Theologian Roland Werner’s modern version Das Buch, now in its third edition, resonates with the unchurched and surprises the faithful.

Roland Werner wears many hats, and most of them have something to do with the Bible.

Whether he’s preaching at the interdenominational congregation that he founded four decades ago in Marburg, writing devotionals and books about church history, lecturing on intercultural theology, or chairing a meeting of the German branch of the Lausanne Movement, the theologian and linguist’s life revolves around God’s Word.

He might be best known among Germany’s evangelicals for Das Buch (“The Book”), his popular Bible translation in modern German. The New Testament was first released in 2009, and a new version including the Psalms was published in 2014. Earlier this year came the third edition, this time with the addition of Proverbs.

Werner, age 65, discovered an affinity for languages at an early age. As an adolescent, he was already studying Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Arabic and several African languages followed later. A year as an exchange student in the United States helped perfect his English. His familiarity with these and other languages combined with his love of Scripture made the role of Bible translator a natural fit. He is currently working with a team to translate the Bible into a North African language.

This new version of Das Buch comes almost exactly 500 years after Martin Luther published his first Bible translation, known as the Septembertestament. While there was much fanfare a few years ago to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, Werner laments that this milestone has gone largely unnoticed.

“You heard almost nothing about the [Septembertestament anniversary], neither in the churches nor in the news,” he said.

The Christus-Treff congregation founder hopes …

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