Inductive Method Overview - Introduction
Step back in time with me to the late-1300s. You work hard, but your effort is barely enough to clothe, shelter, and feed your family. The majority of those living in your community are in a similar situation. You, my friend, are one of the exceptional few who knows how to read the common language, English. That said, you and your community rely heavily upon the Pope's interpretation of Latin Scripture (the Vulgate) for understanding of biblical truth.
(You see, only the wealthy and the royal family are taught to read and only the religious elite are taught Latin, the language of the Scriptures used during the Holy Roman Empire. The Pope wields much power over all of the people - even over other powerful people!)
The Pope decrees his understanding of the Bible, so your local priest begins to interpret the Pope's teachings into your language. At long last, you have access to biblical knowledge, but only once it is "filtered" through the Pope and religious leaders. If something is misinterpreted, you have no way of knowing it. You don't even own a Bible!
John Wycliffe (1320-1384)
Morningstar of the Protestant ReformationCalvin Bryant, Florida, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Along comes a priest who serves as a professor at England's prestigious Oxford University, John Wycliffe. He understands Latin and notices that the teachings of the Pope (and other significant religious leaders) do not line up with what he finds written in the Bible. So, in 1382, Wycliffe produces an English translation of the Bible.
At long last, you hear Scripture in your own heart language. What joy! What you wouldn't give to own even a portion of it! In fact, you and many others are willing to save up a whole month's wages in order to purchase individual pages from a Wycliffe Bible! You, along with others like you, put your English reading ability to good use, traveling from town to town and village to village, so that you can read the Bible aloud for whole communities to hear. Many - MANY - hear the Gospel message of Christ's salvation for the very first time and become followers of Christ! Many hunger for more of the Truth found within God's Word!
The Scriptures have become... more available...
The religious elite of England issue this statement in response to Wycliffe's translation:
"By this the Scriptures have become vulgar, and they are more available to laymen and even to women who can read than they were to learned scholars that have a high intelligence. So the pearl of the gospel is scattered and trodden underfoot by swine."
Leaders of the church institution begin persecuting you and your traveling friends. They nickname you "Lollards". Some of your nearest and dearest friends are martyred as heretics because they are reading a page of this English Bible.
The institution expels Wycliffe, causing him to lose his teaching position at Oxford. He ends up in Europe, making every effort to smuggle English Bibles back to England. An enraged leader who later serves as Pope declares Wycliffe to be a heretic and orders his remains (44 years AFTER he dies) to be dug up and burned.
Meanwhile, people continue to hunger for more of the Word of God!
What is Your Response?
Return with me to today. How would you describe your hunger for Scripture?
- Reading/studying the Bible is like taking medicine: bitter going down, but good for you.
- Like Oatmeal, it's bland but nutritious.
- It's like candy - so delicious, you want more!!!
My hope for you, especially now that you realize what a privilege it is (and how EASY it is) to have the Bible in English, is that you enjoy reading and studying it even more than you enjoy candy!
Consider this your personal invitation to join me in devouring God's Word. Sign up for my free course, Inductive Method Overview!
Once you learn how to study the Bible effectively, we can go through it, book by book.
There are still a vast number of people waiting for translation of the Bible into their native language. Karen does her part to end Bible illiteracy by training pioneers to share the Gospel in their mother tongues so that God's kingdom can expand globally. If you would like to sponsor training for these pioneers, please sow financially toward Ed and Karen. Thank you, in advance!