Book Review and Author Interview: Tyndale by David Teems

18 Sep

A beautiful literary tribute to the poet, martyr, expatriate, outlaw, and original translator of the English Bible. In this personable, historical narrative, Teems brings wit and wisdom to the story of the English “Paul” who defied a tyrannical church in order to introduce God’s Word to the common people.



DAVID TEEMS lives in Franklin, Tennessee with his wife, Benita. They have two sons—Shad and Adam (Adam and his wife, Katie, have three children—Julian, Evie, and Audrey Gray).

A self-confessed logophile, David will tell you his higher passions are literary (as are some of his lower ones). He earned his undergraduate degree (BA Psychology) at Georgia State University and attended graduate school (educational psychology) at GSU until music proved too strong of a temptation. He abandoned the academics to pursue music.

His father was a worship leader in the church he grew up in, but it was his paternal grandmother who taught him the joy of words, the constructions, the magic they can make. She was the first to put a guitar in his hands at the age of seven.

Transitioning from music to books just a few years ago, To Love Is Christ, a devotional, was released in 2005 by Thomas Nelson Publishers. And Thereby Hangs A Tale: What I Really Know About the Devoted Life I Learned From My Dogs released from Harvest House Publishers (June 2010) and went into a second edition within a few months. Majestie:The King Behind the King James Bible released in October 2010 from Thomas Nelson. Discovering Your Spiritual Center released in October, 2011 from Leafwood Publishers (Abilene Christian University Press). Tyndale: The Man Who Gave God An English Voice, a biography of the bible translator and martyr William Tyndale released in January 2012.

Okay, yeah, he has been busy. Four books (350,000 words) in two years. With much more to come. David is currently working on a work of fiction.

David has recorded eight albums now, including three recordings featuring voiceover/music:HopeMore Hope, and his latest, Speak To Me: For A Faith That Comes By Hearing, featuring the ambient music of Phil Keaggy and Nashville studio guitarist, Tom Hemby.

Interview and Impressions:

David Teem’s enthusiasm for his subject and for the English language itself is quite evident to anyone who speaks with him or reads his biography of William Tyndale, Tyndale. I had the very great pleasure of meeting with David last July at the ICRS in Orlando. Here are some highlights of our conversation:

Following the publication of his book, Majestie: The King Behind The King James Bible, David had planned to write a book covering both John Wycliffe and William Tyndale, influential early translators of the Bible into English. But his work on Majestie led him to write just about Tyndale, since it is his voice that is most reflected in the King James Bible. What should have taken much longer, David completed Tyndale in one year, making 4 completed books in just 2 years. His writing routine is rather vigorous.  He usually begins before dawn and writes for 3 to 4 hours. He is insistent on getting it all down, before he begins the editing phase. A committed journaller (he has over 300 on the shelves), his passion for language began in song writing and later evolved to books.

David wants his readers to take away the importance of language as it shapes our perception, our culture and how we organize our thoughts and life. Tyndale’s influence is seen not only in English Bible translations, but in our everyday language. He believes that with Tyndale’s translation, the English believer was emancipated. And the English language became richer in just the few decades that Tyndale worked as he introduced over 30,000 new words into the language. It is David’s belief that Tyndale gave us a Bible in a voice most like God speaks — a language full of love and splendor. And in his book he wants his reader to have an experience; readers should hear his chuckle.

David is currently working on a pitch for a fiction project. His next non-fiction will be on the language of Scripture. He also hopes to one day write a book on Fanny Crosby.

David very generously gave me a copy of his book Tyndale and the audiobook version too. Last week I had a long car trip and filled the time with not only the life and times of William Tyndale, his exile, persecution, trial and martyrdom, but also the heart and soul of the translation that has influenced all modern translations of the Bible in English. David has fleshed out a Tyndale who, though we speak more of his words than Shakespeare’s, is virtually unknown to the modern reader. If you have a love for language, a passion for scripture and an interest in history, you need to check out David Teems’ Tyndale.


(I received Tyndale from the author in return for a review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

%d bloggers like this: