Thoughts on Fire in the Bones

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There are great history lessons in Wilcox’s Fire in the Bones. On page 49 the author explains the obstacles Tyndale faced as he attempted to translate and publish a version of the New Testament in English:

“His main obstacle was a document called the Constitutions of Oxford, which he had to get around. . .New laws forbade anyone of his own initiative to translate any portion of the scriptures into English or to read any such translation without the approval of a bishop or council.”

Why were they so scared? What was the danger? On page 77 he explains:

Such hostility may have resulted from Tyndale’s translation of several key words the church perceived as an attack upon its most favored traditions. Tyndale properly translated the Greek word “metanoeo” into the English word “repent” instead of “do penance”. He translated the Greek “ekklesia” into the English “congregation” rather than into “church”. . . and “confession of sins” became a much more simple “acknowledgement” or “admission” of them. . . Essentially, Tyndale was simplifying the doctrine, making it a much more personal, individual experience based on faith in the atoning mercy of Christ, not on the sacramental rites of a concrete body.”


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