jQuery Slider

You are here

TYNDALE discovered "justification by faith" and it flipped his world upside down

TYNDALE discovered "justification by faith" and it flipped his world upside down

By Chuck Collins
May 14, 2023

William Tyndale discovered "justification by faith" and it flipped his world upside down! He was a scholarly and devout Roman Catholic priest who knew Greek and Hebrew and five other languages.

While reading Erasmus' new Greek New Testament, he discovered what Martin Luther called the central teaching of the Bible. Tyndale saw for the first time that the works-righteousness and "just try harder" Medieval piety was not good news, but bad news.

The solution to the heavy weight of religiosity was not "do more" (which, of course, is never enough!). The good news is that God in Christ has done for us what we couldn't do. Something happens in the heart of someone who realizes that obedience and good works naturally and gratefully follow God's mercy and grace, and not the other way around.

When someone realizes that the central concern of Christianity is not our own faithfulness or obedience (do more and try harder religion), but belief and trust in a perfectly faithful God, their lives are changed forever!

This became Tyndale's passion, and what better way was there to share this good news of the gospel than to put an English version of the New Testament into the hands of ordinary men and women. William Tyndale famously wanted the plowboy to know the Bible better than Catholic priests.

His Bible translation was the first English translation of the Bible from original languages (1525). For nearly 1500 years the Bible had been locked away in a Latin translation so that church authorities could exercise power over the people of God with their own unbiblical and extra-biblical interpretations.

On May 8, 1528 Tyndale's "The Parable of the Wicked Mammon" was published explaining the doctrine of justification by faith. This little essay, beginning with a translation of one of Martin Luther's sermons, was not an exposition of Luke 16:1-13.

Rather, Tyndale used the passage to point out the contrast of two very different ways of looking at righteousness: the difference between salvation by increments (infused righteousness received in the grace of the sacraments over time to make someone increasingly acceptable to God), and salvation by faith in Christ's righteousness (the imputed righteousness of Christ himself that is exchanged for our unrighteousness).

"By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not the result of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8,9).

Get a bi-weekly summary of Anglican news from around the world.
comments powered by Disqus
Trinity School for Ministry
Go To Top