Translating the Scriptures
s he stayed in the house of Sir Walsh, he labored in continuing to preach the Gospel. However, the rage of the priests increased and Tyndale, concerned for the wellbeing of the Walsh family, decided to move to London and pursue his dream of translating the Scriptures. He sought out Bishop Tunstall, who was a scholarly man and greatly admired Erasmus. But when Tyndale presented the idea of translating the Bible into English, Tunstall would not be a part of it. Tyndale then met with Humphrey Monmouth, a wealthy cloth merchant in London. It was here that Tyndale found a friend and supporter of the Gospel. Monmouth gave Tyndale the financial backing to publish the Bible, but because of the persecution rising all around him, Tyndale left the country and sailed to Hamburg, Germany in May 1524. It was here he found friends of the Reformation, united under Luther, enabling him to start his work on the New Testament. William Roy was one of those friends who aided him in his work. In Hamburg, he finished the translations of Matthew and Mark and had them printed, and sent to Monmouth secretly, thus making up what Monmouth called the “little book” in 1524.
Tyndale and Roy left Hamburg and arrived at Cologne in April 1525. Cologne offered superior printing advantages, but the city was a stronghold of the papacy. Tyndale, being aware of this, obtained obscure lodgings. When his manuscripts were ready for the press, he arranged 3,000 copies to be printed by Quentel and Byremans. The printing began in secret. However, John Cochlaeus, an opposer of the Reformation, learned from the printers, in an evening of too much drinking, of the secret project. It is revealed that two Englishmen, skilled in languages, were in the city for the purpose of superintending the production of the English New Testament. The printers had already begun their work of a quarto edition of the Scriptures. Cochlaeus took immediate action and informed the authorities. He also warned Henry VIII and his councilors to prevent the importation of the New Testament at every seaport. Tyndale, learning of their betrayal, secured all the manuscripts and the pages of print thus far and escaped to Worms. Here, by the end of 1525, he completed his work, publishing 6,000 copies, in two editions, an octavo and a quarto, of which only two are extant today.