April 5, 2013 #621

But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. John 20:31 (NRSV)

Early last Summer I drove down to the Platte Colony to see David Stahl. David is in charge of the gardens, orchard and vineyard. I was interested in seeing his vineyard but David ended up giving me an enjoyable tour of the colony. I found out that David was also the German religious instructor. So I asked if I could see his classroom, which he showed me. He also showed me the German Bible he was using. When I opened the German Bible I immediately saw that it was Martin Luther’s Martin Luther - by Pastor DuaneGerman translation. I pointed out the name and mentioned that Luther was our founding father just as Jakob Hutter was theirs. I found it interesting that after almost 500 years Luther’s translation of the Bible is still being used. Luther felt strongly that the Bible should be in the language of the people so that everyone could read God’s word. One of his greatest accomplishments was translating the Bible into the German language. William Tyndale visited Luther and later translated the Bible into English. For this Tyndale was burned at the stake. John at the end of his gospel gives the reason for writing his Gospel. We do not have the original, only copies and the early copies disagree as to the purpose. Some early manuscripts gave the reason as “that you may come to believe” while other manuscripts have “that you may continue to believe”. I would hate to pick one over the other because God’s word has been given to us for both of those purposes. The main purpose for the Gideon’s distributing Bibles in the language of the people throughout the world is so that people would come to “believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that believing you might have life in his name.” But God’s word is not just intended for unbelievers. It is also intended for us so that we might continue to believe. Nikolai Grundvig capture the dual purpose of God’s word in the following hymn: “God’s word is our great heritage and shall be ours forever, to spread its light from age to age shall be our chief endeavor. Through life it guides our way; in death it is our stay. Lord, grant while time shall last your church may hold it fast throughout all generations.”