God’s Word for All People
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11
2017 brought with it great attention to Martin Luther on the occasion of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. The following year saw much less focus, but the anniversary of the Heidelberg Disputation was noted. While 2020 could have provided an opportunity to celebrate some of Luther’s most influential writings, such as “The Freedom of a Christian,” our attention was focused elsewhere. It’s time to get back to Luther though. Even this year marks the five hundredth anniversary of Luther’s translation of the New Testament into German. Lutheran Bible Translators and Concordia Seminary are both marking the occasion through a number of events. Key among them will be an event at Concordia Seminary on October 13 at 7:00 p.m. featuring Dr. Jeffrey Kloha from the Museum of the Bible and visiting professor, Dr. Vilson Scholz.
Why is Luther’s translation of the New Testament into German so significant? It is because he put God’s Word into the language of the people. For the last five hundred years, Lutherans have been working to place God’s Word into every language. The Reformation began as an academic exercise, but with Luther’s translation of the New Testament, there is a conscious shift from the “ivory tower” of academia to the daily lives of ordinary saints.
While much has happened over the last half a millennium, the desire to have every Christian shaped by the Word of God is still central to Lutheranism. From the children of early childhood centers to the residents of Lutheran care facilities, among refugees new to our country and those who trace their roots back to the Saxon emigration, our congregations remain devoted to bringing the Word of God to bear in the lives of people. In spite of all of the advances of science and technology, there is still only one thing needful and that is Christ Jesus, revealed to us in His Word. May God bless the ongoing work of translating the Word of God into new languages! May God continue to raise up new servants to preach and teach that Word in more languages here in Missouri and across our globe! May that Word, as it is preached, taught, read, sung, and prayed, go forth to the ends of the earth and accomplish what our gracious God desires.
Prayer – Lord God, bless Your Word wherever it is proclaimed. Make it a word of power and peace to convert those not yet Your own and to confirm those who have come to saving faith. May Your Word pass from the ear to the heart, from the heart to the lip, and from the lip to the life that, as You have promised, Your Word may achieve the purpose for which You send it; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan