Did Martin Luther compose his own Bible? I have seen claims to this effect. By this I believe the claimants meant a Bible that differed from recognized, standard forms, rather than translation into German.

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    That Martin Luther translated the Bible into German is a fact easy to verify. To my knowledge it was a reasonably accurate translation, so I'm not sure what you mean about a different or non-standard form. Luther did question whether some of the books belong in the Bible, so perhaps you're referring to that. I believe there is a question on the site about his attitude toward those books.
    – Bit Chaser
    Dec 11, 2017 at 0:56

1 Answer 1


In 1516 the Catholic priest Desiderius Erasmus obtained the Codex Basilensis from the Basel University Library in Basel, Switzerland. This Codex contained seven manuscripts of the New Testament (which did not include the book of Revelation) which dated from the 15th Century (x2) and 12th Century (x5). With these he composed his "Novum Instrumentu" (New Testament). While Martin Luther was sequestered in Wartburg Castle in Eisenach, Germany(1521-1522), he took a copy of Erasmus's 3rd Edition Greek New Testament and translated it into the German language. Of note, Erasmus's Greek New Testament was used as the basis of translation of the 1611 King James Bible (along with comparisons to the works of the English translations of Wycliffe, Tyndale and Coverdale). (resource: How We Got the Bible by Neil Lightfoot)

  • Welcome to Christianity.SE. For a quick overview, please take the Site Tour. For more on what this site is all about, see: How we are different than other sites. Meanwhile, I hope you'll browse some of the other questions and answers on this site. Dec 11, 2017 at 2:51
  • Regarding, "he took a copy of Erasmus's 3rd Edition Greek New Testament and translated it into the German language."; Luther used Erasmus' 2nd edition (1519) that did not contain the Comma Johanneum; which is why Luther's (1522) NT does not have it. Jul 3, 2019 at 1:53

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