2.5 Wycliffe New Testament 1388

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Wycliffe New Testament 1388: An edition in modern spelling, with an introduction, the original prologues, and the Epistle to the Laodicieans. William R. Cooper, ed. 2002. British Library. 528 pages. [Source: Bought]

ETA: I believe this is the third time I’ve read (and reviewed) the Wycliffe New Testament. I do love it. It isn’t one that I read for understanding/comprehension. It is more of a burst of flavor. I like some of the phrasing, some of the archaic peculiarities. It was a delight to spend time with this one again.

Can you imagine NOT having a Bible in your own language? Today we’re used to dozens and dozens of translations to choose from–all in English, of course. But this wasn’t always the case.

This New Testament is a translation from the Latin into English–the first of its kind. It was translated not by John Wycliffe himself, but, by his followers, the Lollards. The 1388 edition was published after Wycliffe’s death in 1384. Essentially, the Lollards placed great value in the authority of the Scripture, and wanted the Bible to be translated into English so everyone could read it for themselves. The Bible was not for the religious or academic elite, but, for everyone.

After the initial translation was finished, talented scribes set to work copying out the Lollard text. With the dangerous associations of Lollardy, both Church and State sought its elimination, and in 1401 a statute was issued banning the Later Version upon pain of death. Lollards were prosecuted for their beliefs and their ownership of forbidden texts. The efforts, however, failed to stop the reproduction of the texts, and scribes continued to copy faithfully the Lollard texts, risking great danger to themselves. (vii)

Is this a translation for each and every believer? Probably not. But it is a joy and treat for some I imagine!

Is it reader-friendly and accessible? Yes and no. Your knowledge of the New Testament + the glossary + the context of the verse/passage = readability and accessibility.

For God loved so the world that He gave His one begotten Son, that each man that believes in Him perish not, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world that He judge the world, but that the world be saved by Him. He that believes in Him is not deemed. But he that believes not, is now deemed, for he believes not in the name of the one begotten Son of God. And this is the doom, for light came into the world, and men loved more darkness than light, for their works were evil. (John 3:16-19)

Therefore Jews grouched of Him, for He had said, I am bread that came down from heaven. And they said, Whether this is not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we have known? How then says this that, I came down from heaven? Therefore Jesus answered and said to them, Nil ye grouch together. No man may come to Me but if the Father that sent Me draw him, and I shall again-raise him in the last day. (John 6:41-44)

Nil ye deem, that ye be not deemed. For in what doom ye deem, ye shall be deemed, and in what measure ye mete, it shall be meted again to you. But what see thou a little mote in the eye of thy brother, and see not a beam in thine own eye? Or how say thou to thy brother? Brother, suffer I shall do out a mote from thine eye, and lo, a beam is in thine own eye? Hypocrite! Do thou out first the beam of thine eye, and then thou shall see to do out the mote of the eye of thy brother. (Matthew 7:1-5)

Therefore, brethren, I beseech you by the mercy of God, that ye give your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing to God, and your service reasonable. And nil ye be conformed to this world, but be ye reformed in newness of your wit, that ye prove which is the will of God, good and well-pleasing, and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)

For by grace ye are saved by faith, and this not of you, for it is the gift of God, not of works, that no man have glory. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

And do ye all things without grouchings and doubtings, that ye be without plaint and simple as the sons of God, without reproof in the middle of a shrewd nation and a wayward, among which ye shine as givers of light in the world. (Philippians 2:14-15)

Joy ye in the Lord evermore, eft I say, joy ye. (Philippians 4:4)

Savour ye those things that are above, not those that are on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:2-3

Did I love it? Yes, I loved, loved, LOVED it. This is actually the second time I’ve read this one. I read it the first time in 2009, I believe? It‘s been a while. But it was a great way to start off the new year!!!

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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