Category Archives: Bible

A Review of the DBG’s Facsimile Edition of Luther’s 1545 ‘Biblia Germanica’

Published in 2017 for the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, this facsimile edition is an exact replica of Luther’s 1545 German Bible.  And the 1545 German Bible is Luther’s best edition, far superior to the two volume 1534 edition and much better than any of the earlier incarnations of Luther’s version.

This edition is distributed in North America by Hendrickson Publishers, as are all of the German Bible Society’s volumes.

Luther’s translation of the Bible alone makes him a figure of importance and it is not at all difficult to muster the argument that of all the works of Luther, it is the most significant.  To be sure, his great books of 1520 stand as monuments to the beginning of the Reformation and will always be valued for that historical reason alone.  But of Luther’s lasting contributions to Christian theology, they pale in importance to Luther’s rendition of Scripture.

The present facsimile edition is unaltered from its original form with only one exception: the ‘afterword’ provided by the German publisher.  Everything else, from font to woodcuts to prefaces and forwards are all exactly as published in 1545, a year before Luther’s death.  Those seeking Luther’s most mature thought on Amos or Hosea need simply read the preface he provides to those books (and all the rest).  Luther’s Preface to the Old Testament is still one of the best ‘introductions’ to the Old Testament to this very day as is his Preface to the New Testament to New Testament studies.  Luther was at his best and brightest when working directly with Scripture.  Would that he had avoided some of his more controversial efforts and simply stuck with exegesis; what a legacy he would have left behind.

The volume presently under discussion also comes beneficially ensconced in a very sturdy box and comes bound in a lovely and sturdy beige cloth cover.  The paper used in this edition is substantial and the volume thereby avoids the easy creasing so common to bibles published with paper which bleeds through.

The price is not exorbitant for the quality or historical significance of the volume though doubtless many will wish it were less expensive than it is.  Nonetheless, you ‘get what you pay for’ and the quality and importance of this facsimile are well worth the cost.  If potential buyers are stymied by the price, I would advise that they sell their collection of NT Wright’s works or their Joel Osteen volumes for whatever they can get for them and buy this instead.  It’s far more deserving of a place on your shelves and you’ll get more out of if in terms of theological education than either of those modern authors could proffer in all of their books combined together.

What follows below are a series of photos I snapped to provide readers with visuals of this fantastic and highly important and wonderfully accessible Bible.

I could recommend this edition with more than glowing words but I think it speaks for itself.  Students of the Reformation; students of the Bible; and people who love fantastic books will want it.  Crave it.  Need it.  Get it.

Conference Announcement: University of Nottingham

The Rich Man Goes to Hell, The Poor Man Goes to Heaven

‘There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day.  And at his gate there used to lie a poor man called Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to fill himself with what fell from the rich man’s table. Even dogs came and licked his sores.  Now it happened that the poor man died and was carried away by the angels into Abraham’s embrace. The rich man also died and was buried.  ‘In his torment in Hades he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off with Lazarus in his embrace.

And now the fun bit-

So he cried out, “Father Abraham, pity me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames.”  Abraham said, “My son, remember that during your life you had your fill of good things, just as Lazarus his fill of bad. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony. – Luke 16.

And best of all?  Eternity is forever- so the poor man will be blessed longer than the rich man ever was and the rich man will suffer more than the poor man ever did.

Let those with ears, hear.

Biblia Germanica

Hendrickson have published the brilliant Biblia Germanica, Luther’s 1545 edition of the German Bible.

No other German book has exercised for centuries such a profound effect on the German language as the German Bible of Martin Luther. Over time other German translations appeared, and in the present we see an almost bewildering abundance of new translations, but the Luther Bible launched the progression of the German language. In addition, the Luther text set binding standards for dealing with the biblical word. The output is one column set, with the exception of the Psalter and the Proverbs of Solomon, which are in two columns. This print is a replica of the 1545 Luther Bible, of which only two originals are left. This replica maintains the numerous wood cuts, headings, and explanatory notes of Luther.

They’ve sent along, with excessive kindness, a review copy.  More anon- and here it is in its box and shrink wrap:

Let Those Who Have Ears, Hear

‘Write to the angel of the church in Laodicea and say, “Here is the message of the Amen, the trustworthy, the true witness, the Principle of God’s creation: 

I know about your activities: how you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were one or the other,  but since you are neither hot nor cold, but only lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth.  You say to yourself: I am rich, I have made a fortune and have everything I want, never realising that you are wretchedly and pitiably poor, and blind and naked too. 

I warn you, buy from me the gold that has been tested in the fire to make you truly rich, and white robes to clothe you and hide your shameful nakedness, and ointment to put on your eyes to enable you to see.  I reprove and train those whom I love: so repent in real earnest.

