Luther's bible


#1

I have heard that Luther removed some of the NT books from his German bible for about a year before being persuaded to put them back in. Is this true?


#2

[quote="fisherman_carl, post:1, topic:275140"]
I have heard that Luther removed some of the NT books from his German bible for about a year before being persuaded to put them back in. Is this true?

[/quote]

As far as i know, it is true. He really didn't like the Letter to James until he saw a few things in it. He must of overlooked the part in James where it talks about faith without works ;)


#3

Yes, he referred to James as "the epistle of straw." It contradicted his personal theology of faith alone by suggesting good works are also required. His followers pushed back when he wanted to erase James from the bible and insisted he could not remove a NT book. He went ahead and inserted "alone" in Romans to indicate faith alone was all that was required. To this day, there is a footnote by this insertion that reads "Luther."

Strange but true.


#4

[quote="Samuel63, post:3, topic:275140"]
Yes, he referred to James as "the epistle of straw." It contradicted his personal theology of faith alone by suggesting good works are also required. His followers pushed back when he wanted to erase James from the bible and insisted he could not remove a NT book. He went ahead and inserted "alone" in Romans to indicate faith alone was all that was required. To this day, there is a footnote by this insertion that reads "Luther."

Strange but true.

[/quote]

That one word has poisoned sooooooooo many peole :nope:


#5

[quote="fisherman_carl, post:1, topic:275140"]
I have heard that Luther removed some of the NT books from his German bible for about a year before being persuaded to put them back in. Is this true?

[/quote]

Yes it is true. I believe it was Erasmus Albertus who persuaded him to keep those NT books.


#6

[quote="Nicea325, post:5, topic:275140"]
Yes it is true. I believe it was Erasmus Albertus who persuaded him to keep those NT books.

[/quote]

I've been following this particular myth for a few years now- that Luther wanted to remove books from the Bible but someone persuaded him to either leave them in or put them back.

This is the first I've heard the name "Erasmus Albertus" as the person holding such sway over Luther's actions (it may actually be the first time I've ever heard of Erasmus Albertus as well). If you have any sort of documentation, I'd certainly like to see it.

The way this myth usually runs is that it was Melanchthon who wielded such power over Luther. Consider what Steve Ray says:

“Martin Luther understood the place of the Church in establishing the canon... He realized that if he could jettison the Church, or at least redefine it as “invisible” and “intangible”, he was free to reevaluate and regulate the content of the canon for himself. He actually began to function as his own pope and council. If it weren’t for his theologian Philip Melanchthon, Protestants would no longer consider James, Revelation, Hebrews, Jude and a few other books as inspired Scripture.”

And also:

“When Martin Luther rejected “popes and councils” he also realized that the canon was again up for grabs. He didn’t like James as we know, but he also placed Hebrews, Jude, and Revelation at the back of the book, not with the inspired books. It was only later that Philipp Melanchthon convinced him to defer to long tradition and place the books back in the New Testament, back in the recognized order. How did Luther fail to recognize the self-authenticating writings?"

Ray would do well to provide further information to substantiate this claim that Melanchthon was the primary reason Luther put books “back in the New Testament.” To my knowledge, there is no such document from either Melanchthon or Luther.

If you have any web pages or books that credit Erasmus Albertus with as the person holding such power over Luther, I would be very interested in it. Even if the page turns out to be poorly documented or completely bogus.

Thanks, James Swan


#7

[quote="TertiumQuid, post:6, topic:275140"]
I've been following this particular myth for a few years now- that Luther wanted to remove books from the Bible but someone persuaded him to either leave them in or put them back.

This is the first I've heard the name "Erasmus Albertus" as the person holding such sway over Luther's actions (it may actually be the first time I've ever heard of Erasmus Albertus as well). If you have any sort of documentation, I'd certainly like to see it.

The way this myth usually runs is that it was Melanchthon who wielded such power over Luther. Consider what Steve Ray says:

And also:

Ray would do well to provide further information to substantiate this claim that Melanchthon was the primary reason Luther put books “back in the New Testament.” To my knowledge, there is no such document from either Melanchthon or Luther.

If you have any web pages or books that credit Erasmus Albertus with as the person holding such power over Luther, I would be very interested in it. Even if the page turns out to be poorly documented or completely bogus.

