Friday, February 27, 2009

Book Review: Wycliffe New Testament

I'm so excited to have finished this one, the Wycliffe New Testament, 1388! The project did take six months--but they were an incredible six months. This little book got me excited about reading the Bible again. The time I spent in the four gospels--Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John--was wonderful. (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) I never got around to sharing my favorite quotes from John, so I'll take a bit of time (and space) here to share with you:

Be not your heart afeared, nor dread it. Ye believe in God, and believe ye in Me. In the house of My Father are many dwellings. If anything less, I had said to you, for I go to make ready to you a place. And if I go and make ready to you a place, eftsoons I come, and I shall take you to Myself, that where I am, ye are. And whither I go, ye wit, and ye wit the way.
That was from John 14. This is from John 15:

I am a very vine, and My Father is an earth-tiller. Each branch in Me that bears not fruit, He shall take away it. And each that bears fruit, He shall purge it that it bear the more fruit. Now ye are clean for the word that I have spoken to you. Dwell ye in Me and I in you. As a branch may not make fruit of itself but it dwell in the vine, so neither ye, but ye dwell in Me. I am a vine, ye are the branches.
I could go on, but I think that may suffice.

I just love this New Testament. I love the size--it's very compact. I love the language. I love the phrasing of it...phrases like 'nil ye dread' and 'love ye together more busily'. Words like beclipped and disturbled. Each time (or almost each time) an unfamiliar word is introduced for the first time (and only the first time) it is defined in the margins. Familiarity with the New Testament is a plus, of course. Reading this edition can be like putting puzzle pieces together. Your knowledge of the New Testament + the glossary + the context of the verse/passage = readability and accessibility.

From Hebrews 4 in the Wycliffe Bible:

For the word of God is quick and speedy in working, and more able to pierce than any twain-edged sword, and stretches forth to the departing of the soul and of the spirit, and of the jointures and marrows, and deemer of thoughts and of intents and hearts. And no creatures is unvisible in the sight of God. For all things are naked and open to His eyes, to whom a word to us. Therefore we that have a great Bishop that pierced heavens, Jesus the Son of God, hold we the acknowledging of our hope. For we have not a bishop that may not have compassion on our infirmities, but was tempted by all things by likeness--without sin. Therefore go we with trust to the throne of His grace, that we get mercy and find grace in covenable help.

The edition I read is excellent. It is "The Wycliffe New Testament 1388. transcribed by W.R. Cooper Into Modern Spelling." It is published by The British Library in association with The Tyndale Society.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible


Cynda Western Felini said...

Reminds me a bit of Literature classes and reading Chaucer, etc. Such fun but a lot of work too.

Love the picture of you by the way!

Rebecca Reid said...

Sounds like a wonderful way to revisit the New Testament!