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Foreword and Acknowledgements

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William McRae plunges powerfully into the life of William Tyndale at the very point at which it is about to be extinguished, yet that death is about to bring Tyndale’s life to its very fruition. Tyndale’s poignant plea to his Lord to “open the King of England’s eyes” is answered when, within two years, the English Bible, of which Tyndale has contributed seventy percent, is to be made available, indeed at the king’s order, to all in each parish. The King of Kings has opened the eyes of the King of England!

Tyndale’s strongest desire, even as a young man, was to bring the Word of God to every English man, woman and child in their own tongue in order that all may understand God’s loving purposes for each. It is this pilgrimage that our author follows with faithfulness and care, but also with passion!

The story of Tyndale’s life, short as it was, is told in sections, each focusing upon an important stage:

  1. His education.
  2. His attempt to receive ecclesiastical patronage, and therefore an opportunity to translate into the “vulgar tongue” while in his beloved country.
  3. His disappointment and his consequent translation work in a number of European states, always harassed, once shipwrecked and driven hither and yon by the papal hounds.
  4. His printings of the New Testament, the smuggling of these across the English Channel and the distribution of the Word, with its accompanying danger.
  5. The cowardly betrayal of him, his following imprisonment and his ultimate trial and death.

The author continues by affirming William Tyndale’s great God-given skill in languages and in translation, his brilliant theological knowledge and understanding, his lucid (and sometimes sharp) controversies with Sir Thomas More, and his effect upon the early English Reformers. This is the story of a remarkable but little-known man, master of seven languages and of matchless sensitivity in his translation from the original tongues of the Bible into the daily converse of the common man — a converse that is made use of even today. This hero is clearly admired and carefully described by the author in this brief prologue.

—Carrington (Tony) Tyndale
(A grateful descendant of William’s brother, Edward, through thirteen generations)


This volume represents a revision and expansion of an earlier book published under the title The Birth of The Bible in 1984. The occasion for this printing is the renaming of Ontario Bible College and Ontario Theological Seminary to Tyndale College & Seminary in May, 1998.

To commemorate this transition our President, Dr. Brian C. Stiller, has asked me to update my work on how our Bible came to us and to feature the contribution of William Tyndale. I am grateful for the encouragement and support of the Board of Governors and administration of the College and Seminary for this project.

The overview of the process of how our Bible came to us is adapted from a chart prepared by my good friend and seminary classmate, Pastor Michael Andrus of Manchester, Missouri. An expanded version is developed in his unpublished notes on “The Doctrine of Scripture.”

I particularly appreciate two of my colleagues, Dr. Jim Beverley and Dr. John Vissers, who have read Chapter 4, “Inerrancy,” and offered helpful suggestions on the current discussions on inerrancy.

Dr. Tony Tyndale, (now with the Lord), thirteenth-generation descendant of William Tyndale’s brother, most graciously provided resource material on William Tyndale, reviewed the prologue, “William Tyndale: The Father of the English Bible,” and wrote the foreword.

Several people have invested many hours in the preparation of this manuscript: my wife Marilyn and Mrs. Janice Ball, typing; Audrey Dorsch, editing; Helen Hofstetter and Ruth Whitt, administration and assistance. For the skills and management of each one I am most grateful. Rob Clements, of Clements Publishing, has been enormously helpful.

A special thanks to Brian Burnet, Louis Eizenga, John Harlton and Gordon Weber, close friends who have made possible the publishing of this book.

—Bill McRae

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