Look, I am standing at the door, knocking. If one of you hears me calling and opens the door, I will come in to share a meal at that person’s side.  Anyone who proves victorious I will allow to share my throne, just as I have myself overcome and have taken my seat with my Father on his throne. 

Let anyone who can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.” ‘ — (Rev. 3:14ff)

Zwingli’s Translation of Jeremiah

On March 11th, Zwingli issued his translation of Jeremiah with annotations, and dedicated it to the city of Strassburg, in further recognition of its entering into the Christian Burgher Rights. – S. Jackson

The full title is Complanationis Ieremiae Prophetae Foetura prima, cum Apologia quur quidque sic uersum sit per Huldrichum Zuinglium.

It remains one of the finest commentaries on Jeremiah ever written.

Important News For Residents of North America Concerning an Important Commentary Series

ISD is now distributing the series “Evangelisch-Katholischer Kommentar zum Neuen Testament” (“Protestant-Catholic Commentary on the New Testament,” EKK) from Verlagsgruppe Patmos.

We are happy to offer a standing order discount of 20% for the series. For those who would like to fill in gaps in their libraries with individual volumes, special offer prices are available with promotional code 812-17 through March 31, 2017.

The EKK is the first major series of commentaries on the New Testament in the German language area that is written and edited by authors of both confessions. Founded by Eduard Schweizer and Rudolf Schnackenburg, it has combined scientific rigor with practical application for over thirty years. The series is published in ecumenical cooperation by Neukirchen and Verlagsgruppe Patmos​. At present, it comprises 33 volumes. The commentaries on the Gospel of Mark and the Letter to the Romans are also available as study editions.

Follow this link to learn more about the available volumes in this series.  Orders are welcome by phone, fax, by email to, or through our website.

The 7 Things That God Hates

There are six things that Yahweh hates, seven that he abhors:

  1. a haughty look,
  2. a lying tongue,
  3. hands that shed innocent blood,
  4. a heart that weaves wicked plots,
  5. feet that hurry to do evil,
  6. a false witness who lies with every breath,
  7. and one who sows dissension among brothers. — (Prov. 6:16-19)

Sounds like God wouldn’t be too fond of either Trump or Congress, doesn’t it.

The Best Commentary Yet


Dr Jim West has undertaken the phenomenal task of writing a commentary on every book of the Bible! And what strikes this reader most forcefully is its faithfulness to what it says on the tin: West’s efforts have been expended “for the person in the pew”.

In other words, one should not expect the usual exhaustive analysis of syntax, interpretive options, history of scholarship and such like. These commentaries are written so that the reader needs no theological education, and West presupposes no ability to read Greek or Hebrew. Anyone can read and understand these.

The result is like going through the biblical texts, with a scholarly pastor, who pauses to make a number of bite-sized observations on the way. And whatever one thinks of those annotations, anyone can follow and digest them. West writes with a heart for the church, and his unique character and love for scripture are obvious in these pages.

Dr. Chris Tilling
New Testament Tutor,
St Mellitus College & St Paul’s Theological Centre

The PDF’s of the entire series are available. You can acquire them from yours truly for a paltry $199 by clicking my PayPal Link.  And be sure to include your email address so they can be sent to you.

Fun Facts From Church History: The Publication of Erasmus’ Greek New Testament and Zwingli

You may not know this, but Erasmus’ edition of the GNT appeared on the 2nd of March, 1516.  Zwingli made a copy, by hand of course, of the Letters of Paul that same year.  Interestingly, and significantly, those marginal notes demonstrate that Zwingli was moving towards reform then (in 1516) before anyone had ever heard the name of Luther.


A New Commentary on Numbers

9781138706576This book provides a new reading of the biblical book of Numbers in a commentary form. Mainstream readings have tended to see the book as a haphazard junkyard of material that connects Genesis-Leviticus with Deuteronomy (and Joshua) and that has been composed at a late stage in the history of ancient Israel. In contrast, this book reads Numbers as part of a wider work of Genesis-Joshua, a carefully crafted programmatic settler colonial document for a new society in Canaanite highlands in the late second millennium BCE that seeks to replace pre-existing indigenous societies. In the context of the tremendous influence that the biblical documents have had on the world in the last two to three thousand years, the book also offers pointers towards reading these texts today.

img_1024Pekka Pitkänen is Senior Lecturer in the School of Liberal and Performing Arts at the University of Gloucestershire, UK. He is the author of Central Sanctuary and Centralization of Worship in Ancient Israel (2003) and Joshua (2010), and recent articles by him include “Reading Genesis–Joshua as a unified document from an early date: A settler colonial perspective” (2015) and “The ecological-evolutionary theory, migration, settler colonialism, sociology of violence and the origins of ancient Israel” (2016). His current interest remains in the study of Genesis–Joshua,together with the study of migration andcolonialism in the ancient Near East, ritual studies and other sociological and anthropological approaches to the study of the ancient world.

