““Since then your majesty and your lordships desire a simple reply, I will answer without horns or without teeth. Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason- I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other- my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.”
“Let the man who would hear God speak, read Holy Scriptures.”
“The Holy Spirit himself and God, the Creator of all things, is the Author of this book.”
“But be assured that no one will make a doctor of the Holy Scripture save only the Holy Ghost from heaven.”
“There is not a word in the Bible which is extra cruem, which can be understood without reference to the cross.”
“I am afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labour in explaining the Holy Scriptures, and engraving them on the hearts of youth. I would advise no one to send his child where the Holy Scriptures are not supreme. Every institution in which men and women are not unceasingly occupied with the Word of God must be corrupt.”
“If I had kept at it, I would have become exceedingly good at locating things in the Bible. At that time no other study pleased me so much as sacred literature. With great loathing I read physics [Aristotle’s Physics], and my heart was aglow when the time came to return to the Bible . . . I read the Bible diligently. Sometimes one statement occupied all my thoughts for a whole day.” (LW 54:14).
“For some years now, I have read through the Bible twice every year. If you picture the Bible to be a mighty tree and every word a little branch, I have shaken every one of these branches because I wanted to know what it was and what it meant.” (LW 54:165).
“The Bible is the proper book for men. There the truth is distinguished from error far more clearly than anywhere else, and one finds something new in it every day. For twenty-eight years, since I became a doctor, I have now constantly read and preached the Bible; and yet I have not exhausted it but find something new in it every day.” (WA TR 5, no. 5193).
“There I began to understand [in Romans 1:17] that the righteousness of God is that by which the righteous lives by a gift of God, namely by faith . . . Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered the gates of paradise itself through open gates. There a totally other face of the entire Scripture showed itself to me. Thereupon I ran through the Scriptures from memory. I also found in other terms an analogy, as, the work of God, that is, what God does in us, the power of God, with which he makes us strong, the wisdom of God, with which he makes us wise, the strength of God, the salvation of God, the glory of God.” (LW 34:337).
“The neglect of Scripture, even by spiritual leaders, is one of the greatest evils in the world. Everything else, arts or literature, is pursued and practiced day and night, and there is no end of labor and effort; but Holy Scripture is neglected as though there were no need of it. Those who condescend to read it want to absorb everything at once. There has never been an art or a book on earth that everyone has so quickly mastered as the Holy Scriptures. But its words are not, as some think, mere literature (Lesewort); they are words of life (Lebewort), intended not for speculation and fancy but for life and action. By why complain? No one pays any attention to our lament. May Christ our Lord help us by His Spirit to love and honor His holy Word with all our heart. Amen.” (LW 14:46)
“This German Bible (this is not praise for myself but the work pages itself) is so good and precious that it’s better than all other versions, Greek and Latin, and one can find more in it than in all commentaries, for we are removing impediments and difficulties so that other people may read it without hindrance. I’m only concerned that there won’t be much reading in the Bible, for many people are tired of it and nobody clamors for it any more.” (LW 54:408).
“You should diligently learn the Word of God and by no means imagine that you know it. Let him who is able to read take a psalm in the morning, or some other chapter of Scripture, and study it for a while. This is what I do. When I get up in the morning, I pray and recite the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer with the children, adding any one of the psalms. I do this only to keep myself well acquainted with these matters, and I do not want to let the mildew of the notion grow that I know them well enough. The devil is a greater rascal than you think he is. You do as yet not know what sort of fellow he is and what a desperate rogue you are. His definite design is to get you tired of the Word and in this way to draw you away from it. This is his aim.” (WA 32, 64f.).
“I implore them not to imagine that they have learned these parts of the Catechism [10 Commandments, Apostles’ Creed, Lord’s Prayer] perfectly . . . Even if their knowledge of the Catechism were perfect (though that is impossible in this life), yet it is highly profitable and fruitful daily to read it and make it the subject of meditation and conversation. In such reading, conversation, and meditation the Holy Spirit is present and bestows ever new and greater light and fervor . . . . Nothing is more effectual against the devil, the world, the flesh, and all evil thoughts than to occupy oneself with the Word of God, talk about it and meditate on it . . . For this reason alone you should eagerly read, recite, ponder and practice the Catechism, even if the only blessing and benefit you obtain from it is to rout the devil and evil thoughts. For he cannot bear to hear God’ s Word. God’s Word is not like some empty tale, such as the one about Dietrich of Bern, but as St. Paul says in Rom. 1:16, it is “the power of God,” indeed, the power of God which burns the devil and gives us immeasurable strength, comfort, and help.” (Book of Concord; Tappert edition; Large Catechism 9-11).Here [John 5:39,40,43]
“Christ would indicate the principal reason why the Scripture was given by God. Men are to study and search in it and to learn that He, He, Mary’s Son, is the one who is able to give eternal life to all who come to Him and believe in Him. Therefore, he who would correctly and profitably read Scripture should see to it that he finds Christ in it; then he finds life eternal without fail. On the other hand, if I do not so study and understand Moses and the prophets as to find that Christ came from heaven for the sake of my salvation, became man, suffered, died, was buried, rose, and ascended into heaven so that through Him I enjoy reconciliation with God, forgiveness of all my sins, grace, righteousness, and life eternal, then my reading in Scripture is of no help whatsoever to my salvation. I may, of course, become a learned man by reading and studying Scripture and preach what I have acquired; yet all this would do me no good whatever.” (WA 51,4)
“…. Since the Fall every man has been a philosopher, for he has taken his experience of the world and his knowledge of reality — which he has succeeded in describing scientifically — as a standard by which to measure God. But the intellect does not suffice to grasp the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; He must be apprehended through the Scriptures. The “God” created by man is a false god of his own making. (Heiko Oberman, “Luther: Man Between God and the Devil,” 170)
“In this psalm David is always says that he will speak, think, talk, hear, read, day and night constantly- but about nothing else than God’s Word and Commandments. For God wants to give you His Spirit only through the external Word.”
“The apostles themselves considered it necessary to put the New Testament into Greek to bind it fast to that language, doubtless in order to preserve it for us safe and sound in the sacred ark. For they foresaw that if it were contained only in one’s heads, wild and fearful disorder and confusion, and many various interpretations, fancies and doctrines would arise in the Church, which could be prevented and from which the plain man could be protected only by committing the New Testament to writing the language.” [Hugh T. Keer; p. 17]“
“If I could today become king or emperor, I would not give up my office as preacher.” [Meuser; Luther the Preacher, p. 139]“
“Dear Lord God, I want to preach so that you are glorified. I want to speak of you, praise you, praise your name. Although I probably cannot make it turn out well, won’t you make it turn out well?” [Meuser; Luther The Preacher, p. 51]
“Nevertheless, I beat on importunately upon Paul at that place, most ardently desiring to know what St. Paul wanted…At last, by the mercy of God, meditating day and night, I gave heed to the context of the words, namely, “In it God is revealed as it is written, He who through faith is righteousness shall live.” There I began to understand that the righteousness of God is that by which the righteous lives by a gift of God, namely by faith. And this meaning: the righteousness of God is revealed by the gospel, namely, the passive righteousness with which the merciful God justifies us by faith, as it is written, “he who through faith is righteous shall live.” Here I felt I was altogether born again and had entered itself through open gates. Here a totally other face of entire Scriptures showed itself to me. Thereupon I ran through the Scriptures from memory…” And I extolled my sweetest word with love as great as the hatred with which I had before hated the word ‘righteousness of God.’ Thus that place in Paul was for me truth the gate to paradise.” [Dillinger, 11-12]
“For a number of years I have now read through the Bible twice. If the Bible were a large, mighty tree and all its words were little branches I have tapped at all the branches, eager to know what was there and what it had to offer.” [Luther Says: Vol 1, 83]
“He who is well acquainted with the text of scripture, is a distinguished theologian. For a Bible passage or text is of more value than the comments of four authors.” [Luther Says, vol 3; 1355]
“We are like men who study that sign-posts and never travel the road. The dear fathers wished by their writing, to lead us to the Scriptures, but we use them as to be led away from the Scriptures, though the Scriptures alone are our vineyard in which we ought all to work and toil.” “The Bible is being buried by the wealth of commentaries, and the text is being neglected, although in every branch of learning they are the best who are well acquainted with the text.”Treat a passage like Moses did the rock in the desert, which he smote with his rod until water gushed out for his thirsty people. “The Bible is a remarkable fountain: more one draws and drinks of it, the more it stimulates thirst.” [Plass; Vol 1; 67]
“Solomon the preacher is giving me a hard time, as though he begrudged anyone lecturing on him. But he must yield.” [Bornkam]
“Some pastors and preachers are lazy and no good. They do not pray; they do not read; they do not search the Scripture….The call is: watch, study attend to reading. In truth you cannot read too much in Scripture; and what you read carefully you cannot read too carefully, and what you understand well you cannot teach too well, and what you teach well you cannot live too well… The devil… the world…and our flesh are raging and raving against us. Therefore, dear sirs and brothers, pastors and preachers, pray, read, study, be diligent… This evil, shameful time is not the season for being lazy, for sleeping and snoring.” [Mueser: Luther the Preacher; 40-41]
“That the Holy Scriptures cannot be penetrated by study and talent is most certain. Therefore your first duty is to begin to pray, and to this affect that if it please God to accomplish something for His glory- not for yours or any other person’s- he very graciously grant you a true understanding of His words. For no master of the divine words exists except the Author of these words, as He says: “They shall be all taught of God” [John 6:45]. You must, therefore, completely despair of your own industry and ability and rely solely on the inspiration of the Spirit.”
“Be assured that no one will make a doctor of the Holy Scripture save the Holy Ghost from heaven.”
“If I could today become a king or emperor, I would not give up my office as preacher.”
“Dear Lord God, I want to preach so that you are glorified. I want to speak of you, praise you, praise your name. Although I probably cannot make it turn out well, won’t you make it turn out well?”
“The household sweat is great; the political sweat is greater; the church sweat is the greatest.”
“Do not bind yourself to Aristotle, or any other teacher of a deceitful philosophy, but read the Word of God with diligence. Do not look for salvation in your own strength or in your good works, but in the merits of Christ and in God’s grace.”
“Do not let the wise of our days expect from me humility, or rather hypocrisy, enough to ask for their advice, before publishing what duty compels me to say. Whatever I do will be done, not by the prudence of men, but by counsel of God. If the work be of God, who shall stop it? If it be not, who can forward it? Not my will, nor theirs, nor ours; but thy will, O Holy Father, which art in heaven.”
“Well! If he likes it, let him abuse me, let him call me a heretic, schismatic, slanderer, and whatever he pleases: I shall not be his enemy for that, and I shall pray for him as a friend….But I cannot suffer him to treat the Holy Scriptures, our consolation [Rom. 15:4], as a sow treats a sack of oats.”
“I have no will but the Lord’s. Let Him do with me as seemeth good to Him. But if I had four hundred heads, I would rather lose them all than retract the testimony which I have borne to the holy Christian faith.”
“The gospel cannot be defended without tumult and without scandal. The Word of God is a sword, -a war, -a ruin, – a stumbling block, -a destruction, -a poison; and as Amos says, it meets us like a bear in the road or a lioness in the forest.”
“Let them destroy my works! I deserve nothing better; for all my wish has been to lead souls to the Bible, so that they might afterwards neglect my writings. Great God! if we had a knowledge of Scripture, what need would there be of any books of mine?”
“Is it not clear, according to Scripture, that the persecutors are generally wrong and the persecuted are generally right; that the majority has ever been on the side of falsehood, and the minority on that of truth? Truth in every age has caused an outcry.”
“If the gospel was of nature to be propagated or maintained by the powers of this world, God would not have entrusted it to fishermen. It belongs not to the princes and pontiffs of this age to defend the Word of God. They have enough to do to shelter themselves from the judgments of the Lord and of His Anointed. If I speak, it is in order that they may attain a knowledge of the divine Word, and that by it they may be saved.”
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