At the end of this unit you will be able to do the following Things:
Complete a study of the creation of man in the book of Genesis and explain to someone else the way in which mankind is like the rest of creation and the way in which mankind is like God.
Identify at least 5 ways in which the image of God can be seen in people and take part in a discussion of the responsibilities and capabilities that God has given man in creation.
Explain the source of evil in the world, give one Bible definition of sin, and take part in a discussion of the way in which sin has affected the image of God in man.
Identify four ways in which man can sin and using the Bible, Explain how it is possible for man to stop sinning.
In this lesson we shall try to understand why people behave in such different ways.
In this first part we shall see what Jesus taught about man. But first it will be helpful for us to do some background studies in the Old Testament Book of Genesis.
Preliminary Study: The Creation of Man
To begin our study in the Old Testament, turn in your Bible to Genesis chapter one, and keep your Bible open to this passage. Read Genesis 1:27.
According to this verse, who created man?
According to Genesis 1:31, what were the world and the creatures God had made like?
Therefore, on the basis of this verse, we can see that man too must have been just after his creation.
But, there is more. Look back at verse 27 in this chapter. In whose image was man created?
God created ALL of His creation good. But, what does the Bible really mean when i says that man was created in the image of God? We have already learned that God has many attributes. They are His characteristics. Has God given all of these characteristics to man, or has He given only some of them? If it is true that only some of them belong to man, which ones are they? Study the list of God’s attributes below carefully.
God is Omniscient.
God is Omnipresent.
God is Omnipotent.
God is Infinite.
Does man share these attributes with God, we must see that they cannot be included in the phrase “the immage of God”. Being in God’s image does NOT mean that man has these attributes.
Below is another list of God’s attributes, man, like God, is capable of:
The ability to have personal relationships with others.
Able to love others.
Able to reason.
Capable of telling the difference between what is good and bad.
Capable of making beautiful things and to appreciate what is beautiful.
This suggest that these are the qualities which are meant in the verse which says that man has been created in the: But, in what way was man like the rest of God’s creation? He was .
There are many people today who believe that man is only a very intelligent animal. And, of course, it is true that some animals show something of one or more of the characteristics in our list of attributes. For instance, you all know that animals show signs of affection for one another and for the human being who treats them with kindness. But, how many animals have ALL of the characteristics which go together to form the image of God in man? (You may want to look at the list again before answering.)
So then, man has been created on a completely different level than animals, a level above them. For this reason, man is to be treated differently too. Read Genesis 9:6. In the verse you have just read, God points out the reason why it is such a terrible thing to kill a man. Why is it a serious thing to take another person’s life?
Now read James 3:9. In this place James is talking about the evil of using the tongue (with “IT”) to curse men. Why is this so bad? Because it means that we are talking against beings which have been made in .
The same idea lies underneath both the verses you have just read (Genesis 9:6 and James 3:9). To speak or act against man, who is made in the image of God, is equal to acting or speaking against God Himself! Look at it this way. If someone destroys or defaces a picture of the President of a country, who is the action really against?
To talk or act against the of God in man is the same as talking or acting against Himself. To respect the of God in a man is the same as respecting Himself.
In the list below: “click” on the box of those which show respect for the image of God in men, and leave blank the boxes when it is not shown.
One who makes fun of the poor.
The person who laughs and mocks the sincere beliefs of others.
The one who helps a blind person across a busy city street.
Whoever shows interest in an elderly lady and cares for her.
The person who takes advantage of the weaknesses of an alcoholic.
The police officer who treats offenders brutally.
The demonstrator who taunts the police officer and throws garbage at him.
What is the reason why men should be treated with dignity and respect?
Turn to Genesis chapter 1 once again. Read verse 26. What responsibility did God give to man? He was to ” the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
According to verse 28, what other responsibility did God give to man? Man was to ” the earth and it.”
That is, man was given the responsibility to manage, control, and use the resources of the physical world wisely. Now read Genesis 2:15. What aspect of this responsibility to manage the earth do we see here? Adam had to and the Garden of Eden.
We can summarize man’s responsibilities in the physical world by saying that God Authorized man to care for the earth and mad man Responsible to God for the way he managed the physical world. In other words, God made man an administrator of the earth and the things in it. It was possible for God to share this part of His authority over the earth because man had been created by God who shared a part of His own with man.
