Why Would a Church Ban the Bible?

We’re celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this month by exploring its hidden history. In this post, Dr. Mark Ward explains why publishing God’s Word was such a source of controversy in the Reformation era.

Learn more about the events that laid the foundation for the Reformation in our Reformation 500 timeline.

Maybe you’ve heard the story before: prior to the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church forbade the translation of Scripture into common languages.

Now, Protestants had plenty to protest in this era, but it simply isn’t true that vernacular translation was totally forbidden. But the Roman Church did forbid it in some places at some times—and England, 1408, was one of them.

Why?

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4 Ways to Thank Your Pastor this Pastor Appreciation Month

October is Pastor Appreciation Month. What do you give to a person whose calling is to spend himself for others? The key to good gift-giving is tapping into what the recipient values, even if it’s not what the giver values. Here are four suggestions of how to show your pastor some appreciation, written from the perspective of someone who’s actually done pastoral work.

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How Paragraph Breaks Can Help You Understand the Bible

Greek New Testament manuscripts often use paragraphs to indicate a shift in thought. But modern editors have not felt bound by these paragraph divisions: each Bible text may have its own.

Paragraphing is a necessary task for translation—and a help for interpretation. In my last twenty-four hours of Bible reading and preaching, I came across two separate places where paragraphing helped me ask interpretive questions—and achieve interpretive insights—I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

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3 Tips for Professors Training the Next Generation of Ministers

Using Bible software is now a key ministry skill. And if you are training the next generation of pastors, missionaries, and Bible teachers, your students need you to teach them that skill whether they know it or not.

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What a 400-Year-Old Bible Preface Can Teach Us about Translations

On Wednesday I posted a translation of the wise and valuable—and largely forgotten—preface to the most important English Bible ever: the King James Version. Today’s Christians think of the KJV as settled, established, widely accepted, and honored. So when I took the time to re-read the translators’ only recorded words about their epochal work, I was surprised that they felt they needed to spend so much space defending themselves. They never could have predicted that their translation would dominate English-speaking Christianity far into the future.

From their 400-year-old wisdom I draw several lessons for Bible translation and Bible study today.

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A New Translation of a Bible Translation Preface

When I first read the KJV translators’ preface, I was surprised to see that they fully expected a cold reception to their work. They could have no idea that their Bible would one day be praised even by non-Christians for its literary quality and cultural importance.

The KJV translators felt they had to defend the very idea that another English Bible translation was necessary. They wrote a preface, “Translators to the Reader,” that is as superb as it is timely. But it also happens to be lengthy, and written in a historical form of English readers today will find difficult. So I have both condensed it and translated it into today’s English. But I’ve done my best to add nothing: everything you’re about to read, from arguments to (wonderfully pithy) illustrations, comes straight from the KJV translators.

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3 Simple Ways to Find That Quote or Passage You Can’t Quite Remember

I don’t just read the books in my Logos library; I use them.

I use them for preaching, for writing, for study, for personal emails, for online discussions with friends. I use my digital books in Logos so often that I get frustrated when the information or pithy quote I need is stuck between the cardboard covers of a paper book—or the intro and outro of an audio book.

For any fiction I read this is unimportant; I just don’t need to go back for specific quotes in such books. But without the many search and other tools in Logos, paper non-fiction books and reference works are harder to use for my various callings. I can’t find what I need.

With Logos, sometimes you don’t even need to run a search to find that quote or passage. Here are some of my favorite little ways you can get Logos to help you use—not just read—your books.

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2 Quick Hacks That Will Help You Learn from Early Christians

My Christian tradition has heroes like every other. This is good, at least when the heroes are good; it’s biblically sound to have heroes (Heb 12:1). The Bible itself offers its (nonetheless flawed) characters in part as moral examples, as heroes. Part of the purpose of the story of Joseph is to make us say, “I ought to be like that”; and Paul outright calls on us all to imitate him, repeatedly (John Frame calls this phenomenon “revelation through persons”).

In my tradition of Reformation Protestantism, all the heroes tend to have arrived on the scene precisely (and this year, I mean precisely) 500 years ago or less. People named “Saint So-and-so” don’t get much airtime.

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3 Free Logos Features That Make Seminary Easier

If you go to seminary, there are a certain tasks you will be asked to do. I don’t have to know which school you’re going to or what classes you’re taking. You’ll be doing these things. Three of them. Promise.

I’ve used pretty much all the major tools out there to do them, and I’m going to show you the best ones—and how to get them for free.

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Do We Have to Answer Every Tough Bible & Theology Question?

Truly understanding someone you deeply disagree with is exhausting. It’s a labor of love.

A friend with different politics recently brought up a subject about which I know “my side’s” position but not my own. I sensed he was attacking my tribe, but I couldn’t speak intelligently enough about the issue to have a worthwhile debate. I found my mental energy flagging as soon as this friend brought up the topic.

The same fatigue occurs sometimes when it comes to biblical and theological questions. I sometimes sit staring at my Logos screen wondering whether I have the energy to tackle a given question. I take comfort from two proverbs:

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