Thanks, James Swan

[/quote]

By all means I am not stating it is a fact and I was not sure of the name of the man who changed Luther's decision. Perhaps Steven Ray got the name correct?


#8

[quote="Nicea325, post:7, topic:275140"]
By all means I am not stating it is a fact and I was not sure of the name of the man who changed Luther's decision. Perhaps Steven Ray got the name correct?

[/quote]

I have never seen any proof to validate Mr. Ray's assertions, and I have been looking... for a long time.

Unless someone provides some meaningful documentation, the assertion that* someone *had such sway over Luther to persuaded him to either leave books of the Bible in or put them back in remains a myth. To date, no Roman Catholic apologist has done so, at least none that I'm aware of, and I know the works of many of them.

Regards, James Swan


#9

[quote="Samuel63, post:3, topic:275140"]
Yes, he referred to James as "the epistle of straw." It contradicted his personal theology of faith alone by suggesting good works are also required. His followers pushed back when he wanted to erase James from the bible and insisted he could not remove a NT book. He went ahead and inserted "alone" in Romans to indicate faith alone was all that was required. To this day, there is a footnote by this insertion that reads "Luther."

Strange but true.

[/quote]

I always wondered about this assertion too....since Luther translated the Bible into German...how could he put "alone" in English translations? :shrug:


#10

There are plenty of hits to this subject if you use Google. I will gladly defend the material found in this link (since I wrote it). I’m sure though there are dozens of other links with the same conclusions.

Regards, James Swan


#11

[quote="TertiumQuid, post:10, topic:275140"]
There are plenty of hits to this subject if you use Google. I will gladly defend the material found in this link (since I wrote it). I'm sure though there are dozens of other links with the same conclusions.

Regards, James Swan

[/quote]

I just looked up Rom 3:28 in the RSV, KJV, NASB, Wycliff, Philips, NKJV...."alone" is no where to be found in the English translations I've examined....not even the paraphrase New Living Translation....must be a German thing..:shrug:


#12

Keep in mind, Luther’s translation was in German, not English.

Luther brought his exegetical understanding of faith and works to his translation of Romans 3:28. His intention, a perfectly allowable intention, was to translate the Bible into an easily comprehended form of popular German. Hence, his translation at times employed forms of dynamic equivalence, as many translations do. Word-for-word translations can be cumbersome and awkward, and not appealing to average readers. Rather, many translations seek to maximize readability with a minimum of verbal distortion by translating according to “concept.” In translating Romans, Luther tried to present the “impact” of what the original Greek had on its first readers, and to present the German style and idiom equivalent for his readers.

Luther freely admitted the word “only” does not appear in the original Greek at Romans 3:28. He never sought to have the word added into any ancient manuscript. He states, “I know very well that in the original text this word does not occur. Nevertheless it belongs in any good German translation… Whenever we place two things in opposition and want to make clear that we acknowledge or accept the one and reject the other, we use the word ‘only.’ ‘The farmer brings no money but corn only.’ ‘No, at the moment I really have no money, but only grain.’ ‘I have only eaten, but not yet drunk.’ ‘Have you only written, without rereading?’ This is the form which we use in countless expressions: over against ‘not’ or ‘none’ we have the word ‘only,’ to make the contrast clear.”

If Luther was attempting to radically distort the New Testament, his “doctored” work failed in many ways. Luther did not add the word “alone” to Galatians 2:16, nor did he remove “alone” from James 2. Even in his revision of the Latin Vulgate, Luther left the Latin of Romans 3:28 as it was, because the contrast was apparent.

If Luther was attempting to introduce a radical mistranslation into church history he likewise failed. Luther mentions others before him translated Romans 3:28 as he did (for example, Ambrose and Augustine). The Roman Catholic writer Joseph Fitzmyer verified Luther’s claim, and also presented quite an extensive list of those previous to Luther doing likewise. Even some Catholic versions of the New Testament also translated Romans 3:28 as did Luther. The Nuremberg Bible (1483), “allein durch den glauben” and the Italian Bibles of Geneva (1476) and of Venice (1538) say “per sola fede.” It is entirely possible Luther’s understanding of “faith alone” differs from those before him, but that is not the issue. The issue is whether or not the thrust of Romans 3:28 implies “alone.” Others previous to Luther may have differed in theological interpretation, yet saw the thrust of the words implied “alone.” Hence, as a translator, Luther holds company with others, and cannot be charged with a mistranslation. If he’s guilty of such a charge, so are many before him.

