Which Bible do the Amish use?

Amish use both English and German Bibles

amish bibleThe Amish use the German Martin Luther Bible in church.  For an English version, they typically use the King James translation, though some Amish may use the New International Version (NIV).  The language the Amish speak, Pennsylvania German, is generally not a written tongue, though there have been attempts made to create a Bible in the Pennsylvania German language.

Amish songbook

Amish also use a special songbook known as the Ausbund.  The Ausbund is the longest-lived songbook in continuous use.  The hymns it contains are hundreds of years old, and were composed by Anabaptist forefathers.  Common themes include human suffering and faith in God.  The Ausbund contains no musical notes, and tunes are passed down from one generation to the next.  Amish often get together in order to practice singing from the Ausbund.

Other books and publications read by the Amish

The Martyr’s Mirror is an important book for Amish as well.  It is an historical account of the suffering of Christian martyrs.  There are many stories of persecution of early Anabaptists, predecessors to the Amish in Europe.  Amish take inspiration from the tales found in the Martyr’s Mirror.

Amish families often buy their children Bible story books.  Popular sets include the Arthur Maxwell series as well as the Family Bible Library.  Classic children’s books are commonly seen in Amish homes as well, as well as traditional readers.

Some Amish read spiritually-themed magazines and books.  A number even read the more popular religious authors such as Max Lucado, John Maxwell, and Rick Warren.

Works of fiction are not very common, but are found in some Amish homes.  There is likely a significant contingent of readers of Amish fiction among Amish themselves.  Books on history are popular as well as biographies and books on the natural world.

Additionally, Amish read newspapers, often local editions.  Amish produced newspapers such as The Budget or Die Botschaft are very popular.  Some Amish may subscribe to national news magazines.

For further information, see:

The Riddle of Amish Culture, Donald B. Kraybill

The Amish and the Media, eds. Diane Zimmerman Umble and David Weaver-Zercher; esp. chapters eight (“Inscribing Community: The Budget and Die Botschaft in Amish Life”, Steven M. Nolt) and nine (“Publish or Perish: Amish Publishing and Old Order Identity”, Karen Johnson-Weiner)

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  1. Margaret Gianonatti

    purchase a bible

    Can you recommend a site to purchase a German Martin Luther bible that would be used in an Amish home. Or a typically used Bible in an Amish home.

    Thank you for your assistance with this matter.

    1. Joshua H.

      Where to find a German Luther Bible

      Margaret and Erik,

      Another place to find a German Luther Bible is from an organization called the Trinitarian Bible Society; they sell an older translation from 1912. More recent German Luther translations can be ordered from Germany.

      Gospel Publishers prints the King James in parallel with the 1912 Luther Bible. The German text is printed in a gothic font; the Trinitarian Bible Society edition uses a roman font. The Crossway edition mentioned above has more recent German and English texts.

  2. Christina

    You can get a Luther Bible through Amazon.com or go ask your local Christian bookstore if they can order it for you. Quite a few pop up in our database at the bookstore where I work.

    Crossway Publishers has a bilingual Luther/English Standard so you can see the German and English side by side–this is also found on Amazon (or possibly your local Christian bookstore).

    And Lehman’s (lehmans.com) sells a bilingual New Testament English/Pennsylvania Dutch

    1. Richard M. Woodward

      Free biblingual KJV and Martin Luther Bible

      My website at luther.woodwardworks.com contains a bilingual bible where each verse is displayed once in KJV english and then again in German (from the 1912 version of Martin Luther’s translation of the Bible).

      Each book of the Bible can be read online or downloaded as an EPUB or a PDF. There is no charge for this. The EPUB version is not protected by DRM (Digital Rights Management), so it can be converted to other formats easily with appropriate software (such as the free download of the ‘calibre’ program.

      For those who want to avoid converting of the EPUB books there is also provided a link to Amazon’s website for many (but not all) of the books. A small fee is charged by Amazon, however, if you download from their website.

      1. Richard M. Woodward

        I have changed my website http://luther.woodwardworks.com. There are now two online bibles for Martin Luther’s Bible Translation.

        Both are free to use. One is Luther’s final translation in 1545 which is entirely in German.

        The other is a bilingual bible with each verse of the Old Testament and the New Testament displayed three ways. First the verse is displayed as it appears in English in the 1886 King James Bible. The next line shows the verse as it appears in the the 1912 German translation of Luther’s Bible. Finally, the third line displays the verse as it appears in Luther’s 1545 translation (translated by Martin Luther just before his death). Note that cross-references and notes are not shown in the bilingual Bible.

        1. Christian M.

          Website link?


          I am writing to ask for the website you posted for to download or view the german and gothic print bibles? Your links do not work as of the time of this posting, so now I kindly await a response.

          God bless,

          Christian M.

