109 Facts About Martin Luther


Martin Luther was the seminal figure of the Protestant Reformation, and his theological beliefs form the basis of Lutheranism.


Martin Luther came to reject several teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church; in particular, he disputed the view on indulgences.


Martin Luther died in 1546 with Pope Leo X's excommunication still in effect.


Martin Luther taught that salvation and, consequently, eternal life are not earned by good deeds; rather, they are received only as the free gift of God's grace through the believer's faith in Jesus Christ as redeemer from sin.


Martin Luther's theology challenged the authority and office of the pope by teaching that the Bible is the only source of divinely revealed knowledge, and opposed sacerdotalism by considering all baptized Christians to be a holy priesthood.


Martin Luther's hymns influenced the development of singing in Protestant churches.


In two of his later works, Martin Luther expressed anti-Judaistic views, calling for the expulsion of Jews and burning of synagogues.


Martin Luther had several brothers and sisters and is known to have been close to one of them, Jacob.


Hans Luther was ambitious for himself and his family, and he was determined to see Martin, his eldest son, become a lawyer.


Martin Luther sent Martin to Latin schools in Mansfeld, then Magdeburg in 1497, where he attended a school operated by a lay group called the Brethren of the Common Life, and Eisenach in 1498.


Martin Luther later compared his education there to purgatory and hell.


Martin Luther sought assurances about life and was drawn to theology and philosophy, expressing particular interest in Aristotle, William of Ockham, and Gabriel Biel.


Martin Luther was deeply influenced by two tutors, Bartholomaeus Arnoldi von Usingen and Jodocus Trutfetter, who taught him to be suspicious of even the greatest thinkers and to test everything himself by experience.


Philosophy proved to be unsatisfying, offering assurance about the use of reason but none about loving God, which to Martin Luther was more important.


Martin Luther's father was furious over what he saw as a waste of Luther's education.


Martin Luther described this period of his life as one of deep spiritual despair.


Johann von Staupitz, his superior, concluded that Martin Luther needed more work to distract him from excessive introspection and ordered him to pursue an academic career.


Martin Luther spent the rest of his career in this position at the University of Wittenberg.


Martin Luther was made provincial vicar of Saxony and Thuringia by his religious order in 1515.


Martin Luther enclosed in his letter a copy of his "Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences", which came to be known as the Ninety-five Theses.


Martin Luther's writings circulated widely, reaching France, England, and Italy as early as 1519.


Martin Luther published a short commentary on Galatians and his Work on the Psalms.


From 1510 to 1520, Martin Luther lectured on the Psalms, and on the books of Hebrews, Romans, and Galatians.


Martin Luther became convinced that the church was corrupt in its ways and had lost sight of what he saw as several of the central truths of Christianity.


Martin Luther began to teach that salvation or redemption is a gift of God's grace, attainable only through faith in Jesus as the Messiah.


Martin Luther came to understand justification as entirely the work of God.


Martin Luther explains his concept of "justification" in the Smalcald Articles:.


Martin Luther alone is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, and God has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.


Archbishop Albrecht did not reply to Martin Luther's letter containing the Ninety-five Theses.


Martin Luther needed the revenue from the indulgences to pay off a papal dispensation for his tenure of more than one bishopric.


The Elector Frederick persuaded the pope to have Martin Luther examined at Augsburg, where the Imperial Diet was held.


Martin Luther made certain concessions to the Saxon, who was a relative of the Elector and promised to remain silent if his opponents did.


Martin Luther confirmed he was their author but requested time to think about the answer to the second question.


Martin Luther prayed, consulted friends, and gave his response the next day:.


Martin Luther, there is no one of the heresies which have torn the bosom of the church, which has not derived its origin from the various interpretation of the Scripture.


Martin Luther assured monks and nuns that they could break their vows without sin, because vows were an illegitimate and vain attempt to win salvation.


Martin Luther made his pronouncements from Wartburg in the context of rapid developments at Wittenberg, of which he was kept fully informed.


Martin Luther next set about reversing or modifying the new church practices.


Martin Luther justified his opposition to the rebels on three grounds.


Thereafter, radicalism found a refuge in the Anabaptist movement and other religious movements, while Martin Luther's Reformation flourished under the wing of the secular powers.


