English Bible timeline
The history of a book might be expected to be a boring subject, but such is not the case with the development of the English Bible.
Many have been encouraged to make a stand for the authority of the Word of God by William Tyndale’s bold words to assembled clerics, ‘If God spares my life, ere many years I will take care that a ploughboy shall know more of the Scriptures than you do’.
Tyndale’s subsequent death at the stake for his labours reminds us that the English Bible has come down to us sealed with the blood of martyrs. The men behind our English Bible were scholars, but not in ivory towers. They were prepared to lay down their lives for Christ’s sake.
The account of our English Bible is an exciting and challenging story. Encapsulating this on approximately 16 ft of timber, with a tasteful blend of beautiful illustrations and concise commentary, is also an immense challenge.
Free-lance Christian artist Abigail Mohon has risen to that challenge in a commendable way and produced a timeline that captures the tale of how we got our English Bible. The catalyst for this artwork is the 400th anniversary of the Authorised Version, in this year of 2011.
For most youngsters today, 1611 will not be a date in their historical calendar. This pictorial timeline will help both them and their parents appreciate the personal devotion that surrounded the emergence of the Bible in English, and the Authorised Version in particular.
Key figures emerge from the ‘canvas’, reminding us of the spiritual commitment, courage and evangelistic zeal involved in giving the people of our nation the Word of God in their own tongue.
The timeline, incidentally, reminds us that the Authorised Version was not a novelty, but a consolidationof Reformation scholarship stretching back to Wycliffe, the ‘Morning Star of the Reformation’ (1380), continuing through to Tyndale (1525) and less well-known versions such as Coverdale’s (1535), Matthews’ (1537), the Great Bible (1539) and the Geneva Bible (1560).
The Trinitarian Bible Society commissioned the timeline as part of its 2011 initiatives, including a commemorative edition of the Authorised Version, a new booklet providing a historical overview, and special deputation meetings throughout the country.
The timeline is destined for a place of honour in the Committee Room at the TBS headquarters, but will be copied onto display boards suitable for deputation speakers to use in their work.
We can be sure that such displays will catch the eye of today’s youth and generate interest in the Bible. Another history timeline produced by Abigail Mohon, with children from a local school, has already proved a huge success with staff, pupils and visitors.
This Bible timeline has the added advantage of clearly conveying the spiritual message that the Bible is a fountain of spiritual life. May it be greatly used by God to draw many to personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, who gave himself as the gift of God’s love, to save all who trust in him.