Martin Luther translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into German in 1534. This was the first complete translation of the Bible into a ‘modern’ language. In it, Luther translated John 1:1 as follows:
1 Im Anfang war das Wort, und das Wort war bei Gott, und Gott war das Wort.
When the German is translated into English it reads:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
4 Da aber erschien die Freundlichkeit und Leutseligkeit Gottes, unsers Heilandes, 5 nicht um der Werke willen der Gerechtigkeit, die wir getan hatten, sondern nach seiner Barmherzigkeit machte er uns selig durch das Bad der Wiedergeburt und Erneuerung des heiligen Geistes,
German to English
4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit
8 aber von dem Sohn: “Gott, dein Stuhl währt von Ewigkeit zu Ewigkeit; das Zepter deines Reichs ist ein richtiges Zepter
German to English
8 But of the Son: “God, Thy throne endures for ever and ever: the scepter of thy kingdom is a real scepter.”
Martin Luther’s translation identifies Christ Jesus as not only the Son of God, but also as God the Son. Luther had long before broken away from the Catholic Church, so the idea that he somehow wanted to appease church leaders does not make a logical argument. Luther’s translation of these verses are almost identical to what is found in the King James Bible.
Martin Luther was a German Monk who came to realize that the Catholic Church of his day had become political and was in need of reform. Luther took it upon himself to challenge the power of the church and state of his day and wrote The Ninety-Five Theses (original Latin: Disputatio pro declaratione virtutis indulgentiarum) which he nailed on the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg, according to university custom. On the same day, Luther sent a hand-written copy, accompanied with honourable comments, to the archbishop Albert of Mainz and Magdeburg. Thus began the Lutheran, later known as the Protestant Reformation. Luther believed the Bible teaches salvation by grace through faith and that not of ourselves, but a gift of God. He believed in the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Martin Luther used the following words and scripture quotes to explain the concept for “justification” in the Smalcald Articles:
The first and chief article is this: Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, died for our sins and was raised again for our justification (Romans 3:24–25). He alone is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), and God has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6). All have sinned and are justified freely, without their own works and merits, by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in His blood (Romans 3:23–25). This is necessary to believe. This cannot be otherwise acquired or grasped by any work, law or merit. Therefore, it is clear and certain that this faith alone justifies us … Nothing of this article can be yielded or surrendered, even though heaven and earth and everything else falls ( Mark 13:31).
Prior to Luther there were many other partial German translations of the Holy Bible. The first printed Bible (the Mentel Bible) appeared at Strassburg no later than 1466 and ran through 18 editions before 1522. It is also to be noted that the Germans believed Jesus Christ to be God in the flesh prior to the Lutheran translation. Some were Catholics, but many were not. Their songs and their literature reflect that Germans believed Jesus Christ to be God incarnate.
Those cult leaders in the United States who deny the deity of Christ quote the King James Bible and the translators of the King James Bible as being deceivers who deliberately misled millions of people to believe a false doctrine concerning Christ. They seem to forget that other translators, who also translated the Bible from the original languages, interpreted these important verses the same as those who translated the King James Bible.