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Called the "Morning Star of the Reformation," John Wycliffe was responsible for the first significant translation of the Scriptures into English. Born around 1330, Wycliffe spent many of his years arguing against the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church which he believed to be contrary to the Bible. Wycliffe was convinced in his day that there was a need to turn to the Scriptures as the primary rule of life. In order to do that, since the Scriptures of the Church of his day were in Latin, those Scriptures had to be translated into the common language of the day, which for him was English. So he and several of his colleagues began the translation work in the 1370s. The first Wycliffe New Testament appeared in 1382. Because Wycliffe lived nearly a century before Gutenberg invented the movable-type printing press, all of his New Testaments and Bibles were hand-written manuscripts, produced one at a time. His work created a thirst for the Bible in the language of the common man. That thirst led to the insatiable desire for Bible translations that came to being in England in the 16th century, starting with the translation work of William Tyndale and the first printed English New Testament in 1525.

Item Description

This copy is a facsimile reproduction of the very first translation of the Scriptures into the English language. The Wycliffe translations were hand-written manuscript Bibles, pre-dating printing by 70 years [Gutenberg, 1455].


Biblical Heritage Gallery, Cedarville University, John Wycliffe