Once Coverdale’s translation, the first complete Bible printed in English came off the press and began to be circulated in 1535, other English translations began to appear as well. Matthews Bible was issued in 1537. Taverner’s Bible was issued in 1539. Also issued in 1539 was the Great Bible, which was edited by Miles Coverdale and the first English translation of the Bible ever authorized to be read in the churches. Every church in England was furnished with a copy of the Great Bible.
Interestingly, many English pastors opposed the Great Bible, complaining that their congregations were reading the Bible rather than listening to their sermons. I suspect many modern-day pastors would complain too if there were more Bible readers in their churches. Unfortunately, most churchgoers today are biblical illiterates who know no more about the Christian Faith than what they’ve heard in their pastor’s sermons, having never personally bothered to study the Scriptures for themselves.
According to Acts 17:11, the Christians in Berea “were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” If the Bereans felt the need to check out the Apostle Paul’s sermons with the Scripture, how much more do you need to check out your pastor’s sermons with the Scripture? Are you, like the Bereans, a noble believer, or one who doesn’t bother to study the Scripture for yourself, but simply takes for granted that whatever your pastor says in a sermon is scriptural?