These are men who brought the Bible back into prominence in their generations, the Bible being the comprehensive and effective testimony of Jesus Christ.
These heroes of faith are listed in chronological order by date of death.
John Wycliffe (c. 1320-1384) – “an English Scholastic philosopher, theologian, lay preacher, translator, reformer and university teacher at Oxford in England, who was known as an early dissident in the Roman Catholic Church during the 14th century. Wycliffe was…an early advocate for translation of the Bible into the common language. He completed his translation directly from the Vulgate into vernacular English in the year 1382, now known as Wycliffe’s Bible.” (from his Wikipedia profile). Wycliffe died of natural causes (approximate age 64).
Jan Hus (1369-1415) – “often referred to in English as John Hus or John Huss, was a Czech priest, philosopher, reformer and master at Charles University in Prague.” (from his Wikipedia profile) Heavily influenced by John Wycliffe who had been born half a century before, Hus himself became an influence on Martin Luther who came a full century later. Like Wycliffe, Hus believed that that people should be allowed to read the Bible in the language they understood. Like Wycliffe’s followers, Hus’ followers endured persecution – including death – from church officials for even possessing a non-Latin Bible. Hus was burned at the stake (approximate age 45).
Martin Luther (1483-1546) – “a German monk, Catholic priest, professor of theology and seminal figure of the 16th-century movement in Christianity known later as the Protestant Reformation. His translation of the Bible into the vernacular (instead of Latin) made it more accessible, which had a tremendous impact on the church and on German culture. It fostered the development of a standard version of the German language, added several principles to the art of translation, and influenced the writing of an English translation, the Tyndale Bible.” (from his Wikipedia profile). Luther died a natural death at age 62.
William Tyndale (c. 1494-1536) – “an English scholar who became a leading figure in Protestant reform in the years leading up to his execution. He is well known for his translation of the Bible into English. He is well known for his translation of the Bible into English. He was influenced by the work of Desiderius Erasmus, who made the Greek New Testament available in Europe, and by Martin Luther. While a number of partial and incomplete translations had been made from the seventh century onward, the grass-roots spread of Wycliffe’s Bible resulted in a death sentence for any unlicensed possession of Scripture in English—even though translations in all other major European languages had been accomplished and made available. Tyndale’s translation was the first English Bible to draw directly from Hebrew and Greek texts, the first English one to take advantage of the printing press, and first of the new English Bibles of the Reformation. It was taken to be a direct challenge to the hegemony of both the Roman Catholic Church and English Laws to maintain church rulings. In 1530, Tyndale also wrote The Practyse of Prelates, opposing Henry VIII’s divorce on the grounds that it contravened Scripture.” (from his Wikipedia profile). Tyndale was strangled and burned at the stake (approximate age 42).
The Gideons – are an organization founded in 1899 at the YMCA in Janesville, Wisconsin by two traveling businessmen who met by chance when they shared a hotel room at the Central House Hotel in Boscobel, Wisconsin. [They]…began distributing free Bibles, the work it is chiefly known for, in 1908, when the first Bibles were placed in the rooms of the Superior Hotel in Superior, Montana. (from their Wikipedia article; more detail from the Gideons website)
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