Thought for the week

I THESSALONIANS 2:9 “…we proclaimed before you the good news of God.” The gospel of God and the good news of God: they are one and the same. The word gospel means good news.

Wherever the Christian faith has been taken, there you will hear the gospel, spoken in the language or dialect of that country or its various peoples.

If you visit the attractive town of Richmond in North Yorkshire, take time to walk round the market place. Look out for a special house. It has a very important connection with the Bible. John Wycliffe lived in this house way back in the middle of the 14th century. Who was John Wycliffe? Don’t look at your Bible. You won’t find his name on any page. But had it not been for the skill and knowledge, the courage and bravado of this man of Richmond, then odds are you would not be reading your Bible today – at least in English.

John Wycliffe lived at a time when the Papacy reigned supreme. He studied at Merton College, Oxford. There he was led into a study of the scriptures. Gradually Wycliffe discovered in them a kind of inner light amidst the spiritual darkness of the church.

At that time the Bible was only available in Latin – the language of the church. Through daily study of the scriptures Wycliffe found profound truths that appeared contrary to church teaching. He realised also that because ordinary people were largely uneducated, they could neither read nor understand the Latin language of the Bible.

So, as the invention of printing gradually developed, Wycliffe proceeded to translate the Bible from Latin into English. In doing so he reaped the enormous wrath of the Church of Rome. In time Wycliffe was pronounced a heretic, but in spite of enormous pressure from Rome, he was able to continue his work of translating and preaching.

Today among numerous Bible societies, the work of the Wycliffe Bible Society continues to translate the scriptures into many languages and dialects.

The Revd. Dr. KDF Walker