Reading about William Tyndale recently, I realized that many are the heroes of the Christian faith, some among them martyrs, who have paid the price for the translation, printing and publication of the Bible in English.
Tyndale, called by some as "The father of the English Bible", underwent immense persecution, imprisonment and finally was strangled and burned at the stake in 1536 for translating the Bible in to English.
At a time when Bible translation was prohibited by the church, he had a burning desire to make available the Bible in English, so that the commoner in England could easily read it. Educated in Oxford and Cambridge, he could speak seven languages and was good at Hebrew and Greek.
He traveled to Hamburg, Germany and worked on the New Testament and got it printed in Cologne, but the press was raided; he however escaped with the printed pages to the city Worms where the New Testament was soon published. Around 6000 copies were published and smuggled to England. King Henry VIII was furious. Some bishops burnt the bibles, others bought them to destroy them. Another called it the
"Testament of the Antichrist."
Tyndale hid in Antwerp and began translating the Old Testament while the King's soldiers searched England and Europe for him.
Finally, Henry Phillips, an Englishman, who befriended him, betrayed his trust and Tyndale was captured by soldiers.
On October 6, 1536 he killed by strangling and burning. Some say, his last prayer was "Lord, open the eyes of the King of England." Around 3 years later, King Henry VIII ordered every church in England to make a copy of the English Bible available to its worshippers.
Around 90% of the King James Version and 75% of the Revised Standard Version are from the Bible translated into English by William Tyndale.
I believe when he was burnt at the stake, Jesus was welcoming him in heaven saying, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!" (Matthew 25:21)