Book Review – “Tyndale” By David Teems

“The Avon to the Severn runs, the Severn to the sea, and Wycliffe’s dust shall spread abroad, wide as the waters be.”

These words were those spoken of John Wycliffe (1328 – 1384) and his life work in placing the Bible within reach of the common man. With his work and that of countless others through the centuries the die was cast, the English Bible, the word of God in the tongue of the common man would be a reality. But for that reality a stiff price would be paid, for God’s word would be born out of bloodshed, persecution, and the dedicated work of men and women willing to suffer the flames of martyrdom.  

One such man who played a crucial role, and paid a heavy personal price for the dream of a Bible in the common tongue serves as the subject of the latest book by author David Teems, a man of whom little is known, yet a one who helped transform the world; William Tyndale. William Tyndale; The Man who Gave God an English Voice, chronicles the life of the man who possibly more than any other, is responsible for the Bible being made available to the English speaking peoples of the world.    

Though a great read the title of the book may come across to some as misleading, being that it doesn’t fit the form of biographies that we’re used to seeing. This however isn’t said to fault or criticize the author, the form and flow of this book, as with any biographical book is determined by what information is available concerning the subject, and not much is known about Tyndale outside of his written work.

Not only do we not know much about his life what is known about him is clouded in speculation. Personally I feel the subtitle of the book more adequately conveys what the reader will experience.   Teems skillfully walks us through not only the life of Tyndale as a historical, but also the work that bears his name, we get to see how the man did his work. We learn how he compiled his translations, using the ancient Hebrew and Greek texts available to him. We see how he chose the best fitting words for the translation, a work that not only conveyed Scripture to the masses effected both literature, including Shakespeare, and our  modern English language which utilizes words he introduced to us for the first time.  

One of the aspects of the book that enjoyed was Teems use of the original Old English texts. Though this may frustrate those not familiar with the language form I found it to be a treat. The work is one that is scholarly in scope, yet presented in such a way that one doesn’t have to be an academic to understand it. Though Teems doesn’t present Tyndale’s life in a chronological order, he does provide the reader with a chronological outline of the subject’s life in the appendices, which is most helpful when trying to put all the pieces together.

Tyndale was a man who believed that service was to be first and foremost rendered to God, then others in positions of authority. This affront aimed at both King and Pope eventually led to his demise. He was tried on a charge of heresy in 1536 and condemned to death.

Reports of the time tell us that his final words was a prayer uttered with fervent zeal, and a loud voice”, “Lord! Open the King of England’s eyes.” Within four years of his death, that prayer had been answered. By the order of Henry VIII himself four English translations of the Bible were published in England, including Henry’s official Great Bible, all of which were based on Tyndale’s work.

I found this book to be a great read, though not a “biography,” in the literal sense; it aptly conveys the story of a life that had a profound impact on not only his world, but our world as well. It’s a book that I would highly recommend to anyone who desires to know the story of how the Bible as we know it came to be.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their “booksneeze program.” I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions and views expressed here are my own.



About Jim

I'm currently the Communications Director for Missouri Operation for Vigorous Evangelism [MOVE] A Church planting ministry located in Jefferson City, MO. I believe that the church is the primary means through which God works in a community to love and redeem it. Here at MOVE we’re discovering new ways to be used for this purpose as God leads us and lights His path for us. As God forms this organization and shapes it for a new kind of world I want to be right in the middle of what He’s doing, traveling on this road of a disciple’s journey.

One response to “Book Review – “Tyndale” By David Teems”

  1. says :

    Thank you so much for applying some time in order to
    write “Book Review – Tyndale By David Teems ”.
    Many thanks again -Laura

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