And he’s quite a lovely person as well.

Gutenberg’s Bible Online

La Bibliothèque nationale de France (BNF) a mis en ligne la Bible de Gutenberg. Disponibles sur son site Gallica depuis fin janvier 2017, deux exemplaires imprimés sur vélin et sur papier sont entièrement numérisés en haute définition, rapporte le site Evangelical Focus.

Seuls quatre exemplaires complets de l’impression sur vélin existent encore dans le monde. De plus, l’exemplaire complet sur papier de la BNF comporte une annotation manuscrite d’un intérêt historique majeur le datant de 1456.

Première Bible imprimée dans les années 1450, la Bible de Gutenberg reprend la traduction latine de la Vulgate. Elle est considérée comme le livre le plus important de l’histoire de l’Europe. En effet, elle a ouvert le chemin à la Réforme protestante et à diffusion du savoir par l’imprimerie.

Check it out here.

And You Definitely Should


Here.  It’s almost as good a translation as the Zurich Bible of 1531.  Almost.  Not quite, but almost.

The Zurich Latin Bible of 1543

13582131903In 1543 the Zurich reformers produced Latin translations of the Old Testament and the Apocrypha together with a revised edition of Erasmus’ New Testament. The Biblia sacrosancta was a beautiful volume, Froschauer’s finest work. The work on the Old Testament was primarily done by Leo Jud, though it was completed by Theodor Bibliander and Konrad Pellikan after his death in 1542. The translation, together with the textual apparati, and the extensive prefaces form the most complete expression of the theological and ecclesiastical vision of the Zurich church under Heinrich Bullinger. Printed twelve years after the death of Huldrych Zwingli, the Bible embodied the ideals of a restored church that had to turn its back on its fallen founder. Zwingli was never mentioned and the model for a new, proud, and confident church was St Jerome, represented in the figure of the translator Leo Jud. This essay explores the relationship between biblical interpretation, identity, and church building for the second generation of the Reformation.

The essay, by Bruce Gordon, appeared in Zwingliana a few years back.  Get it.  Read it.

Quote of the Day

It is not good to honour one who is a sinner. (Sir. 10:23)

You Might Ignore this Verse, But I Don’t

You will reprove your fellow-countryman firmly and thus avoid burdening yourself with a sin. (Lev. 19:17)

Amen and amen.

Quote of the Day

Do not make friends with one who gives way to anger, make no one quick-tempered a companion of yours, for fear you learn such behaviour and in it find a snare for yourself. –  (Prov. 22:24-25)

Quote of the Day

LutherbibelDa sprach er zu allen: Wer mir folgen will, der verleugne sich selbst und nehme sein Kreuz auf sich täglich und folge mir nach. Denn wer sein Leben erhalten will, der wird es verlieren; wer aber sein Leben verliert um meinetwillen, der wird’s erhalten. Denn welchen Nutzen hätte der Mensch, wenn er die ganze Welt gewönne und verlöre sich selbst oder nähme Schaden an sich selbst? Wer sich aber meiner und meiner Worte schämt, dessen wird sich der Menschensohn auch schämen, wenn er kommen wird in seiner Herrlichkeit und der des Vaters und der heiligen Engel. (Lk 9:23-26)

Here’s The Text That Needs to Be Read To Donald Trump at the Prayer Breakfast

Wicked scheming is abhorrent to Yahweh, but words that are kind are pure.  Craving for dishonest gain brings trouble on a house, hatred of bribery earns life. The heart of the upright reflects before answering, the mouth of the wicked spews out wickedness. Yahweh keeps his distance from the wicked, but he listens to the prayers of the upright. (Prov. 15:26-29)

That’s the text I’d read.  I doubt anyone in the room would though.  Which is why their ‘faith’ is pointless.

Why America Is The Way It Is

And so these people have no excuse:  they knew God and yet they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but their arguments became futile and their uncomprehending minds were darkened.  While they claimed to be wise, in fact they were growing so stupid that they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an imitation, for the image of a mortal human being, or of birds, or animals, or crawling things. That is why God abandoned them in their inmost cravings to filthy practices of dishonouring their own bodies- because they exchanged God’s truth for a lie and have worshipped and served the creature instead of the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. — (Rom. 1:20-25)

You reap what you sow- whether you’re an individual or a collective.