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Session 3 – Truth Remains: The Tyndale and Matthews Bible

Expositor’s Conference 2013

Session 3 – Truth Remains: The Tyndale and Matthews Bibles (David Parsons)

Two faithful men – one who started the work, one who finished the work, both martyred for their work.

William Tyndale

  1. The movement to translate the Bible begins in western England in the 1510’s.
  2. Local authorities became alarmed at the teachings of Tyndale after his graduation in 1521.
  3. The nature of the concern over Tyndale’s teachings was his insistence on the sole authority of scripture.
  4. His teaching lead to accusation of heresy.
  5. Tyndale moved on to London to attempt to win over the Archbishop to his desire to give the Word of God to the people of England. He was not successful.
  6. In 1524 Tyndale moved to Hamburg and then to Wittenburg. It was in this environment that the New Testament was translated and prepared for printing.
  7. Arrangements were made to print the New Testament in Colonge. But the plan was discovered by Catholic authorities, forcing Tyndale to flee to Wurms. It was here that the New Testament was printed and then smuggled into England.
  8. The English authorities attempted to destroy these Bibles as they came into England.
  9. Tyndale was continually pursued through Europe. He ended in Antwerp, where he was working on the translation of the Old Testament and revising and printing the New Testament.
  10. Henry Phillips was able to convince Tyndale that he was sympathetic to Tyndale’s work. Phillips betrayed Tyndale to the Catholic authorities.
  11. Tyndale was imprisoned in Vilvorde castle for 16 months. The trial was a lost cause because the penalty for teaching justification by grace was death.
  12. Tyndale was executed in 1536.
  13. The Old Testament translation was not completed by Tyndale.


John Rogers

  1. Rogers was a Catholic priest who was converted by the Scriptures.
  2. He met Tyndale in Antwerp. Tyndale reasoned with Rogers from the Scriptures, and he then set aside the “yoke of popery.”
  3. Rogers spent 6 years in Antwerp with Tyndale and then moved to Wittenburg.
  4. Rogers took up Tyndale’s Old Testament manuscript in 1535.
  5. Due to changing circumstances in England, Rogers is able to finish the work of translating the Old Testament. It was printed under the name “Matthews” because it was still dangerous to translate the Bible.
  6. In 1550 Rogers returns to England in the midst of Protestant favoritism from the throne.
  7. In 1553 there is a civil war in England over the ascension to the throne. Mary Tudor ascends to the throne and reestablishes the Catholic rule over England.
  8. Many reformers flee England at this time. Rogers choses to stay and he continues to preach in defiance of the edict of Mary against Protestant preaching.
  9. Application: the lay person in the church is struggling because the pastor will not preach without regard to his own life
  10. Rogers is tried several times. He was imprisoned and then executed in 1555.