The word which is most often used to refer to man’s position in creation is the word: Steward. When we say that man has been made a steward over the earth, we are saying that:
Click on the boxes below beside the items which describe Good Stewardship and leave blank those which describe Bad Stewardship of the earth.
The person who throws garbage everywhere.
The farmer who carefully fertilizes the soil to produce good harvests.
The young boy who carelessly destroys branches on trees.
The factory owner who refuses to install pollution control equipment in his factory.
The person who buys containers which can be re-cycled.
One who enjoys cruel treatment of animals.
The operator who does not practice good conservation techniques in harvesting trees from the forest.
The fact that God made man a Steward means that man was capable of making his own decision (up to a point). He was not created as a robot, or a computer. Man was not to be a mere puppet in the hands of God.
There are some people who tell us that man does NOT have the ability to decide and act upon his own decisions. They say that man is like a computer which does exactly as it has been programmed to do. What act of God at the very beginning of the Bible shows this viewpoint is not true? The fact that God named man as a of the earth.
The fact that God did give man this great responsibility means that man has an ability to act in a way which is much like God. It is one of the ways that man shows the image of God. What is this? It is that man is capable of acting according to his own .
We must be careful to point out that there are limitations upon man’s ability to act and decide. He is not free to do as he pleases. For instance: he can not live for 1,000 years on the earth, or make himself right before God.
For just a moment, let’s make a comparison between man and a familiar machine. Think about the way a truck works. If the driver moves certain pedals and levers, he knows that the truck will begin moving Forward. When the driver had placed the transmission into a Forward gear, does the truck have the freedom to move Backward?
In other words, the truck must react in a certain way. It does not have any freedom. It cannot act according to its own .
Now let’s consider the way man are. Another person say, someone’s wife (who would know him very well) can guess the way in which he is MOST LIKELY to react when he gets some good news.
But does the man have the ability or the right to react in another way if he want to?
In other words, unlike the truck, the man does NOT have to react in a certain way. He does have the freedom to according to his own .
Because man is able to act and make his own decisions, he is able to influence: the atmosphere of his home, his friendships, the future of his country, but not the course of the stars.
Man; A Sinner
In this part we will see how the “image of God in Man was spoiled, and the consequences which have come to all men as a result.
We have already seen that Jesus’ answer to the Pharisees in Matthew 15 talks about the nature of Man. From that point we began a preliminary study of the Creation of Man. In what way was man like God, when he was first created?
in what way was man made like the rest of creation?
How happy man would have been if he had stayed that way! However, that was not what happened.
Now we shall see what Jesus taught about this in his two encounters with the Pharisees.
Begin our study by reading these two episodes in Matthew. Read Matthew 15:10-20. Read Matthew 16:1-4.
Notice that the Pharisees were accompanied by the:
in the first conflict with Jesus.
in the second conflict with Jesus.
In both cases, Jesus teaches the same lesson about man.
Each time the Lord talks about man in Matthew 15:10-20 (see verses 11, 18, and 20) He teaches that man is now .
In the same way in Matthew 16: 1-4, Jesus teaches that man belongs to a and generation.
So then, Jesus teaches that man, who had been made in the image of God, has now become , and .
How did this drastic change take place? When God had created man, He provided all that was necessary for man to live in this world. He also gave man some special instructions about what he was to do. Read Genesis 2:16-17 and keep your Bible open to this place. What was the only thing which God forbid man to do?
From how many trees could Adam and Eve eat?
So then, was the command God gave to man in Genesis 2:16-17 very hard to obey or was it really quite easy to obey?
Read Genesis 3:6. This verse talks about the reaction of Adam and Eve to God’s command regarding the tree. What did Adam and Eve do?
This acct, which is called Original Sin was disobedience to God’s first command. Man’s original Sin was an act of Rebellion against the of God.
In I John 3:4 we are given a definition of sin. According to I John 3:4, Sin is .
Whose law is broken when we sin?
Although man had a very promising beginning, he did something which ruined God’s image. What did man do?
Man’s sin did not only affect his own nature. All the rest of creation was damaged too. Open your Bible again to Genesis 3 and keep it open to this place.
according to Genesis 3:17, what happened to the earth as a result of man’s sin?
According to verse 18, what would the earth produce as a result of man’s sin?
Naturally, human life was affected in all of its aspects. Look at James 4.
According to James 4:1, what is the source of fights and quarrels?
In other words, they come from human
Now read verse 2 of James chapter 4. Murderers kill other human beings because they and do not have. In other words, murder is also the result of human .
We could continue to ask similar questions to these. For instance:
Question: Why are there so many poor and hungry people in the world today? Answer: They are the result of the greed, selfishness and laziness of men in general. In other words the root cause is really human
Question: Why is there so much injustice, violence, hatred, and oppression in the world? Answer: They are the result of cruelty, hatred, and selfishness of men in general. In other words, the root cause is really human .
So then the final cause of the evils that we see in creation and in human life, the cause of all suffering and misery is .
Find Matthew 15 again and keep your Bible open to it. Read verse 19. What is the first sin which Jesus mentions? . In other words, it is entirely possible to sin by wrong things.
What is the last sin mentioned in verse 19?
What sin is given before that one?
What part of the human body is used to commit these two sins?
In other words, it is also possible to sin by evil as well as thinking evil.
The other sins which are mentioned in Matthew 15:19 are all actions which man be committed. In other words, it is also possible to sin by evil.
There is still another important way in which we can sin. Read James 4:17. This verse teaches that it is also sin when we know that we should do something but we DO NOT do it.
We have seen from our study of Matthew 15:19 and James 4:17 that there are four ways in which we can sin. What are they?
the good that we should do.
In the spaces provided below, write which one of the four ways to sin matches the example given.
A murderer sins by evil.
A gossip sins by evil.
A person who does not care about his sick neighbor sins by
The person who lust sins by evil.
Whoever steals sins by evil.
A liar sins by evil.
Whoever does not try to improve the life of the poor sins by .
A person who bears a grudge sins by evil.
if the parents in a certain family are all quite tall, we normally expect that their children will also be
That obviously simple truth can also be applied to the moral and spiritual nature of mankind.
Even after they had sinned, Adam and Eve still had some of the of even though it was now damaged by sin. For this reason, we can expect that all of their descendants will also have some of the of even though it too will be damaged by sin.
But, after sinning, Adam and Eve had become sinners by nature, experience, and practice. For this reason, we can rightfully expect that their descendants will also have the same tendency which is called .
Find Romans 3 and keep your Bible open to that chapter.
According to Romans 3:23, how many men have sinned?
Read the last part of verse 22. Is there any difference between men in this respect?
Of course, men do sin in different ways, but there is no real difference in the sense that every person has
There are many people who do not like this teaching. But it is found in the teaching of Jesus and recorded in every one of the four gospels. Look at the list of things which come out of man according to Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 15:19.
What are these things like?
Where do they come from?
So then, according to Jesus’ teaching, what is the heart of man (his nature) really like?
Read Mark 10:18.
When the man in this episode called Jesus “good”, he was not really thinking about what he was saying. Jesus tried to make him think about his words when he answered:
“Why do you call Me good? No one is good — except alone.”
In other words, Jesus is teaching that there is not even one man who is
Read Luke 11:13. In this verse Jesus is explaining that we can be sure that God will hear and answer our prayer. As part of that teaching Jesus used the fact that people (‘you”)
Now read John 7:7. Jesus comments on His own teaching in this verse. According to Jesus, what did He testify about the world (that is, mankind)?
Note very carefully that Jesus is NOT trying to PROVE that all men are sinners in the verses you have just read. To him it is so obvious that it does not need any proof. He took the sinfulness of mankind as an unmistakable fact. Jesus was the one most likely to know this. John makes this point in John 2:24-25. There John writes:
“But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need mans testimony about man, for he what was in a man.”
The sin which has infected mankind has contaminated every man and woman in every part of the Homan nature. Look at what the Bible teaches about this by reading the following verses carefully and completing the questions below.
According to Titus 1:15, what has happened to the human mind and the human conscience?
Now read Jeremiah 17:9. What about the human heart?
According to Ephesians 4:18, what happened to the heart?
and what happened to man’s understanding?
In our lesson about human reason, tradition, and revelation, we established a rule for understanding the relationship between these three sources of religious ideas. Do you remember that rule? If the Scriptures go against Human Reason, we should follow the .
Remember that we came to this conclusion because the Scriptures have their source in while human reason comes from .
In today’s lesson we have seen another reason for our rule. Human reason cannot be trusted. As a result of sin, the human mind is and human understanding is .
Open your Bible to Matthew 7. Read verse 16 carefully.
Is it possible to pick grapes from thornbushes?
Why not? Because it would go against the of the tree.
In other words, the kind of fruit a tree bears depends upon the of the tree itself.
Only a change in nature can change man’s natural tendency to sin. Read II Corinthians 5:17. Is there any possible way for a change to be made in the nature of men and women?
According to II Corinthians 5:17, what is necessary to change the nature of Man? Man’s nature can only be changed as a person is in . That is, that person must be united to Jesus Christ by means of a personal and sincere faith.
Look at Paul’s words in II Corinthians 5:17 again. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a , the old has gone, the new has come!”
Now you should be able to explain why it is that man is capable of both great good and great evil.
Read Matthew 15:12. Let’s return to Jesus’ confrontation with the Pharisees and the Teachers of the law. How did the Pharisees react to Jesus’ teaching about man’s sinful nature?
Now read 15:21.
After this confrontation with the Pharisees, Jesus left them to travel on His second journey toward the region of and .
Note the results of rejecting Jesus’ words. According to 15:21, Jesus from the Pharisees.
Taking the Risk
Purpose: To discover what it means to take creative risks of our call.
In an ideal world, everyone would be absolutely sure what their calling was and what their gifts were. And everyone would know that using those gifts in their calling would lead to success and satisfaction. However, this is not an ideal world. So when we are in one job (and strongly suspect that our true calling is in another area) we may have to risk switching jobs, even though we are not 100% sure. We might risk giving up a secure job with a steady income for an unsure one with less certain finances. A college student may risk angering parents (who want him or her to go into the field they have visualized) in order to hold out for his or her own vision (even though that vision may be uncertain). In the real world, finding and following our calling involves risk-taking.
To say that taking risks is necessary to find our calling in the real world is not to say that all such venturing is bad. Actually, having to risk can be part of life’s excitement. Author Bruce Larson (in his book There’s a Lot More to Health than Not Being Sick) writes what his physician told him when he reached middle age. “Middle age is a time when people are advised to take it easy. You start to live very cautiously. You avoid anything new or risky and you end up hastening the whole aging process.” Risk can add to the excitement of life. And that can actually make us healthier! Larson goes on to discuss God’s role in this, writing: “I acknowledge that risk for risk’s sake, while it may be healthier, is not very productive. But God seems to be calling us to a life of creative risk. We are to be those people who are prayerfully seeking to bring about God’s will and way in the affairs of men and who can give themselves to those causes with abandon.”
Creative risk – it is a vital ingredient in finding and living out your call. This session will help us to see what it means to risk as we search for that call. In the first part, we will look at the parable of the tallents (Matthew 25:14-30. In it, we will consider how Jesus commended the servants who took some risks to invest in the kingdom. The following parable is one of the many that Jesus told to clarify our role in doing the work of the kingdom of God.
Read Matthew 25:14-30
Based on this parable, if Jesus were an investment counselor today, what kind of investment strategy do you think he might advise?
What did Jesus mean when he said, “For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have in abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away”?
Who do you identify with in this parable?
What kind of reward do the faithful servants receive from the master? What rewards sound most appealing to you, as you serve Jesus Christ.
How do you differentiate between healthy risk-taking and foolhardy risk taking?
Write three of the tallents which you have discovered or which others have said you have?
How are you currently “investing” them in your life?
What changes would be necessary in order for you to be more satisfied with your life’s investment?
What is Jesus teaching you in this parable?
This parable (similar to the one in Lk. 19:11-27) underscores three points: (Christ’s kingdom will not be established at this time; (2) discipleship means faithful service to God while awaiting Christ’s return, and (3) judgment awaits those who fail to invest themselves in the work of the kingdom.
No More Timidity
We will examine Paul’s advice to young Timothy that he not approach life with timidity. The following passage was written to Timothy, a young Greek who Paul took under his wing. It is a personal world of Encouragement to Timothy to be faithful.
Read 2 Timothy 1:3-14
At what point (s) can you identify with Timothy in this passage?
if you had received a letter like this from an older Christian, how would you have felt?
Why did Paul refer to the faith of Timothy’s mother and grandmother?
Who were the people in your family who (like Lois and Eunice for Timothy) inspired you to faith? Who has been a mentor to you (like Paul was to Timothy)?
