day. Therefore, it didn't rest well with those in authority. So in 1568, the Bishops' Bible was introduced. However, it never won the hearts of the people. The Roman Catholic Church decided to print a Bible in English. So they printed the Rheim's New Testament.

When James I became king, he wanted a "translation to end all translations." Fifty scholars got together and came up with the King James version. It took many years and lives to come up with the English Bible. We should be very thankful.


Welcome to English Reformation, a website that is an outgrowth of our homeschool studies. In the coming weeks, we will be adding content from previous studies as well as our current year's project about the White Horse Inn study group.

The subtitle to this page is a portion of Hebrews 4:12 from William Tyndale's 1534 translation of the New Testament.