You are here:Home-Resources-Counsel of Chalcedon Magazine-1995 Issue 3-On the Life and Work of William Tyndale

On the Life and Work of William Tyndale

I am greatly honored to speak about William Tyndale who is one of the most distinguished old members of my College. He was born 500 years ago in Gloucestershire near Slim bridge, just where the Cotswolds descend into the valley of the Severn. At the age of 12 he went to Oxford to study at Magdalen Hall, which is one of the predecessors of Hertford College, and stayed there 11 years until he was 23. He studied languages, literature, philosophy and theology, becoming a great scholar, and eventually taking holy orders. Then he may have gone to Cambridge for a while to study under Erasmus, before returning to Gloucestershire at the age of 27, where he worked at little Sodbury Manor for two years as priest and tutor. There he found himself clashing with the local clergy: for example one day he was arguing with a learned man who said to him:

"We were better be without God's law than the pope's." Tyndale was appalled and made his famous reply:

"I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of the scripture than thou dost".