Martin Luther: The German Bible

Martin Luther may be best known as the father of the Protestant Reformation. One of his greatest achievements was the German Bible! While in hiding for his safety, in 1521, Luther translated the New Testament in eleven weeks. By 1534 he had completed his translation of the Old Testament. It was Luther’s desire that his translation reflect a “spoken” language rather formal, written German.

In a letter, Luther wrote: “The house-wife, children playing, people in the street are those to learn from; listening to them teaches one how to speak and to translate . . .” His German Bible became a best seller, and affected the German language as people picked up its phrasing and style in their everyday speech.

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