What did Paul mean when he told Timothy to “fan into flame the gift of God” that was within him?
What did Paul mean when he said “God did not give us a spirit of timidity”?
In what situations are you most like to have a “spirit of timidity”?
What would it mean for you to have a spirit of “power, love and self-discipline”?
What would you have to do to “fan into flame the gift of God that is within you?”
Imagine that you truly put aside your “spirit of timidity” and acted in a spirit of “power, love and self-discipline.” How would you use your gifts in service to God and others?
Close with a short time of prayer. Choose one of your gifts and use it in a new way this week – for others or for God. Not the results, both in terms of how others are affected and how you feel about using your gift in this new way.
KING JAMES’ TRANSLATORS
1. At Hampton Court
MAY YOUR MAJESTY BE PLEASED,” said Dr. John Rainolds in his
address to the king, “to direct that the Bible be now
translated, such versions as are extant not answering to the
Rainolds was a Puritan, and the Bishop of London felt
it his duty to disagree. “If every man’s humor might be
followed,” snorted His Grace, “there would be no end to
King James was quick to put both factions down. “I
profess,” he said, “I could never yet see a Bible well
translated in English, but I think that of Geneva is the
These few dissident words started the greatest
writing project the world has ever known, and the greatest
achievement of the reign of James I–the making of the
English Bible which has ever since borne his name. The day
was Monday, January 16, 1604. The scene was the palace at
Hampton Court, with its thousand rooms built by Cardinal
Wolsey and successfully coveted by Henry VIII.
King James was new to the English throne but his
reign in Scotland had already brought him experience of
religious differences. Those more than political
considerations divided the people who thronged the roads and
cheered the new king on his way from Edinburgh to London.
Most urgent of the many pleas received during the royal
progress was the Millenary Petition of the Puritans, called
so because it had a thousand signers, a tenth of the English
clergy. “The fantastical giddy-headed Puritans,” wrote the
Archbishop of York to the Bishop of Durham, “are very eager
that they may be heard.”
Another religious faction, the English Roman
Catholics, had sent from France a petition for more freedom.
The king could overlook the Catholics, but the Puritans had
been gaining ground for a generation and their demands were
specific. They opposed Sabbathbreaking and the keeping of
other holy days, baptism by women in their homes, display of
the cross in baptism, bowing at the name Jesus, and other
practices considered high church or popish.
James’s answer was to call a meeting to talk about
what was “pretended to be amiss” in the churches. Because the
plague was making havoc in London, where it was to kill
thirty thousand, the meeting was first postponed and then set
for Hampton Court, a safe distance from the plague-ridden
In the huge rose-red brick palace not far from
Hounslow Heath, with its stone gargoyles, twisted chimneys,
mullioned windows, and cloistered walks, the king and his
friends had reveled since before Christmas. For more guests
than the thousand rooms could hold, tents stood in the superb
gardens and the broad deer park. In December it was too cold
and foggy to enjoy the tennis courts, the tilting ground, the
bowling alleys beside the swift, chilly Thames. Even James,
reared in the cold of Scotland, wore so many clothes that his
weak legs could hardly bear the burden. But there was hunting
with bows and arrows to warm the blood, and there was sport
enough indoors, what with dancing, drinking, and heavy meals
cooked in the long brick ovens.
Fireplace heat was a comfort to those near it. Those
away from it endured what the English called a frowst, of
about sixty degrees. The air must have been heavy and stale
for there is no record of baths in the palace, though the
court used perfumes and pomanders and the king kept his hands
soft as sarcenet by never washing them, merely dipping the
royal fingers into bowls of attar and other balms.
For the entertainment of the court, Shakespeare’s
actors performed plays for a fee of twenty gold nobles for
each day or night, with an extra tip of five marks from the
king. After Christmas, in a masque called “The Twelve
Goddesses” staged by Inigo Jones, Queen Anne and eleven maids
of honor took part. They wore their hair down and many
thought their gauze costumes scandalously sheer, although the
queen wore over hers a blue mantle embroidered in silver with
the weapons and engines of war. Flutes and viols played
sweetly. Francis Bacon was present at this performance. The
gay season, as brilliant as any in Elizabeth’s reign,
immediately preceded the parley about church matters.
