The reformation brought many changes to the church that ended Catholic false doctrine. But there was one change more than any other that transformed lives.
The people could read and study Scripture for themselves!
It’s common knowledge that the Bible was originally written in Latin, which only the priest could understand. It was also literally chained to the pulpit so people would not read it on their own. The reason why is the Priests knew their beliefs were based on words of the Pope instead of Scripture. If the people learned this, they would reject Catholicism.
With the birth of the reformation, there was a return to putting Scripture in the hands of the people
- John Wycliffe translated the first English Bible from the Vulgate
- Erasmus printed the first Greek New Testament
- 6,000 copies of William Tyndale’s English translation of the New Testament come from Germany into England
- While burning at the stake Tyndale prayed “Lord, open the eyes of the king of England!” God answered that prayer with the King James Version Bible translation in 1611
Why focus so much on Bible translation?
Because God uses Scripture!
Yesterday I wrote about the conversion of Martin Luther who was saved by reading the small phrase in Romans 1 “the just shall live by faith” in the Greek New Testament compiled by Erasmus. At that moment the Holy Spirit revealed the truth of the Gospel to his heart.
There are many other stories of hearts transformed as men and women read (and understood) Scripture in their own language. This is not surprising because the Holy Spirit is promised by God to illuminate our hearts and minds through the truths of the Bible.
So the reformers continually went back to making Scripture clear so the people could understand….and God could do His work.
The application for us today is God still uses His word.
Its easy to become distracted by programs, ministries, or outreaches (all good things) and neglect the simple teaching of Scripture. Sadly just like the Catholic church, that is the last thing Satan wants us to do! He would rather see us do ANYTHING but teach and explain the Bible, because this is what god uses.
This doesn’t mean we ignore all other ministries of course. But it does mean we keep coming back to the proclamation and explanation of Scripture. Because it is then that God speaks through us.