A new Bible translation from Lutherans

I recently blogged about the new Bible translation, the Christian Standard Bible.  I didn’t realize until alerted by commenter MarkB that a new translation led by Lutherans is also in the works, the Evangelical Heritage Version.

This comes from an independent venture known as the Wartburg Project.  Those doing the work are scholars from the Wisconsin Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod.  The publisher will be Northwestern Publishing House, the publishing arm of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS).

For how the new translation will be different from other translations, check out the  FAQ’s on the website and the distinctives.

The plan is for the completed Bible to be released this Fall, in time for the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation on October 31.  You can download The Gospel of Matthew and the Book of Psalms  on Kindle for 99 cents at Amazon, or free if you have Kindle Unlimited. You can also get free downloads of the lectionary readings  and the passion history.Do you see a problem with a “Lutheran Bible”?  Is that too much like the Jehovah’s Witnesses having their own Bible so as to give support for their own idiosyncratic teachings?  The American Translation by William F. Beck is another Lutheran translation, but its clarity of expression has won it non-Lutheran fans. The Wartburg Project insists that the Evangelical Heritage Version is not sectarian but can be used by all Christians.

That was certainly the case with Luther’s translation.  When Luther was in hiding at the Wartburg castle, he translated the Bible, known at the time only in Latin,  from the original Hebrew and Greek into vernacular German.  William Tyndale, who studied at Wittenberg, emulated Luther’s translation (including its phraseology) by translating the Bible into English.  Tyndale was burned at the stake for doing so–in Brussels at the behest of  the Anglican King Henry VIII, not the Catholics, as I had long assumed–but his Bible (and thus Luther’s Bible) had a great influence on the King James translation that would come.  The Bible began to be translated into many other languages.  The Wartburg Project evidently seeks to be part of that tradition.

After the jump is an excerpt and link to the project’s website giving the “Rubrics” for the new translation.

Here is why I am excited about the Evangelical Heritage Version:  At the Christian Standard Bible post, I complained about how so many contemporary translations get rid of the Bible’s ambiguities and figures of speech in their zeal to explain what the verse “really means.”  I want what the text says.   That includes the poetic and stylistic features of the original.

According to these Rubrics, the translators of the Evangelical Heritage Version agree with me!  I put the Rubrics that show the translators’ literary sensitivity in bold. [Read more…]

A new Bible translation

A new Bible translation has been published:  The Christian Standard Bible.

This is a thorough scholarly revision of the Holman Standard Bible.  It’s published by LifeWay, the Southern Baptist publisher, but the new version reportedly has had input from scholars from 17 different denominations, including Lutheran, and the translation was scrutinized for any denominational bias.

The new version employs what it calls an “Optimal Equivalence” approach to translation, rendering sentences literally except for when they would be confusing for modern readers, in which case a more dynamic equivalent approach is used.

You can read the Christian Standard Bible online.  Here are some verse comparisons

For more information, go to the website.  Check out the FAQs.

What do you think about this translation?  I’ll give you some of my thoughts after the jump.

[Read more…]

Mortification of the flesh

Lent has traditionally been a time to practice “mortification of the flesh.”  That’s another concept we don’t hear too much about today.

But isn’t that Catholic?  An example of that medieval asceticism that the Reformation reacted against?  Not at all.  Reformation Christians also emphasized mortification.  In fact, it’s enshrined in the Lutheran confessions:

“We teach this about the putting to death of the flesh and discipline of the body. A true and not a false putting to death [mortification] happens through the cross and troubles, by which God exercises us . . . .There is also a necessary voluntary exercise. . . .This effort [at mortification] should be constant.”

Philip Melanchthon,“The Apology of the Augsburg Confession,” Article XV, in Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2005), pp. 193-194.

This is pretty much the opposite of the “prosperity gospel.”  God gives us the crosses we have to bear and the troubles of our lives in order to “exercise” us.  Such problems and sufferings drive us to prayer, to greater dependence on God, and thus to the growth of our faith.  Furthermore, we voluntarily mortify ourselves–not doing what we want, depriving ourselves of certain pleasures, denying ourselves for our neighbor–in a “constant” effort at self-discipline.

More on mortification, including its Biblical and theological basis, after the jump.  [Read more…]

Another Dead Sea Scrolls cave discovered 

640px-QumranArcheologists have discovered a 12th cave that once held Dead Sea scrolls, ancient Biblical and other texts dating from 400 B.C. to 100 A.D.

This cave, though, had been looted and contains no scrolls.  (One wonders, where are they?)  But it does preserve some artifacts from the ancient Jews–whether members of the Essene sect or, as some scholars now think, priests– who kept the library.


Photo of Cave 4, where 90% of the scrolls were found, by Effi Schweizer – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3089552

[Read more…]

Fake News 

fake-1903774_640Both sides of our political divide are accusing the other of spreading “fake news.”

Rev. Tim Pauls, writing for LCMS News & Information, says that of course making up facts and believing whatever we want to is going to be a problem in a culture that rejects objective truth.

He gives some striking examples and some insightful analysis from a Christian perspective.  He then gives some Biblical texts that address this issue and suggests how Christians can handle it. [Read more…]

Donald Trump in Bible prophecy?

B_Facundus_167Many End Times preachers are saying that the rise of Donald Trump was prophesied in the Bible as a herald that the last days are upon us.  He’s not the anti-christ.  We know that because the Bible says of the anti-Christ:

“Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.” (Dan 11:37)

Trump, with his history of womanizing, does regard the desire of women, so we can rest easy about that.  Rather, he is a much more positive sign.  The Scriptures clearly say that Christ will come back after the sounding of “the last trump.”

Never mind that the connection only works in the English language.  And that “trump” as short for “trumpet” only works in the archaic English of the King James Bible.  Or that turning the Bible into a symbolic code, rather than attending to what it literally says, undermines Biblical authority.

Other objections present themselves:  Isn’t the new president the “first Trump” to be in office?  Maybe he will start a dynasty.  Maybe his son Barron, or Barron’s son or grandson, will be the “last Trump.”  Where does “last” enter into the prophecy?  (Can you think of other problems with this interpretation?)

A sample of this End Times prediction after the jump. [Read more…]