Daily Reformation, Romans 16:17-20
About the Reformer
A story of what happened after William Tyndale realized there had been an error in the printing of his Bibles…
It happened that one Augustine Packington, a mercer, was then at Antwerp, where the bishop was. This man favored Tyndale, but showed the contrary unto the bishop. The bishop, being desirous to bring his purpose to pass, communed how that he would gladly buy the New Testaments. Packington hearing him say so, said, “My lord! I can do more in this matter than most merchants that be here, if it be your pleasure; for I know the Dutchmen and strangers that have brought them of Tyndale, and have them here to sell; so that if it be your lordship’s pleasure, I must disburse money to pay for them, or else I cannot have them: and so I will assure you to have every book of them that is printed and unsold.” The bishop, thinking he had God “by the toe,” said, “Do your diligence, gentle Master Packington! get them for me, and I will pay whatsoever they cost; for I intend to burn and destroy them all at Paul’s Cross.” This Augustine Packington went unto William Tyndale, and declared the whole matter, and so, upon compact made between them, the bishop of London had the books, Packington had the thanks, and Tyndale had the money.
After this, Tyndale corrected the same New Testaments again, and caused them to be newly imprinted, so that they came thick and threefold over into England. When the bishop perceived that, he sent for Packington, and said to him, “How cometh this, that there are so many New Testaments abroad? You promised me that you would buy them all.” Then answered Packington, “Surely, I bought all that were to be had, but I perceive they have printed more since.
—John Foxe, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs
Pulling It Together
God will accomplish his purposes. He did so in England with Tyndale’s translation. He did so in America because of Tyndale’s translation. Is the English Bible having God’s desired effect in you? Which character are you in the story? The bishop who burns the Bible? The merchant who markets the word? Or one who would at all costs, get the word of God into the hands and hearts of people so that each might know the purposes of divine love?
© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers