Recently, I hear that the founder of Tyndale Book store and other titles, as well as the author of the Living Bible had passed away. For years I had hear the Tyndale title applied to bookstores, Bibles, and other works associated with God. Well, I finally came face to face with the reality and knowledge that a man was behind the works associated with the translation of the Living Bible. I can only glorify God and give Him praise for the honor He bestowed upon that man, Kenneth Taylor. God gave Mr. Taylor grace to perform a lasting work down here on earth.
I am including a family published account of some of his works below.
Tyndale House Publishers founder Kenneth Taylor, whose The Living Bible helped millions of people discover they could read and understand Scripture, died Friday, June 10, 2005 at age 88 in his Wheaton, Illinois home. His life mission was to make the Bible assessable and available to everyone.
Taylor founded one of the country's largest Christian publishing houses, known recently as the publisher of the Left Behind series, and authored several children's books. He is best known, however, as the creator of The Living Bible, a paraphrase of Scripture that in its early stages was embraced by Billy Graham, which became the nation's best-selling book for three years. To date it has sold more than 40 million copies. The Living Bible has also been accepted internationally, with portions or entire Bibles available in more than 100 languages.
The Living Bible was born out of Taylor's deep desire for his ten children to understand God's Word. He found the King James Version of the Bible -- the most commonly used translation at the time -- especially difficult for his young children to understand.
Taylor began to reword specific passages in simple, conversational language, easy enough for even his youngest child to grasp. He finished his paraphrase of the New Testament epistles in 1962, but could interest no publisher in his project, which he called "Living Letters." Taylor and his wife, Margaret, decided to self-publish 2,000 copies of "Living Letters."
Taylor named his fledgling company Tyndale House Publishers after William Tyndale, the 16th century reformer who was burned at the stake for translating the Bible into English. In its early days, Tyndale House was literally a kitchen-table operation. The older daughters typed Taylor's manuscripts; Margaret typed invoices and mailing labels, and the younger children stuffed envelopes and packed books ordered by bookstores.
As Taylor continued to paraphrase the rest of the Scripture, orders for "Living Letters" trickled in. But when evangelist Billy Graham began to use Taylor's work as a premium for his television broadcasts, demand for the books began in earnest.
In 1967, Tyndale published the Living New Testament and in 1971 released the complete Living Bible. It became the best-selling book in the United States for the next three years, after which Publisher's Weekly decided not to allow Bibles to compete with "regular books" for a spot on the best-seller list.
Taylor and his wife committed from the start to deposit all profits from The Living Bible into a charitable trust, insisting that the Bible's royalties be donated to Tyndale House Foundation. The foundation supports mission projects around the world and today continues to promote Taylor's vision and mission of making the Bible accessible and available to everyone.
What a wonderful man! What a mighty God! What a gift to the world!
When we pray “Your will be done,” as Jesus cited in Matthew 6:10, we are not resigning ourselves to fate, but praying that God’s perfect purpose will be accomplished in this world as well as in the next. The contribution from Taylor is a source of blessing, love and security to all mankind. This experience, along with others in life leads us to ponder what our own “work” or responsibility is here on earth.
In John 9:4, Jesus admonished us that He had a work to complete and finish on earth.
John 9: 4. I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
I must work the works of him that sent me is a most interesting statement from the mouth of Christ; intimating, (1) that He had a precise work to do upon earth, with every particular of it arranged and laid out to Him; (2) that all He did upon earth was just "the works of God"—particularly "going about doing good," though not exclusively by miracles; (3) that each work had its precise time and place, so to speak; hence, (4) that as His period for work had definite termination, so by letting any one service pass by its allotted time, the whole would be disarranged, marred, and driven beyond its destined period for completion; (5) that He acted ever under the impulse of these considerations, as man—"the night cometh when no man (or no one) can work." What lessons are here for others, and what encouragement from such Example!
We see day as meaning the time allotted for Jesus to do God’s will (to do the work of Him who sent Me). We include the disciples and by extension all believers. Night is the limit set to do God’s works. In Jesus’ case it was His coming death. As the Light of the world Jesus gives people salvation (cf. 8:12). After His death, His disciples were His lights (cf. Matt. 5:14; Eph. 5:8-14), bringing Christ to others. Now we are the light of the world, our responsibility is to find and “do the work of Him who sent us”.
The following passages are a testimony to the dedication of Jesus for the work the Father sent Him to accomplish on earth:
In John 4: 34. Jesus saith unto them, “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work.
John 5: 36. But I have greater witness than of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.
John 17:4, 5. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
The Greek term for work in Strong’s is ergazomai.
ergazomai, er-gad'-zom-ahee; middle from Greek 2041 (ergon); to toil (as a task, occupation, etc.), (by implication) effect, be engaged in or with, etc. :- commit, do, labor for, minister about, trade (by),
Jesus wants us to know that as the light of the world we give sight to others just as He gave sight to the blind and unsaved and continues to do so through us.
John 9:1-7 When his disciples wondered whose sin had caused a man’s blindness, Jesus said he had been born blind so that “the power of God could be seen in him” (John 9:3).
Christ cured many who were blind by disease or accident; here he cured one born blind. Thus he showed his power to help in the most desperate cases, and the work of his grace upon the souls of sinners, which gives sight to those blind by nature. This poor man could not see Christ, but Christ saw him. And if we know or apprehend anything of Christ, it is because we were first known of him. Christ says of uncommon calamities, that they are not always to be looked on as special punishments of sin; sometimes they are for the glory of God, and to manifest his works.
Our life is our day, in which it concerns us to do the work of the day. We must be busy and not waste day-time; it will be time to rest when our day is done, for it is but a day. The approach of death should quicken us to improve all our opportunities of doing and getting good. What good we have an opportunity to do, we should do quickly.
Those who patiently and persistently do God’s will find eternal life. We are not saved by good deeds, but when we commit our lives fully to God, we want to please him and do his will. As such, our good deeds are a grateful response to what God has done, not a prerequisite to earning his grace.
God told Moses how to build the tabernacle, and Moses delegated jobs in order to do it. God allows people to participate with him in carrying out his will. Your task is not just to sit and watch God work, but to give your best effort when work needs to be done. When you follow God’s guidance, you know you are where God wants you, whether you’re moving or staying in one place. You are physically somewhere right now.
Instead of praying, “God, what do you want me to do next?” ask, “God, what do you want me to do while I’m right here?” Direction from God is not just for your next big move. He has a purpose in placing you where you are right now. Begin to understand God’s purpose for your life by discovering what he wants you to do now!
By constantly thinking about the Lord and his way of living, we will gain insights that will help us make right decisions and live the way God desires. Communicating with God allows him to counsel us and give us wisdom. Jesus did not work independently of God the Father, but in union with him. This should give us even more assurance of being welcomed into God’s presence and being protected by him. Jesus’ purpose was to do the will of God, not to satisfy Jesus’ human desires. When we follow Jesus, we should have the same purpose.
We think of Paul in Ephesians 6:19-20. Undiscouraged and undefeated, Paul wrote powerful letters of encouragement from prison. He did not ask the Ephesians to pray that his chains would be removed, but that he would continue to speak fearlessly for Christ in spite of them.
God can use us in any circumstance to do his will. Even as we pray for a change in our circumstances during difficult times, we should also pray that God will accomplish his plan through us right where we are. Knowing God’s eternal purpose for us will help us through the difficult times.
When we do God’s will, we are not guaranteed a comfortable life. But we are promised that everything, even our discomfort, has meaning in God’s plan.
What would have happened if Joseph and Mary had not committed to following the will of God in regards to the birth of Christ? In Luke2:3-6, we read where the government forced Joseph to make a long trip just to pay his taxes. His fiancée, Mary, who had to go with him, was going to have a baby any moment. But when they arrived in Bethlehem, they couldn’t find a place to stay. Their obedience to God’s will resulted in the birth of the Savior of the world.
We see how a rich young man missed the challenge presented him by Jesus as he showed him the way of “goodness” (Matthew 19:16-30). Immediately after this a young man came up to Jesus and asked, “What good thing must I do to get eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16) This young man was a good person, one whose goodness was expressed in his honest observation of the Law. But Jesus challenged him on one point. “Sell your possessions and give to the poor, and . . . come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:21). The young man turned away.
This was not a universal command to the rich to sell all. Instead it was a challenge to this individual who measured his goodness by his dealings with other men. Yet, all human goodness fails at this same point. It is good enough to do good to others, but it is not enough. God must be the center and focus of our lives.
As the young man went sadly away, Jesus remarked that wealth makes it difficult to enter the kingdom. The disciples, who, like others in their culture, viewed wealth as evidence of God’s favor, asked in astonishment, “Who then can be saved?” The answer? “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:25-26).
A final parable is added in Matthew 20:1-16. Jesus pictured a landowner who went out early in the morning and hired men to work in his harvest. Later he went out and found more standing idle. He sent them out into his fields as well. Several times during the day this pattern was repeated.
At evening, those who had worked the full day were dismayed to find that others who had worked only two hours received as much pay as they! When they complained, the landowner explained that they were paid what they had agreed on that morning. As for the rest, their reward was a matter not of what they had earned, but what was given by the owner out of generosity. The last had been first.
Like each of the workers in Jesus’ parable, we have been invited to serve in His kingdom. What is important is our response to the King when He calls us to our individual tasks. Greatness is not measured by how long or hard we may work. It is measured by our obedience to the work.
In the kingdom of Christ’s present reign we are called to greatness. But we will not find it along the roads that many of the religious have traveled. Christ has another way, marked out for all of us who humbly accept our work in the kingdom.
What a remarkable man, Kenneth Taylor. He did “the will of God while it was day.” I take my hat off to him. God bless his soul!