  3. Carolyn B

    Using The Ausbund in What Bible do the Amish Use

    Please explain how The Ausbund un-printed tunes are known and passed down through the generations. Thank you so much. I love reading the posts as much as Erik’s articles. Blessings to all who love Amish America.

    1. Thanks Carolyn, it’s done in the same way stories or songs in other cultures are passed on–they are simply heard and practiced and used in church, so they stay alive from one generation to the next.

  4. john wilson

    K.J.V. bible said go teach and preach God,s word and do sole wining is this part of their thinking. Thank You

    1. John thanks for your question, I think you are referring to mission work and evangelization? These two posts might provide some answers:



  5. Charles E. Miller, Jr.

    Die Luther Bibel

    Ich finde es ganz interessant, dass Ihre Gruppe von Christen die Bibel von Martin Luther benutzen. Ich habe eine Kopie davon, und ich lese sie oft. Ich habe ebenfalls eine Kopie der King James Bible, und die englische Sprache von 1611 ist eigentlich verwendet. Schoen nicht? Ich war Austauschschueler in der Bundesrepublik Duetschland im Jahre 1974. Ich muss sagen, das ich das genossen habe. Ich war dann jung und gluecklich. Jetzt werde ich ein alter Mann. Meine Familie ist jetzt beim Herrn Jesus, und ich vermisse sie so sehr. Ich habe eine Frau namens Nancy und einen Schwager, der in Stanly County in Nordkarolina lebt. Wir haben keine Kinder, deshalb kann das Leben ganz einsam sein. Der Herr Jesus segne Sie alle und Ihre Kirchen. Bringen Sie das Wort Gottes der ganzen Welt.

    Mit herzlichen Groessen,

    Karl Eduard Mueller, Jr. und Nancy Webb Mueller

    1. Charles E. Miller, Jr.

      Mit herzlichen Gruessen,

      Karl und Nancy. Ich habe Gruessen falsch buchstabiert. Jedermann irrt sich, nicht?

  6. dalphoN Israel

    Amish Bible

    When I visited an Amish farm in Michigan the Amish man I talked with (I purchased a bicycle from him), talked with me about his religion and showed me the Christian verse where it talks about “Run the race in such a way so as to win the prize.” I cannot remember where in the Christian Bible this is found but his English version did not imply competing in a sport of any kind, but rather it said somethig to the effect of living a life to win a win a spiritual reward. I am Jewish but I do know that the Christian Epistles state something about sporting events, for it was very influenced by the Greeks. Does anyone k now what version the Amish use. I cannot email them, to find out but I do know they do not use the KJV or the NIV. At least this Amish man did not.

    1. John Repischak

      KJV Verse References to Finishing the Race

      Here is a list of verses from an online KJV Bible, referring to the Christian Life as a test of endurance: https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Bible-Verses-About-Finish-The-Race/.

      I’m pretty sure that your Amish acquaintance was using the winning the race reference in the figurative sense, as Paul did in 1st Corinthians; though, depending your intended use of the bicycle, he may have decided to impart some wisdom.

  7. Amish Girl- Rebecca

    We use the KJV mostly and Martin Luther’s German bible.

  8. Which Bible do the Amish use?

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  9. Na

    Please send bible 2335 crooks st Ashland ky 41101

  10. Dean

    The Other Amish Bible: The Christoph Frohschauer Bible

    “Das gantz nüw Testament Vnsers Herrn Jesu Christi, Recht grundtlich vertütscht,” was printed in Basel in 1729 and became a popular New Testament among many Amish and was based on the Froschauer New Testament of 1525. They were forbidden in Bernese territory because they were known as Anabaptist Testaments, and wherever found they were confiscated. Repeatedly the Bern council appealed to the Basel authorities to punish the publishers and printers of these Testaments. The following reprints bear the same antique title, including the former symbol of the printer Niklaus Brylinger (three lions with an hourglass), also found on the Basel reprints of 1588 and 1687; instead of the place of printing is found “Frankfurt und Leipzig anno 1737” (1790 and 1825). The last are known as the Täufer-Testamente, which were likewise doubtless printed in Basel. In 1744 a reprint of the entire Bible, i.e., the folio edition of 1536 was issued. The book was printed in Strasbourg “bey Simon Kürssner, Cantzley-Buchdrucker.” In the foreword the reason for the reprint is stated; namely, that the edition of 1536 was in great demand for its faithful translation and had now become very rare. In 1787 the Froschauer New Testament was reprinted at Ephrata, Pa., by the Cloister Press, for the Pennsylvania Mennonites.

    Two modern reprints have been done — the 1536 edition was reprinted in 1975 by Amos Hoover of Denver, Pennsylvania and the McMillan Hutterite colony in Cayley, Alberta, primarily for use by the Hutterite Brethren. A facsimile reprint of the 1531 printing was done in 1983 by Theologischer Verlag Zürich.


  11. Marty Coley

    Amish people

    I enjoyed my visit to the Amish community in Tenn.