One of the really important things that the Reformation did was that it enabled people to start reading the Bible in their own languages. The Bible had been restricted to those who were able to read Latin.
Worse than that, there were some substantial errors in the Latin translations. For example, the word that should be translated “Repentance” had been translated as “Do penance.” A first stage in the Reformation process came even before Luther and Calvin when a scholar called Erasmus went back to the Greek and Hebrew texts and spotted those mistakes.
When you are able to pick up a copy of the Bible easily from your local book shop or simply download it at a click of the button, it is easy to forget that those who first translated the Bible into English did so at great risk to their own lives and freedom. It is because of people like William Tyndale that we can read the Bible in our own language.
Why does being able to read the Bible for yourself matter? Well, if we believe that this is God’s Word, then it is as we read it that we will hear God speak to us directly.
Remembering with thanksgiving the sacrificial work of Bible translators should encourage us to do two things.
1. To treasure God’s Word, to read it daily, to listen carefully when it is read and expounded to the congregation and to seek to allow our whole lives to be shaped by it.
2. To support those who are engaged in Bible translation today as they seek to ensure that every nation, tribe and tongue can have God’s Word in their own language.