Instead of asking the Puritans to send men of their
own choice, James and his advisers named just four, among
them JOHN RAINOLDS, whom we may justifiably call the father
of the King James Bible. President of Corpus Christi College
at Oxford, Rainolds was called the most learned man in
England. With him to Hampton Court went LAURENCE CHADERTON
from Cambridge, who with Rainolds was to become a translator
of the new Bible, and two other Puritans who were to have no
part in it. The four were not admitted to the meeting until
its second day. Confronting them were a group of fifty or
sixty high churchmen, the lords of the council, deans,
bishops, and even the Archbishop of Canterbury, rich old JOHN
WHITGIFT, though he was not far from death.
The place of meeting was the king’s privy chamber, a
large room in Henry VIII’s state suite on the east side of
the clock court. (As George II altered the part of the
palace, no one can now see the spot where Rainolds stood when
he proposed the translation. The best account of that day was
written by WILLIAM BARLOW, Dean of Chester, who also was to
become a translator.) The chief speakers were RICHARD
BANCROFT, Bishop of London, Rainolds, and the king.
James, at thirty-seven an old young man who sputtered
because his tongue was too large for his mouth, came in and
said a few kind words to the lords, and sat down in his chair
which was somewhat removed from the cloth of state. Prince
Henry, ten years old, sat near his father on a stool. The
king took off his hat when he thanked Almighty God for
bringing him into the promised land where religion was purely
When Rainolds’ turn came, some said that he spoke
offhand of the new Bible, amid much talk of other matters. He
stressed four points: that the doctrine of the Church might
be preserved in purity according to God’s word; that good
pastors might be planted in all churches to preach the same;
that the church government might be sincerely ministered
according to God’s word; that the Book of Common Prayer might
be suited to more increase of piety.
Though these points were hardly disputable, the
meeting got into odd wrangles over lesser concerns. The
Puritans, though not so much Rainolds, opposed wedding rings.
James, who spoke of his queen as “our dearest bedfellow,”
said, “I was married with a ring and think others scarcely
well married without it.” James had a good time with jokes;
when Rainolds, unmarried, questioned the phrase in the
marriage service “with my body I thee worship,” the king
said, “Many a man speaks of Robin Hood who never shot his
bow; if you had a good wife yourself, you would think that
all the honor and worship you could do to her would be well
bestowed.” Rainolds won his laugh later when, in the argument
against Romish customs, he said, “The Bishop of Rome hath no
authority in this land.”
Though all tittered at this remark, the king himself,
like Rainolds and many others present, had been born in the
Church of Rome; the faith the king defended was less than a
century old. For all his solemn and flippant talk, James had
really but one devout belief–in kingcraft. Though Sir Edward
Coke heard him say at the trial of Sir Walter Raleigh, “I
will lose the crown and my life before I will alter
religion,” the crown was his reason for being, and he had
experienced enough extremes of religion to know there could
be no easy definition of it. In Scotland he had turned from
Romanism despite the fact that–or perhaps because–his
mother was a Catholic. But in his homeland he had also known
too much of Presbyterianism and rabid Calvinism. Perhaps he
meant it when he said stoutly enough, “I will never allow in
my conscience that the blood of any man shall be shed for
diversity of opinions in religion.” But he did allow such
bloodshed, in an era still bloodstained. After all, James was
the son of Mary of Scotland, who helped bring about the death
of his father, and he owed his throne to Queen Elizabeth, who
had given the word to behead his mother.
To make up for that tragic past he had now to
maintain his own divine right as king, sitting among men who,
though they knelt to him–Bancroft kept falling to his knees,
and even old Archbishop Whitgift knelt–argued among
themselves over matters about which he knew and cared little.
As the day wore on, more and more points of difference came
John Rainolds impugned the policies of Bishop
Bancroft and urged that “old, curious, deep and intricate
questions might be avoided in the fundamental instruction of
a people.” Oddly, in view of his own historic position, one
of Rainolds’ complaints was about the role of books. He was
against freedom of the press because youthful minds must be
protected. “Unlawful and seditious books might be suppressed,
at least retained and imparted to a few, for by the liberty
of publishing such books so commonly, many young scholars and
unsettled minds in both universities and through the whole
realm were corrupted and perverted.” Why should anyone read
what is clearly wrong? Rainolds was for an elite to tussle
with the hard sayings while the masses stayed calm, humble,
almost dormant. Here the king was nearer modern thought and
told Rainolds that, in taxing the Bishop of London that he
suffered bad books, he was a better college man than
Bancroft for his side denounced the Puritans to his
Majesty as “Cartwright’s scholars”–their leader Thomas
Cartwright had just died–“schismatics, breakers of your
laws; you may know them by their Turkey grogram.” At the
meeting the men of the Established Church of course wore
their proper habits of office while the four Puritans showed
their disdain for churchly garb by appearing in plain coarse
fabric gowns. The Cartwright reference was serious because
Cartwright had been the boldest of those who stormed against
bishops; he thought the Church should have only elders.
Worse, he thought the Crown should be under the Church. James
knew well that the Church, with all its bishops, must be
Rainolds was Bancroft’s target because, it may be,
Bancroft was loath to gibe at Chaderton, the other effective
Puritan, who was his lifelong friend. Many of the learned men
had long known each other. England at that time had only a
few million people and ten thousand clergy, and friendships
among scholars were widespread. Rainolds and Chaderton had
gone to Cambridge together, and in a Town and Gown brawl
Chaderton had saved Bancroft’s life, nearly losing his own
right hand to do so. Of the other two Puritans present,
Thomas Sparke sat and said nothing while the fourth, John
Knewstubs, “spoke most affectionately but confusedly.”
The royal ire rose first at Rainolds, though later
the king learned to endure him. With his own party Rainolds
lost some esteem because they considered that, awed by the
place and the company and the arbitrary dictates of his
sovereign, he fell below himself. But the king made his angry
opposition clear. Sir John Harington, the genius who invented
the privy, was present and wrote to his wife that “the king
talked much Latin and disputed with Doctor Rainolds, but he
rather used upbraidings than arguments….The Bishops seemed
much pleased and said his majesty spoke by the power of
inspiration. I wist not what they mean, but the spirit was
rather foul mouthed.”
As the crossfire increased and the meeting got
rougher, perhaps the king saw that a diversion was wanted and
seized upon Rainolds’ one acceptable proposal to heal the
breach. Or perhaps James, who thought of himself as a gifted
Bible student, was sincere in seeing the need for a new
translation even though the idea was advanced by the wrong
side. Elizabeth before him had given some support to those
who wished to see the Geneva Bible supplanted. James himself
as a young man had tried his hand at making verses from the
Psalms, and had written a commentary on Revelation.
The English people were Bible readers. Even before
Wycliffe’s Bible, the first in English, had enabled those who
could read to know the Scriptures, early pieces in English
had gone from hand to hand. The Wycliffe translation from the
Latin text of the Vulgate was the foundation of Protestant
thinking in England, its survival under ban and circulation
in manuscript copies proof that the new Church was based upon
a religious revolution and not merely the whim of a king
determined to have a divorce the Pope forbade. An English
Bible was one to be read by the common people. Educated men,
high churchmen and university scholars and royal persons, not
only read Latin easily but wrote and spoke it with ease.
Their private prayers, not merely those of the Church, were
in Latin; so were addresses to the king. As a boy in Stirling
Castle, the young James who would grow up to be king of both
Scotland and England, complained that they tried to make him
learn Latin before he knew Scots. The tongue of the Church
was useful as a common language for visitors from foreign
lands, provided they were of the educated class. But the same
class distinction kept the common folk who knew no Latin from
reading the Bible.
William Tyndale was first to undertake a printed
English Bible. Having studied under the great Erasmus at
Cambridge, he began translation of the New Testament–from
the original Greek and not the Latin translation. At first he
hoped to get help from the Bishop of London, but Henry VIII
and his bishops were not yet willing to let the people read.
In 1524 Tyndale went abroad, a virtual exile, first to
Germany where he saw Luther at Wittenberg and made
arrangements to have his New Testament translation printed at
Worms, using funds given him by a London merchant.
Proscribed by Henry VIII, the first English New
Testament to be printed had to be smuggled into the country,
and what copies could be seized by the authorities were
burned. At Marburg, Germany, Tyndale proceeded with Old
Testament translations, and with books that set forth
Reformation doctrines. Henry VIII meanwhile, although he had
left the Roman Church, demanded that Tyndale be returned to
England to be punished for sedition. Tyndale remained on the
Continent but at Antwerp in 1535 he fell into the hands of
Emperor Charles V, who thrust him into a dungeon near
Brussels. He was shortly sentenced as a heretic, and died at
the stake. His last prayer was, “Lord, open the King of
Not all the Tyndale New Testaments were burned, and
enough of them reached England, beginning in 1526, to make it
certain that one day there would be an English edition. In
1535, the year of Tyndale’s death, Miles Coverdale edited and
produced on the Continent the first complete English Bible,
based on Tyndale, the Vulgate, and Luther’s and Zwingli’s
translations. As Coverdale was a diplomat, he dedicated the
book to Henry, and had no trouble with English publication.
