A Lutheran Translation: The Time is Now
In recent years, a lot has happened in the Bible translation world. The New International Version pulled their beloved 1984 edition off the shelves, in order to promote their updated 2011 edition. This could have been a wonderful thing if the new version had been more similar to their old version, and less similar to their 2003 offering Today’s New International Version TNIV, which many thought, was leaning too far towards a “gender-inclusive” translation of the text. Because of this big change, many denominations of Christianity began to seek other translation options for their worship and publications. The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutherans Synod (WELS) was not immune to this problem. In the years after 2011, much research and study were done to figure out what translation might best serve the needs of Wisconsin Synod Lutherans, but ultimately, the final answer was, “use whatever translation you like.” While this was a beneficial endeavor for Christians to dig into many translations, and see more of the nuances of the text, it left some people wanting more. Thus, a new idea was born; perhaps Lutherans should have a translation of their own. It was even more than that though; perhaps Lutherans should take it upon themselves to do a faithful translation available to everyone. This new idea led to the birth of the Wartburg Project; a group of pastors and professors of the WELS and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS) dedicated to producing a faithful translation for the people. This idea was met with a healthy dose of skepticism, but perhaps, it is just that skepticism that will allow this project to be completed in the best way possible. With the project now almost half complete, this could indeed be the time for Lutherans to once again offer a faithful translation of the Holy Scriptures, just as Luther did in his day. The intent of this thesis will be to demonstrate the positive aspects of a Lutheran translation through a look at history, interviews with prominent men on both sides of the translation issue, as well as taking encouragement from the Word, to realize that, a Lutheran translation can only serve to benefit God’s church here on earth.