Some priests and former members of religious orders had already married, including Andreas Karlstadt and Justus Jonas, but Martin Luther's wedding set the seal of approval on clerical marriage.


Martin Luther had long condemned vows of celibacy on biblical grounds, but his decision to marry surprised many, not least Melanchthon, who called it reckless.


Martin Luther did not wish to replace one controlling system with another.


Martin Luther concentrated on the church in the Electorate of Saxony, acting only as an adviser to churches in new territories, many of which followed his Saxon model.


Martin Luther worked closely with the new elector, John the Steadfast, to whom he turned for secular leadership and funds on behalf of a church largely shorn of its assets and income after the break with Rome.


The Instructions for the Visitors of Parish Pastors in Electoral Saxony, drafted by Melanchthon with Martin Luther's approval, stressed the role of repentance in the forgiveness of sins, despite Martin Luther's position that faith alone ensures justification.


The Eisleben reformer Johannes Agricola challenged this compromise, and Martin Luther condemned him for teaching that faith is separate from works.


The Instruction is a problematic document for those seeking a consistent evolution in Martin Luther's thought and practice.


Martin Luther retained the elevation of the host and chalice, while trappings such as the Mass vestments, altar, and candles were made optional, allowing freedom of ceremony.


Martin Luther's service included congregational singing of hymns and psalms in German, as well as parts of the liturgy, including Martin Luther's unison setting of the Creed.


Martin Luther provided simplified versions of the baptism and marriage services.


Martin Luther devised the catechism as a method of imparting the basics of Christianity to the congregations.


Martin Luther incorporated questions and answers in the catechism so that the basics of Christian faith would not just be learned by rote, "the way monkeys do it", but understood.


Martin Luther rewrote each article of the Creed to express the character of the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit.


Martin Luther's goal was to enable the catechumens to see themselves as a personal object of the work of the three persons of the Trinity, each of which works in the catechumen's life.


That is, Martin Luther depicts the Trinity not as a doctrine to be learned, but as persons to be known.


Martin Luther had published his German translation of the New Testament in 1522, and he and his collaborators completed the translation of the Old Testament in 1534, when the whole Bible was published.


Martin Luther continued to work on refining the translation until the end of his life.


Martin Luther's translation used the variant of German spoken at the Saxon chancellery, intelligible to both northern and southern Germans.


The Martin Luther Bible influenced other vernacular translations, such as the Tyndale Bible, a precursor of the King James Bible.


Martin Luther connected high art and folk music, all classes, clergy and laity, men, women and children.


Martin Luther often accompanied the sung hymns with a lute, later recreated as the waldzither that became a national instrument of Germany in the 20th century.


Martin Luther's hymns were frequently evoked by particular events in his life and the unfolding Reformation.


Martin Luther's 1524 creedal hymn "" is a three-stanza confession of faith prefiguring Martin Luther's 1529 three-part explanation of the Apostles' Creed in the Small Catechism.


Martin Luther wrote "Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir" in 1523 as a hymnic version of Psalm 130 and sent it as a sample to encourage his colleagues to write psalm-hymns for use in German worship.


In 1524 Martin Luther developed his original four-stanza psalm paraphrase into a five-stanza Reformation hymn that developed the theme of "grace alone" more fully.


Martin Luther wrote "Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein".


Martin Luther transformed A solus ortus cardine to "" and Veni Creator Spiritus to "".


Martin Luther wrote two hymns on the Ten Commandments, "" and "Mensch, willst du leben seliglich".


Martin Luther wrote for Pentecost "Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist", and adopted for Easter "", based on Victimae paschali laudes.


Martin Luther paraphrased the Te Deum as "Herr Gott, dich loben wir" with a simplified form of the melody.


Martin Luther supplied four of eight songs of the First Lutheran hymnal Achtliederbuch, 18 of 26 songs of the Erfurt Enchiridion, and 24 of the 32 songs in the first choral hymnal with settings by Johann Walter, Eyn geystlich Gesangk Buchleyn, all published in 1524.


In contrast to the views of John Calvin and Philipp Melanchthon, throughout his life Martin Luther maintained that it was not false doctrine to believe that a Christian's soul sleeps after it is separated from the body in death.


Martin Luther affirmed the continuity of one's personal identity beyond death.


Francis Blackburne argues that John Jortin misread this and other passages from Martin Luther, while Gottfried Fritschel points out that it actually refers to the soul of a man "in this life" tired from his daily labour who at night enters his bedchamber and whose sleep is interrupted by dreams.


Martin Luther insisted on the Real presence of the body and blood of Christ in the consecrated bread and wine, which he called the sacramental union, while his opponents believed God to be only spiritually or symbolically present.


Some scholars have asserted that Martin Luther taught that faith and reason were antithetical in the sense that questions of faith could not be illuminated by reason.


Martin Luther rather seeks to separate faith and reason in order to honor the separate spheres of knowledge that each applies to.


Martin Luther had argued against resisting the Turks in his 1518 Explanation of the Ninety-five Theses, provoking accusations of defeatism.


Martin Luther made clear that the spiritual war against an alien faith was separate, to be waged through prayer and repentance.


Around the time of the Siege of Vienna, Martin Luther wrote a prayer for national deliverance from the Turks, asking God to "give to our emperor perpetual victory over our enemies".


In 1542, Martin Luther read a Latin translation of the Qur'an.


Martin Luther went on to produce several critical pamphlets on Islam, which he called "Mohammedanism" or "the Turk".


Martin Luther responded to these theses with six series of theses against Agricola and the antinomians, four of which became the basis for disputations between 1538 and 1540.


Martin Luther responded to these assertions in other writings, such as his 1539 open letter to C Guttel Against the Antinomians, and his book On the Councils and the Church from the same year.


Martin Luther's teaching of the Ten Commandments, therefore, has clear eschatological overtones, which, characteristically for Martin Luther, do not encourage world-flight but direct the Christian to service to the neighbor in the common, daily vocations of this perishing world.


Martin Luther told him to "tell a good, strong lie" and deny the marriage completely, which Philip did.


Brecht argues that Martin Luther's mistake was not that he gave private pastoral advice, but that he miscalculated the political implications.


Martin Luther considered the Jews blasphemers and liars because they rejected the divinity of Jesus.


In 1523, Martin Luther advised kindness toward the Jews in That Jesus Christ was Born a Jew and aimed to convert them to Christianity.


Martin Luther argued that the Jews were no longer the chosen people but "the devil's people", and referred to them with violent language.


Martin Luther launched a polemic against vagrants in his 1528 preface to Liber Vagatorum, saying that the Jews had contributed Hebrew words as a main basis of the Rotwelsch cryptolect.


Martin Luther warned in the admonitory preface Christians not to give them alms as it was, in his opinion, to forsake the truly poor.


Martin Luther spoke out against the Jews in Saxony, Brandenburg, and Silesia.


Martin Luther was the most widely read author of his generation, and within Germany he acquired the status of a prophet.


Nevertheless, his misguided agitation had the evil result that Martin Luther fatefully became one of the 'church fathers' of anti-Semitism and thus provided material for the modern hatred of the Jews, cloaking it with the authority of the Reformer.


At the heart of scholarly debate about Martin Luther's influence is whether it is anachronistic to view his work as a precursor of the racial antisemitism of the Nazis.


Hans J Hillerbrand agreed that to focus on Luther was to adopt an essentially ahistorical perspective of Nazi antisemitism that ignored other contributory factors in German history.


Martin Luther's position was entirely religious and in no respect racial.


Martin Luther had been suffering from ill health for years, including Meniere's disease, vertigo, fainting, tinnitus, and a cataract in one eye.


Martin Luther journeyed to Mansfeld twice in late 1545 to participate in the negotiations for a settlement, and a third visit was needed in early 1546 for their completion.


Martin Luther thanked God for revealing his Son to him in whom he had believed.


Martin Luther was buried in the Schlosskirche in Wittenberg, in front of the pulpit.


However the building where Martin Luther actually died was torn down in 1570.


Schlosskirche in Wittenberg, where Martin Luther posted his Ninety-five Theses, is his gravesite.


Martin Luther made effective use of Johannes Gutenberg's printing press to spread his views.


Martin Luther switched from Latin to German in his writing to appeal to a broader audience.


Between 1500 and 1530, Martin Luther's works represented one fifth of all materials printed in Germany.


Reformation Day commemorates the publication of the Ninety-five Theses in 1517 by Martin Luther; it has been historically important in the following European entities.