Back in October I launched a German-language worship service in Nashville, Tennessee. In the lead-up to launching St. Mang, I knew I’d need to focus on my German to get back to the point where I could write a sermon in German each month.
I immediately switched to German for my morning prayers using the 1984 Luther translation. Though there is a lot I like about Luther’s translation in German, it is not a great entry point into theological/ecclesial German. I found the language to be a barrier to getting back into German and especially towards my goal of writing simple sermons that native and non-native speakers of German could understand.
Back when I was in Germany last, I’d picked up a copy of a new translation the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft was working on, the Basis Bible. The Basis Bible is written in extremely simple German and has handy word definitions in the margins. As an entry point into “churchy” German, it’s a great start. In my library I have a copy of the Pslams and the New Testament. I actually started working my way through Mark, which I quickly finished. That was great, but my sermons needed to draw from the whole Bible. Deep in my shelves, I found another little gem I had picked up when I was in Germany, the Auslese.
The Basis Bible Auslese is a selection of readings from the Old and New Testament presented in the order of the full Bible. The Auslese, in 200 simple pages, presents the basic narrative of God’s dealings with his people from Genesis to Revelation. By just reading through a few pages a day, you can get the experience of a full Bible read-through in just a few weeks instead of months. Using the Auslese I quickly gained a vocabulary drawn from the Pentateuch, the Pslams, the Prophets, the Gospels, and the Epistles. Within a month, the vocabulary at my command for sermons increased dramatically.
I would highly recommend the Basis Bible Auslese to both new believers and students of German. The Auslese is a great entry point into the German Bible and quickly helps one build vocabulary. Without hesitation, I would recommend the Basis Bible Auslese as a great Bible for German students and others wishing to increase their Christian vocabulary.