To my knowledge, there was not any official dogmatic statement prohibiting Luther from either translating the Bible, or translating Romans 3:28 as he did.

Regards, James Swan


#13

[quote="TertiumQuid, post:12, topic:275140"]
Keep in mind, Luther's translation was in German, not English.

Luther brought his exegetical understanding of faith and works to his translation of Romans 3:28. His intention, a perfectly allowable intention, was to translate the Bible into an easily comprehended form of popular German. Hence, his translation at times employed forms of dynamic equivalence, as many translations do. Word-for-word translations can be cumbersome and awkward, and not appealing to average readers. Rather, many translations seek to maximize readability with a minimum of verbal distortion by translating according to “concept.” In translating Romans, Luther tried to present the “impact” of what the original Greek had on its first readers, and to present the German style and idiom equivalent for his readers.

Luther freely admitted the word “only” does not appear in the original Greek at Romans 3:28. He never sought to have the word added into any ancient manuscript. He states, “I know very well that in the original text this word does not occur. Nevertheless it belongs in any good German translation… Whenever we place two things in opposition and want to make clear that we acknowledge or accept the one and reject the other, we use the word ‘only.’ ‘The farmer brings no money but corn only.’ ‘No, at the moment I really have no money, but only grain.’ ‘I have only eaten, but not yet drunk.’ ‘Have you only written, without rereading?’ This is the form which we use in countless expressions: over against ‘not’ or ‘none’ we have the word ‘only,’ to make the contrast clear.”

If Luther was attempting to radically distort the New Testament, his “doctored” work failed in many ways. Luther did not add the word “alone” to Galatians 2:16, nor did he remove “alone” from James 2. Even in his revision of the Latin Vulgate, Luther left the Latin of Romans 3:28 as it was, because the contrast was apparent.

If Luther was attempting to introduce a radical mistranslation into church history he likewise failed. Luther mentions others before him translated Romans 3:28 as he did (for example, Ambrose and Augustine). The Roman Catholic writer Joseph Fitzmyer verified Luther’s claim, and also presented quite an extensive list of those previous to Luther doing likewise. Even some Catholic versions of the New Testament also translated Romans 3:28 as did Luther. The Nuremberg Bible (1483), “allein durch den glauben” and the Italian Bibles of Geneva (1476) and of Venice (1538) say “per sola fede.” It is entirely possible Luther’s understanding of “faith alone” differs from those before him, but that is not the issue. The issue is whether or not the thrust of Romans 3:28 implies “alone.” Others previous to Luther may have differed in theological interpretation, yet saw the thrust of the words implied “alone.” Hence, as a translator, Luther holds company with others, and cannot be charged with a mistranslation. If he’s guilty of such a charge, so are many before him.

To my knowledge, there was not any official dogmatic statement prohibiting Luther from either translating the Bible, or translating Romans 3:28 as he did.

Regards, James Swan

[/quote]

I could be wrong but my understanding is that it wasn't that luther translated his bible to German that was the issue with the Catholic Church, but that he taught justification by faith alone. Therefore, adding the word "alone" into 3:28 was seen as a move to assert his own theology into the text.

Also, i think the Catholic position was rejecting justification by merely intellectual assent. Because that is what faith meant for most people at the time. However, my understanding of Luther's faith alone was that it wasn't merely intellectual assent but was a faith that moved one to works. I think when one says it is a faith that produces works of charity in love (gal 5:6) then it is equivalent to what the church teaches. Therefore, we shouldn't let 'faith alone' be a slogan for division any longer. The church accepts faith alone if that faith is one that is working in love and not merely an intellectual faith. That is a faith that involves the will, or a heart faith.


#14

[quote="TertiumQuid, post:8, topic:275140"]
I have never seen any proof to validate Mr. Ray's assertions, and I have been looking... for a long time.

Unless someone provides some meaningful documentation, the assertion that* someone *had such sway over Luther to persuaded him to either leave books of the Bible in or put them back in remains a myth. To date, no Roman Catholic apologist has done so, at least none that I'm aware of, and I know the works of many of them.

Regards, James Swan

[/quote]

Anyone that knows anything at all about Luther's personality and the sequence of events in which his translations were published should be able to see that this assertion (which as far as I can tell is only perpetuated by certain Catholic apologists, sans evidence) is implausible.


