History of English Bible Translation 09 Myles Coverdale 1535

History of the English Bible - Chapter 9

Bible Timeline Myles Coverdale 15351535 Myles Coverdale's Bible

Myles Coverdale

On October 4 in 1535 the first complete English Bible was printed, using translations by William Tyndale and his friend, Miles Coverdale. Coverdale was alone to see the first copies of this Bible roll off the press in either in Zürich or in Cologne since English Bible HistoryTyndale was already in prison.  Tyndale's death on October 6, 1536, came less than a year before his Bible was legally for sale in England, "set forth with the king's most gracious license."

Unlike Tyndale, Coverdale had the good fortune to publish after Henry VIII's break with Rome and the political atmosphere at the time was favorable to an English translation of the Bible. 
Coverdale’s Training

Myles Coverdale knew German and Latin well, some Greek and Hebrew, and a little French.  He based his work on the Zurich Bible of Zwingli, the Vulgate, the Latin text of Paginius, Luther's Bible, and the previous work of William Tyndale.  So while Coverdale is the first complete English Bible to be printed, it is not considered to be 100% a primary translation since much of the Old Testament was not translated out of the original languages.

Coverdale was a leading figure in the Reformation. Myles Coverdale participated in translation of the Great Bible as well as the Geneva Bible.  Cloverdale returned to England when King Henry VIII died.  He was imprisoned by Queen "Bloody" Mary and then released, at the request of King Christian of Denmark.  He moved from England to Denmark and then to Geneva where he worked on the Geneva translation.

We owe to Coverdale the words, "forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors (the "trespasses" version is Tyndale's), "tender mercies," and "the valley of the shadow of death." Coverdale's Bible is sometimes known as the Bugs Bible because of the verse  'Thou shalt not nede to be afraid of any bugges by night' (Psa 91.15).

Myles Coverdale Bible Leaf

About this photo - This is a parallel translation with the English on the left and the Latin on the right.  In 1537, Coverdale's 3rd edition of work was published "Set forth with the king's most gracious license." In 1538 a revised edition of Coverdale's New Testament was printed with the Latin Vulgate in parallel columns.  This edition contained type setting errors that Coverdale promptly arranged for correction.  This page is from the 1538 version by Coverdale.