John Wycliffe

October 31, in addition to being Halloween, is also “Reformation Day”, which is the day Martin Luther nailed
the 95 Theses to the door of Wittenburg Church and started the Protestant Reformation. Like almost all
non-Catholic churches, our church is Protestant, and so I felt it might be worthwhile to spend each week in
October talking about various reformers.

The first one is John Wycliffe. Wycliffe felt that there was power in God’s Word, the Bible. At the time, the
Catholic Church felt that only the Priests could interpret the Bible. Everyday people in the pews were forced to
accept whatever they were told by the Church. The Bible used at that time was in Latin, which only the
educated people spoke. Wycliffe and his friends took the almost unprecedented step of translating the Bible into
the language of the common people. He lived in England, so for him that was English.
 
Largely because of his work of translation, Wycliffe faced persecution. Almost 30 years after his death, he was
declared a heretic and his body was dug up and burned. The Catholic Church tried to destroy English copies of
the Bible, but it was too late. The people finally had God’s Word in their own language and wouldn’t let it go so
easily.
 
Today, as you read your Bible, thank God for the freedom to read His Words in your own language.