How much do you treasure your Bible? How much is it worth to you? Not simply how much did it cost you to purchase; rather, among all your earthly possession how would you rank it? 

Two comments by the psalmist provide some perspective: 

  • Psalm 119.72 – The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
  • Psalm 119.127 – Therefore I love Your commandments above gold, yes, above fine gold.

Almost 500 years, on October 6, 1536, a man named William Tyndale was executed under Roman Catholic authority. His crime? He wanted to translate the Bible into English, so that anybody could read it. 

In about 1522, he heard a Roman Catholic priest say that men would be better off with the Pope’s laws rather than God’s laws. Tyndale responded, “I defy the Pope, and all his laws; and if God spares my life, before too many years, I will cause the boy that drives the plow to know more of the Scriptures than you do!” The rest of his life was dedicated to that purpose.

Tyndale was Oxford educated and was fluent in English, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, French, German, and Spanish. He had a remarkable grasp of the English language and an amazing ability to translate fluently, readably, and memorably. By the time of his death, he had translated the whole New Testament and at least half of the Old Testament. 

Tyndale’s translation was the first English Bible to draw directly from Hebrew and Greek texts; the first English Bible to take advantage of the printing press; among the earliest Reformation era English Bibles; and the first English translation to use “Jehovah” as God’s Old Testament name. His influence on the English Bible was so great that recent computer analysis shows that the King James Bible (published in 1611, 75 years after his death) used 83% of Tyndale’s words in the New Testament, and 76% in the Old Testament. 

How valuable was the Bible to Tyndale? So valuable that he spent the final years of his life translating it. So valuable that he traveled all over Europe to find places where his work would be unhindered. So valuable that he was executed for trying to make the Bible accessible to commoners. As he was executed, his final words were, “Lord, open the eyes of the King of England!” Four years later, English translations of the Bible were published and distributed in England by Henry VIII’s order. They were based on Tyndale’s work. His prayer was answered.

Bibles today are plentiful and cheap. Most of us have multiple print copies. Most of us have Bible apps on our tablets, phones, and computers. But it’s valuable only if we read it and use it. 

How valuable is the Bible to you?