However, the Coverdale Bible was popularly known as the Bugs
Bible because of its reading of Psalm 91:5: “Thou shalt not
nede to be afraid of any bugges by night.” Two revised
editions appeared in 1537, carrying “the King’s most gracious
Still another Bible, more closely related to
Tyndale’s pioneer work than Coverdale’s, appeared in 1537–
the so-called Matthew’s Bible. This Bible also obtained a
royal license. First published in 1539 it was called the
great Bible and was read in churches. But the household Bible
of the English people was the one which was produced at
Geneva in 1560 and was translated by William Whittingham, who
married Calvin’s sister-in-law. Its popularity was due in
part to its size–it was small enough to hold, while the
church Bibles measured more than fifteen inches long and nine
inches wide. Aside from its size, the Geneva Bible found
favor among the followers of Calvin and Knox, but others
found fault with its marginal notes and also with its
wording. It was called the Breeches Bible because its reading
of Genesis 3:7 was “and they sewed fig leaves together, and
made themselves breeches.”
At the time of the Hampton Court meeting, most
Protestants, especially the Puritans, still read and defended
the Geneva translation. In slurring it, James may have
thought to balance his agreement with Rainolds by nettling
them. Yet at least one rampant Puritan, Hugh Broughton, the
famous Hebrew scholar, had called for a new Bible. As for the
bishops, fifteen of them, as far back as 1568, had worked on
a revision in the Bishops’ Bible. In 1584 they won royal
sanction for their version, known as the Treacle Bible
because it asked in Jeremiah 8:22, “Is there not treacle in
James’s real reason for objecting to the Geneva Bible
was rooted in his need to feel secure on his new throne. Some
of the marginal notes in the Geneva version had wording which
disturbed him: they seemed to scoff at kings. If the Bible
threatened him, it must be changed. Away with all marginal
notes! And indeed if you read them in the fat Geneva volume
you will find many based on dogma now outworn. James may have
had some right on his side; he was far from witless.
So clever indeed was his handling of the meeting
that, although he gave the Puritan pleaders no satisfaction
and actually threatened to harry them out of the land, he
appeared to some observers to lean toward them. Indeed, the
dean of the chapel said that on that day the king played the
For their part the Puritans, with outward meekness
and inner grumbling, found grace to yield enough to stay well
within the Church of England. Yet after all the talk ended,
it seemed they had won nothing. Indeed there was only one
gain: the new Bible.
Having spoken, James went on about his royal
business, which had nothing to do with translating
Scriptures. At Royston, not far from Cambridge, he was
converting a priory mansion and two old inns, set in six
hundred acres, into a royal shooting box. Royston he came to
esteem beyond all places for the hunting of hares, rabbits,
partridges, bustards, and plovers. But the king hunted at
Newmarket too, where also there was horse racing. When he had
to return to town for the first Parliament of the new reign,
he occupied the new royal apartments in the Tower of London
and there, in the Lion’s Tower, the king watched three dogs
set upon a lion, which tore two of them apart.
Time to decide about the Bible had to be found
between these duties and pleasures, but the king knew how to
delegate power. As soon as James showed approval of Rainolds’
proposal, the ambitious Bishop Bancroft suppressed his own
adverse thoughts and prepared to carry out the royal will
with zeal and dispatch. Robert Cecil, who had served
Elizabeth, served James as well; James called him “my little
beagle” and made him Lord Salisbury. With Cecil, Bishop
Bancroft talked things over and chose the men to work on a
proposal, perhaps casually broached, which the royal will had
now raised to a splendid design. Tyndale’s prayer was now
answered in full: James I had ordered what Tyndale died to
Fervent for what his master wished, Bancroft wrote to
an aide: “I…move you in his majesty’s name that, agreeably
to the charge and trust committed unto you, no time may be
overstepped by you for the better furtherance of this holy
work….You will scarcely conceive how earnest his majesty is
to have this work begun.”