#15

[quote="fisherman_carl, post:13, topic:275140"]
I could be wrong but my understanding is that it wasn't that luther translated his bible to German that was the issue with the Catholic Church, but that he taught justification by faith alone. Therefore, adding the word "alone" into 3:28 was seen as a move to assert his own theology into the text.

Also, i think the Catholic position was rejecting justification by merely intellectual assent. Because that is what faith meant for most people at the time. However, my understanding of Luther's faith alone was that it wasn't merely intellectual assent but was a faith that moved one to works. I think when one says it is a faith that produces works of charity in love (gal 5:6) then it is equivalent to what the church teaches. Therefore, we shouldn't let 'faith alone' be a slogan for division any longer. The church accepts faith alone if that faith is one that is working in love and not merely an intellectual faith. That is a faith that involves the will, or a heart faith.

[/quote]

:thumbsup: How true, we all know that true faith will result in good works, just like Abraham if he didnt' have true faith he never would of taken his son up the mountain.


#16

True faith sometimes results in good works but doesn't ALWAYS necessarily result in good works. Mortal sin can intervene and the good works may not happen.

If a person dies unrepentant in that state they go to Hell!

Satan wants protestants and not only protestants but everyone to not believe this fact so he can laughingly take their souls to Hell!

Mortal SIN IS A FACT!

Satan wants everyone to not believe in that fact!

Blessed assurance = Hell!

"Working out your salvation with fear and trembling" = Heaven!


#17

I think a good defination of what “works” mean would be appropriate. What do Catholics mean by works? I am somehow thinking Luthers defination is different. I don’t know. what is Luthers defination of works?


#18

[quote="Luvtosew, post:17, topic:275140"]
I think a good defination of what "works" mean would be appropriate. What do Catholics mean by works? I am somehow thinking Luthers defination is different. I don't know. what is Luthers defination of works?

[/quote]

The unrighteous works are our sins and offenses against God. The righteous works are works of mercy, love, charity, etc.


#19

[quote="Luvtosew, post:17, topic:275140"]
I think a good defination of what "works" mean would be appropriate. What do Catholics mean by works? I am somehow thinking Luthers defination is different. I don't know. what is Luthers defination of works?

[/quote]

Great question. I have an extensive selection of Luther quotes on this very topic which can be found here.

Luther abhorred a certain idea of works: Pilgrimages, monkery, self-denials, etc., While those in Luther's day may have considered such to be “good works” on the road to final salvation, for Luther such works as these take one down a completely opposite road. Luther said of these alleged works:

"How they mislead people with their good works! They call good works what God has not commanded, as pilgrimages, fasting, building and decorating their churches in honor of the saints, saying mass, paying for vigils, praying with rosaries, much prattling and bawling in churches, turning nun, monk, priest, using special food, raiment or dwelling,-who can enumerate all the horrible abominations and deceptions? This is the pope's government and holiness."

Luther defines good works as those “works that flow from faith and from the joy of heart that has come to us because we have forgiveness of sins through Christ.” Only what God commands is a good work: “Everybody should consider precious and glorious whatever God commands, even though it were no more than picking a wisp of straw from the ground.” Works aren’t done because we want salvation and fear damnation. Luther says, “…[W]e are not to do them merely because we fear death or hell, or because we love heaven, but because our spirit goes out freely in love of, and delight in, righteousness.” Luther plainly teaches that saving faith is a living faith.

Luther taught a life under the cross, which is a life of discipleship of following after Christ. Our crosses though, do not save. They serve the neighbor. We are called to be neighbor to those around us. Luther says,

“We receive Christ not only as a gift by faith, but also as an example of love toward our neighbor, whom we are to serve as Christ serves us. Faith brings and gives Christ to you with all his possessions. Love gives you to your neighbor with all your possessions. These two things constitute a true and complete Christian life; then follow suffering and persecution for such faith and love, and out of these grows hope and patience.”


#20

Thank you for your post and link. I do believe many people really don’t understand what Luther meant by faith and works,

For it is impossible for him who believes in Christ, as a just Savior, not to love and to do good. If, however, he does not do good nor love, it is sure that faith is not present.

I copied that quote, I think it sums his thoughts up well. :wink:


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