John Wycliffe: The Morning Star

Ron Geschwendt

READ : 2 Timothy 3:10-17

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (v. 16 NIV)

Most of us are indebted to someone in the past. The great men of the Reformation era learned from those who lived before them. John Wycliffe (ca. 1329-1384) was an early morning star of the Reformation. Educated at Oxford and influenced by Augustine’s writings, he became a great teacher, who challenged the church for its theological errors and questionable practices.

Wycliffe taught that people were saved by God without the mediation of a priest. He condemned the veneration of relics and sale of indulgences to buy forgiveness of sin, arguing that sincerity in worship was what really mattered. Although Wycliffe had many followers, eventually his teachings were condemned. Church authorities even dug up his corpse in 1428 and burned it.

Wycliffe’s most lasting and influential teaching was his view of the Bible. Because the Bible was the source of all truth, he believed people should be able to read it for themselves in their own language, not just the Latin of the privileged. Wycliffe himself translated parts of the Bible into English, which in turn encouraged others to do likewise. Centuries later, he was rightly honored when the Wycliffe Bible Translators named their organization after him.


Thank you, Lord, for all whose work has given us your Word.