Thanksgiving for the Scriptures

Posted by TJ Klapperich on 11/21/2007

I have been teaching our church a series on How We Got Our Bible.  The story of how the Bible came from the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek originals to modern languages is a study in the providence of God.  The wealth of material that testifies to the Bible exceeds any other ancient document by thousands.  The ancient witness of manuscripts like the Dead Sea Scrolls or the New Testament Papyri destroy any conspiracy theories about the Bible being changed.  The Dead Sea Scrolls for example predate the New Testament in some cases and predate the next oldest Hebrew manuscripts by almost one thousand years.  Yet, the earlier manuscripts are essentially the same as the later manuscripts.  There is absolutely no evidence or even chronological opportunity for tampering to take place.

 

As we consider the Bible in English we can be thankful for the great price that was paid to insure we would have the Bible in our own language.  Wycliffe, the first man to translate the entire Bible into English (actually with a lot of help from assistants), was persecuted for his translation work.  After his death his bones were burned at the stake and his ashes were scattered.  He was considered excommunicated by the Roman Church.  I have always found this humorous; as if an angel tapped him on the shoulder in heaven (he was originally buried in “holy ground”) and informed him that he was allowed into heaven by mistake.  Later men like Tyndale and John Rogers translated the Bible into Modern English.  Both men eventually paid with their lives for their work on the Bible.  Tyndale was strangled and burned at the stake.  John Rogers was executed by Mary Tudor during her attempt to return to Roman Catholicism.  Men in the past paid with their blood to give us a Bible in our own language.  By God’s providence, these sacrifices were paid great dividends.  Today, most American homes contain a Bible.  Many Christians own several copies of the Bible, often with choices of various translations.  During this Thanksgiving time we can give thanks to God for many things, but the Bible should be near the top of our list.