His Power from Reformation to Reformation

Malachi 1:11  “My name will be great among the nations from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the Lord Almighty.

Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther, bravely, at peril of his own life and well-being, posted his list of 95 grievances on the door of Wittenberg, Church. Thus began what has come to be known as the Protestant reformation. Martin Luther longed to spark a debate among his fellow leaders and even parishioners, that would expose the man-made components the “proclaimed gospel” of the church at that time. But God—as is so often the case—had a far bigger spark in mind. Luther’s protest of the church’s corruption moved him to begin a translation of the Scripture into the language of his people. And where the Word of God is accessible, true life change occurs.

Within four months, Luther had completed his first draft of the German New Testament even though he was not a Greek scholar! He knew it needed revisions, but he had it printed. Then he went about the task of involving other friends who were scholars in biblical languages to help edit, revise, and polish the manuscript. In a year and a half this was completed and Luther began work on the Old Testament.

God’s Word testifies that it is useful for training, correction, reproof, instruction in righteousness, and the building up of the faith! (2 Timothy 3:16; Romans 10:17). And that is exactly what Luther’s translation did. As the people of Europe began to get God’s Word in the language of their heart, change took hold. A period, characteristically known as the Dark Ages, was snuffed out, by the radiant light of God’s precious Word.

Tyndale, a British contemporary of Luther, carried the same God-driven fire in his heart. He was determined to provide a Scripture his people could read and understand for themselves, even at the peril of life. And he encouraged his potential readers to take the same view: “Let it not make thee despair, neither yet discourage thee, O reader, that it is forbidden thee —for if God be on our side, what matter maketh it who be against us, be they bishops, cardinals, popes.”1 Tyndale paid with his life for this view, but not before he had translated God’s Word into the English language.

So here we are five hundred years later—still reaping the harvest of blessing, planted by the obedience of these and other godly individuals who insisted God’s Word is intended for everyone. Tyndale, even in his wildest imagination could not have expected his work to pave the way for 100s of English translations and 1000s of translation projects throughout the world. Tyndale trusted God for more than he could imagine, and God did exactly that. Truly, “No eye has seen, no hear has heard, nor the heart imagined what God has prepared for those who love him…” (1 Cor. 2:9)

Now I get to be part of Wycliffe Associates, an organization that follows in the footsteps of leaders like Luther and Tyndale–getting God’s Word to the people of the world in the language of their heart. I get to see the faces of individuals receiving God’s Word in their heart language for the first time. I hear their exclamations, “Now I get it! Oh this is good!” and “I never new that before!” I’ve traveled with freshly printed Bibles into areas where the government forbids evangelism, and I’ve watched the lines of eager villagers, as they approach to receive their own Bible– grandmother who clasped the Bible to her heart, saying, “I can’t read it; but my grandchildren can. They know how to read. And I will give it to them so they can read it to me” and the young man, proclaiming, “This will really make a difference in my family–for my wife and kids.”

God promised his name would be great among the nations! His Word runs through out the earth, blazing a trail of glory for His name and His renown.
God has declared it…It has happened; it is happening; and it will happen.

We celebrate His past work, we participate in his present work, and we can only imagine the ways in which he will continue to build for the future when every tongue tribe and nation will be represented before his throne!

Happy Reformation Day!
1 Galli, Mark, and Ted Olsen. 131 Christians Everyone Should Know. Broadman & Holman, 2000.

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