English Bible of John Wycliffe

Wycliffe’s translations (1382-1395) were a catalyst for the Reformation.

January 1, 1384

The English Bible of John Wycliffe

The Oxford academic John Wycliffe (or Wyclif/Wickliffe) inspired, instigated and supervised the translation of the Bible into English from the Vulgate. He was motivated by his concern about the corruption of the church and its leadership. He realized the leadership had an interest in denying the laity access to the Bible for fear of the discovery of “a massive discrepancy between the lifestyles of the bishops and clergy and those commended – and practiced – by Christ and the apostles” (McGrath 2001:19).

Wycliffe sought to call people back to a biblical Christianity because he “believed that the people needed the Bible in their own language for a revival to take place” (Wegner 1999:282). An impetus for him was that the Czech wife of Richard II of England had Scripture in her heart language, but the King did not. The work was completed after Wycliffe’s death in 1384 CE. Although this translation was into common English and Wycliffe “fervently believed that the Bible needed no special interpretation even for laymen to understand” (Connolly 1996:77), it was not readily accessible because the printing press had not yet been invented. —Wycliffe.net

Burning the bones of Wycliffe in 1428, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (1563) [Image: Wikimedia Commons]

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References

Further Reading

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