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The Ploughboy (4)

Much work had been done, but much more was needed. The English New Testament was off to the printers, and shipments had already been smuggled into the steelyard of London. But England needed the whole text! And revisions were still a great necessity.

Early in the work, William Tyndale knew he would never be able to translate the Scriptures in his beloved England. He would surely be caught and burned at the stake, and so would anyone who tried to print it. But much of Luther’s writings were coming out of Wittenberg in Germany. Sympathy for Tyndale’s work—and safety—would likely be found in that place.

On May 27, 1524 a new student signed into the register of the university there: “William Daltin”—a clever reverse of syllables in his last name. Although he was on friendly ground, Tyndale could not be too careful. The tentacles of the Romish church reached beyond national borders.

But Tyndale was safe here in Wittenberg, and in the haven of the university with its library and most illustrious professor Martin Luther, he was able to complete the New Testament translation in less than a year. So far, so good. Now for the printing.

Tyndale went on to Hamburg and Cologne where the translation could be printed and shipped a little closer to England. In Cologne he found a printer, Peter Quentel, who was willing to do the work. Quentel was a staunch Roman Catholic, but a paying job was a paying job. The paper was handmade, the blocks rolled with ink, and the sheets were set out to dry. A big project—3,000 copies had been ordered and funded by the Luther-loving merchants back in England. The ploughboy would soon have his Bible!

But Cologne was a dangerous place. A conversation was overheard in the print shop. A man loyal to Henry VIII, king of England, and to the Church of Rome investigated further. Oh, what a prize, to uncover a plot to print the Scriptures in English!

But Tyndale overheard things, too. He and a companion came at night to the shop, gathered what printed pages they could, and fled…

What kind of men does David seek to be delivered from, and what is under their lips? Read Psalm 140:1-3 to find out!