Various Christian traditions observe the season of Lent. According to Mary Fairchildwriter for, Lutheran, Methodist, Anglican, and Presbyterian Protestant denominations, and Roman Catholics all celebrate Lent. In Western Christianity, it includes the forty days before Easter, not counting Sundays, starting with Ash Wednesday, when the ashes from last year’s Palm Sunday celebration are used to mark the foreheads of worshipers, especially in the Roman Catholic tradition.

According to Fairchild and Nancy Gaifyllia, in the Eastern Orthodox branch of Christianity, Great Lent is observed during the 40 days preceding Palm Sunday with fasting continuing during the Holy Week of Orthodox Easter. Lent for Eastern Orthodox churches begins on Monday (called Clean Monday) and Ash Wednesday is not observed.

It’s not mentioned in the Bible, so many Protestant denominations do not celebrate it, although prayer and fasting are mentioned throughout the Bible. My tradition focuses more on Bible study, so I’ve chosen to publish part of the account of the last week of Jesus’ life on earth during this time of preparation.

I introduced the project of a new word-by-word translation of Martin Luther’s Bible in a Troy Patch blog post. I like Luther’s pithy way of expressing God’s truth and thought I’d share this new translation with those who don’t know German, while trying to regain the fluency I had during a high school immersion program in Krefeld, Germany.

Catherine Winkworth translated more than 100 great German hymns into English in the 1800s, and I hope to follow in her footsteps with translating the Book of Matthew (completed now) and a few other New Testament books in time for the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017.

So far I’ve completed Matthew and Acts, and am working on 1 Peter. Maybe I’ll post my word-by-word translation of Psalm 2 next.

Here is the first part of Matthew Chapter 26. I encourage everyone to read this and compare it with your favorite English translation of the Bible. Compare the parallel passages in the other gospel accounts (Mark, Luke & John) to get the complete story.

The Gospel According to Matthew, Chapter 26

            Word-by-word English translation from Martin Luther’s German, revised by the German Bible Society 1984

 Jesus’ Suffering, Death and Resurrection (Chapters 26-28)

(see parallel passages in Mark 16-18; Luke 22-24; John 18-21)

The Plan of the High Priests and Elders

And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these talks, that He said to His disciples: “You know that in two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up, that He will be crucified.”

Then the high priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, who was named Caiaphas, and held council, how with cunning they could seize and kill Jesus. However they said, “Certainly not at the festival, so that it does not produce an uproar within the people.”

The Anointing at Bethany

When now Jesus was in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman walked up to Him, who had a jar of costly ointment and poured it on His head, when He sat at the table.

When the disciples saw that, they became indignant and said, “Why this extravagance? It could have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.”

When Jesus perceived that, He said to them, “Why are you troubling the woman? She has done a good deed to Me. For the poor you always have among you, but Me you do not always have. That she poured the ointment on My head, that she did for My burial.

Truly, I tell you: wherever this gospel will be preached in the entire world, there they will also tell in her memory what she has done.”

The Treachery of Judas

Then one of the Twelve, by the name of Judas Iscariot, went to the high priests and said, “What will you give me? I will betray Him to you.” And they offered him thirty pieces of silver.

And from then on he sought an opportunity that he could betray Him.

to be continued…

Translator’s notes and headings are in italics, while headings and bold text are in regular font as they appeared in the 1984 German Bible Society edition. Words in italics within the text were added for clarity. Verse numbers and most cross references from the German version have been omitted for readability. Permission is granted to copy this freely for individual or group Bible studies as long as passages are quoted in their entirety and proper attribution is given. Copyright Dale Murrish 2014.