Martin Luther’s Translation of the Bible Essay
Martin Luther, the once devoted Catholic, one day came across a bible hidden in one of the apartments of Erfurt University library. Upon reading the book keenly, Luther encountered significant differences between what his Catholic Church taught and what the bible said concerning issues like relying on the church fathers for the remission of sins. Since the church teachings were contrary to the bible teachings, he got concerned and protested the issues, hence becoming the father of Protestantism.
As a working criterion of spreading the truth, as it stands in the bible, Luther took the boldest step ever of translating his newly found bible into vernacular languages, German for instance, an issue that angered the Catholic Church as more people left the church to follow Luther’s teachings.
The translation plays a very important role to the German history. Initially, the Germans could not tell lies from the truth based on the then teachings, which were presented in foreign languages other than their understandable vernacular language.
In addition, they had hungered for reformation for long and thus the translation seemed important as it marked the dawn of that awaited reformation. In fact, Shaff points out that “The spread of this version, imperfect as it was, proves the hunger and thirst of the German people for the pure word of God, and prepared the way for the Reformation” (Para. 9).
In addition, the translation was so important in that it solved the problems of the majority of Germans who, despite their little education, wanted to know the truth but could not get it from the former complicated bible. Sanders observes, “…even tailors and shoemakers, yea, even women and ignorant persons…studied it with the greatest avidity as the fountain of all truth” (Para. 2).
Further, the translation assisted the common people who, through the easy reading and understanding of the true word of God, could then make informed decisions concerning the truth. In other words, Luther’s work was no more than a force that fuelled the freedom of the Germans.
The evident Protestant state churches of Germany, initially used by Luther to teach his cohorts, aroused the courage of teaching to the Germans. Besides, the Lutheran bible is of great significance to the German history.
Luther’s translation of the bible into German marked the most outstanding revolving point of the Germans’ history. For instance, its high rate of spreading across the Germans stands out as the origin of the advanced German language. Initially, the language featured so many dialects such that the people could neither understand nor unite with one another.
Therefore, Luther, through his works restored this harmony of language and further forming the basis of the contemporary German literature. The translation too fuelled the famous reformation of religion. In fact, it was through the translation that Protestantism emerged, which was otherwise nowhere before.
Further, the Lutheran bible contributed significantly towards “the creation of German nationalism because…his sayings and translation became part of the German national heritage” (Gerhard 216). The translation too contributed towards the reformation of the German education system.
The reformation came as Luther campaigned for the education of every person, which in turn left virtually all Germans in a position of reading and understanding the bible. Internationally, Luther’s translation significantly fuelled the widening of Protestantism as many other people who supported Luther came up with some other translations like the King James Version, the Bishop’s Bible, and the Douay-Rheims Bible among others.
Therefore, as evidenced by the expositions, Luther’s translation of the bible into vernacular German language stands out as both important and significant the Germans history. It marked the dawn of reformation in Germany as people demanded to hear and know the truth, as revealed by the word of God.
Further, it induced the courage of teaching by the Germans and more so teaching the true pure word of God in a language that even the illiterate could understand. As a result, the translation is the root of all the protestant churches, not only in Germany, but also in the world at large.
Gerhard, Ritter. Luther: His Life and Work. New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1963.
Sanders, Ruth. How Martin Luther’s Translation of the Bible Influenced the German Language, 2010. Web. https://liturgical.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/how-martin-luthers-translation-of-the-bible-influenced-the-german-language/
Shaff, Phillip. History of the Christian Church. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1910.
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