Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Man After My Own Heart

I have a copy of the 1560 Geneva Bible - it fascinates me because the English, though just post-Middle English, is understandable and forceful. Now I have gone further. I have found this website, which is a PDF document that compares all the major pre-King James Version Bibles in their translations. The Wycliffe translation from the late 1300's through the Geneva, which was the last major translation before the King James in 1611.

I've just started reading the PDF document, but I also was directed by that document to a web site that features the original Wycliffe translation in all it's Middle English glory - still understandable, I think, and gloriously beautiful.

The Bible that we know has been around a long, long time - it is, I believe, the Truth, God's Word, and it has survived from the original writers to this day, and not without considerable persecution, sacrifice and bloodshed.

Wycliffe translated the Bible from Latin, which few people, even few priests, understood at the time, to English. John Purvey, a scholar who worked closely with Wycliffe, and was a follower of his, was unable to face martyrdom by burning, at the stake, so he did what the Catholic Church at the time demanded, and recanted his position. He felt guilty after that and eventually took up preaching openly again, and was again imprisoned. No one knows exactly when he died, but I can SO identify with this man. I admire those who have given their lives for the cause of Christ, for the furtherance of the Gospel. I don't just admire them, I know I could never be like them. That's why John Purvey, a wonderful scholar and preacher, a supporter and helper of Wycliffe, and an editor of Bible translations in his own right, is a man after my own cowardly heart. I believe he is in heaven today, having gone to a reward well earned. Perhaps he wasn't the stellar saint that other martyrs were, but Purvey served the Lord, and fulfilled His will. So, he fell, and gave in to the threat of horrible bodily harm - how many unnamed saints of the Lord have done the same over the last 2000 years? Not many mighty are called - and I am not even close to the stature and bravery of a John Purvey, let alone someone even braver and greater. Yet I know the Lord loves me, has provided and will provide for me, and I pray that I can fulfill even one small portion of His will before I meet the fate of all men.

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