The King James Bible & William Tyndale

The King James Version of the Bible (KJB), translated by William Tyndale, has had more influence on the world spiritually than any other book since its publication in 1611 — over 400 years ago.  In addition, there are more copies of it published than any other book; more than a billion have been published and the publishing rate increases.  No other book exceeds that.

Consider these Questions:  1. How Accurate is the King James Edition of the Bible?  2. Are There Serious Consequences from Inaccuracies?

Many consider the KJB the most accurate English translation.  I will show there have been, and are now, and will be serious consequences from KJB inaccuracies.   At the same time, we are grateful that the KJB may be the most accurate of the English translations, and in large measure we can thank William Tyndale for that – an unsung hero.

It is ironic that when King James convened his 51 scholars in 1604 to perform the translation over the next several years, they ended up using most of Tyndale’s translation; 76% of the KJB is Tyndale’s.  His whole life focus was to bring the Bible into English.

He was a gifted linguist and became fluent over the years in French, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Spanish, in addition to English.  Between 1517 and 1521, he went to the University of Cambridge. Erasmus had been the leading teacher of Greek from August 1511 to January 1512, but not during Tyndale’s time at the university.  Later Tyndale was greatly influenced by Erasmus’s translation of the New Testament in Greek.

But yet, as I discuss in “It’s About Time”, chapter 3 of my book, “What is God’s Word?” every translator by nature is influenced by his beliefs.  We would not expect it to be otherwise.  He wants his translation to line up with what he believes to be true!  So, as we look at the beliefs of Tyndale, who has had more influence on the world spiritually than perhaps any other person, what are they?

From Wikipedia we read:

“Tyndale denounced the practice of prayer to saints. He taught the supreme authority of Holy Scripture, the doctrine of the Trinity, the sovereignty of God, the deity of Christ and His divine glory as the Son of God, His saving work and mediation as the sole basis of man’s salvation, the importance of the covenants, salvation by grace alone, baptism in the name of Christ, justification by faith, the return of Jesus Christ, obedience to God’s law, the evil of idolatry and superstition, the necessity of Biblical reformation, and that the Papacy was anti-christ. More than just a Bible translator and scholar, William Tyndale was a gifted theologian, and could therefore in many ways be called the first English Puritan.”

Grace or Works or Both?

As I share in “It’s About Time”, chapters 17 and 18, if we ask how modern Christianity lines up with ancient Christianity at the time of Christ and the Apostles, we find some significant and serious dichotomies.  This blog article,  “Are We Saved By Grace or Works” gives some aspects.  There is a fascinating book by David W. Bercot, Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up, that reveals some of these dichotomies as well, and it is fascinating to learn that the “saved by grace and not by works” doctrine had its main origin with Martin Luther, who greatly influenced William Tyndale, and this doctrine did not exist in the pristine primitive church established by Christ and His apostles.

The doctrine of being saved by grace is fundamental to Christianity, and we should teach it and believe it.  But in Chapter 18 of my book “It’s About Time”, I list a large number of scriptures from the Bible that say we will be judged by our works.  The “not by works” teaching is pervasive in the evangelical world – keeping them from seeing or believing the fullness of gospel, as taught beautifully in the Book of Mormon.

Christian Creeds

Similarly, the doctrine of the trinity originated with the creeds – starting with the Nicaean Creed about 321 AD – and also was non-existent in the early church’s teachings.  Not only are the creeds vague, but they are impersonal – moving the Godhead far away from most Christians.  Yet Jesus in his last great High Priest’s prayer said, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)  In other words, the process of gaining eternal life is the process of coming to know God the Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus the Christ.

We see that we have the serious consequence of the false doctrines coming from the creeds destroying the path to eternal life, and most of Christianity believes in these creeds – including Tyndale.  It took the first vision of the Prophet Joseph in the spring of 1820 to open to the world the true nature of God, which is taught in the Bible and in the early Christian Church,  but masked by the creeds.

Off Spring of God

Another fundamental teaching lost over the dark ages, but which is also taught in the Bible, is that we “are the offspring of God.” (Acts 17:28-29)  As I explain – using the scientific method in Chapter 2 of my book – each of our spirits had a pre-mortal birth.  We are literally children of God with the inherent potential to become like God, as Jesus asked us to do in the Sermon on the Mount: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48)  What an incredible promise and potential we have, which teaching has been lost to almost all current Christians, and precious each of us is as His child.

So while Tyndale’s contributions to the world’s spirituality are enormous, many have been led astray by distortions in Bible translations and by many misinterpretations due to false traditions.  No one’s world view is perfect.  We do the best we can, and we do our best when we follow the counsel of the Savior, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)  Peter’s counsel in this regard is most apropos; only the Spirit of Truth can help us know the Truth’s of God:

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:20-21)

Tyndale’s  Inspired Work

I believe Tyndale was raised up by the Lord to do the work he did.  He was held to be a man of virtuous disposition, leading an unblemished life.  His main mission in life was to bring the Bible into the English language in as pure a form as was possible for him to do.  Tyndale told a clergyman, who was worried that William’s work be considered heretical, “… if God spares my life, ere many years, I will cause the boy that driveth the plow to know more of the Scriptures than thou dost!”  Clearly, He was influenced greatly by the Spirit of the Lord, as attested by his contributions to the KJB.

A fascinating attestation of the inspiration given by the Lord to Tyndale is in how he preserved phraseology having its origin in the Adamic language. See this article.  as shown in this article.  This important phraseology tying all of scriptures together — both ancient and modern — is lost in essentially all other English translations of the Bible.

For his enormous contribution, Tyndale died as a martyr at age 42 at the hands of Henry VIII.  His last words were, “Lord! Open the King of England’s eyes.”  Three years later there was an English version of the Bible staked to every pulpit in the churches of England — thanks to Ann Boleyn, who loved Tyndale’s Bible.

The King of Heaven

Now my plea is, “Open our eyes to the King of Heaven!”  The need for repentance and especially in this land of the free (America) is paramount!  Let us by pass the false traditions that have crept into Christianity over the centuries, “And look to God and live,” (Alma 37:47) and live the beautiful truths brought forth through the Prophet Joseph Smith and the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  How blessed we are to Have the Book of Mormon translated one time into English by the gift and power of God.  The Bible contained the fullness of the gospel until the translators did their thing.  It took the 51 scholars seven years for the KJB to do 24%; the other 76% came from William Tyndale.  Professor John Welch of BYU documents that it took Joseph 65 working days at 20 words a minute to miraculously translate the Book of Mormon from ancient reformed Egyptian script with Hebrew nouns added.  A language of which he knew nothing — translated for him by the gift and power of God.

David W. Allan