Martin Luther – select quotes

As it is the business of tailors to make clothes and of cobblers to mend shoes, so it is the business of Christians to pray.

Cursed be that love and unity for whose sake the Word of God must be put at stake.

Even St. Augustine is obliged to confess, as he does in his De doctrina christiana, that a Christian teacher who is to expound the Scriptures must know, in addition to Latin, also Greek and Hebrew; otherwise it is impossible not to stumble constantly, nay, there is room enough for labor and toil even when one is well versed in the languages. There is a great difference, therefore, between a simple preacher of the faith and an expositor of Scripture, or as St. Paul puts it, a prophet. A simple preacher, to be sure, is in possession of so many clear passages and texts from translations that he can know and teach Christ, lead a holy life and preach to others. But to interpret Scripture, to treat it independently, and to dispute with those who cite it incorrectly, to that he is unequal; that cannot be done without languages. Yet there must always be such prophets in the Church, who are able to treat and expound the Scriptures and also to dispute; a saintly life and correct doctrine are not enough. Hence languages are absolutely necessary in the Church, just as prophets or expositors are necessary, although not every Christian or preacher need be such a prophet, as St. Paul says in I Corinthians xii and Ephesians iv.

Every institution in which means are not unceasingly occupied with the Word of God must be corrupt.

Grace is given to heal the spiritually sick, not to decorate spiritual heroes.

I am much afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, and engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount.

I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all. But whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.

If any man ascribes anything of salvation, even the very least thing, to the free will of man, he knows nothing of grace, and he has not learned Jesus Christ rightly.

Learn to know Christ and him crucified. Learn to sing to him, and say, ‘Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness, I am your sin. You have taken upon yourself what is mine and given me what is yours. You have become what you were not so that I might become what I was not

Live as if Christ died yesterday, rose this morning and is coming back tomorrow.

Next to faith this is the highest art—to be content with the calling in which God has placed you.

Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.

Peace if possible, truth at all costs.

The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me.

This life therefore, is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it; the process is not yet finished but it is going on. This is not the end but it is the road; all does not yet gleam in glory but all is being purified.

When I am angry I can write, pray, and preach well, for then my whole temperament is quickened, my understanding sharpened, and all mundane vexations and temptations depart.

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