Seeing the 1526 Tyndale New Testament

I must admit I do love large metropolitan areas: the life and energy, the bookstores and libraries, the variety of people, the press of life and the urgency of reaching them for Christ... I love Manhattan for all of this. And London where I went today. Spent some time at the THE BRITISH LIBRARY - The world’s knowledge. Awesome to see Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Alexandrinus, two of the most precious Biblical codices.

Also thrilling was seeing the book for which the British Library paid the equivalent of well over two million dollars in 1994. Dr. Brian Lang, the chief executive of the Library at the time, described it as “certainly the most important acquisition in our 240-year history.” The book? A copy of the New Testament. Of course, it was not just any copy. In fact, at the time it was purchased there was only one other known New Testament like this one in existence, and that one, which is in the library of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, is lacking seventy-one of its pages.

The New Testament that the British Library purchased was lodged for many years in the library of the oldest Baptist seminary in the world, Bristol Baptist College, Bristol, England. It had been bequeathed to the College by Andrew Gifford (1700-1784), a London Baptist minister. It was printed in the German town of Worms on the press of Peter Schoeffer in 1526 and is known as the Tyndale New Testament after its remarkable translator—William Tyndale. It was the first printed New Testament to be translated into English out of the original Greek, and is indeed an invaluable book. Since then a third copy has been found in a German library.

But what a thrill to see it. How much we owe, under God, to Tyndale.