As I have spent time studying the life of Martin Luther one of the main things that he has taught me is to remember the importance of scripture. More specifically, Luther during the reformation recaptured in a fresh way the importance of adjusting all of life, to the authority of scripture. His words before the council prove that he not only confessed the authority of scripture but he based his life on the complete authority of the Bible. Luther was asked as he stood before the council to recant his books and articles. Luther’s response was compelling, “Unless I am convicted 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. God help me. Amen.”
At this time in his life, Luther had written a series of books and articles condemning the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church. One of the corruption that Luther identified was the practice of selling indulgences. The church had convinced the common people that the grace of God was available for purchase. According to this heresy you could forgo hell or even save a loved one from hell for a certain amount of cash. The main concern with the purchase of salvation is that it contradicted the clear teachings of Christ, the Bible and the early church. Very simply stated, is a person saved by grace or human merit? Based on the authority of scripture Luther took his stand.
As one of the leaders in the Protestant Reformation, Luther was the first to translate the Bible from the Latin scholarly language into the common German language of the people. Let his words on the flyleaf of the German Bible that he translated.
God will not be seen, known, or comprehended except through his Word alone. Whatever therefore one undertakes for salvation apart from the Word is in vain. God will not respond to that. He will not have it. He will not tolerate any other way. Therefore, let his Book in which He speaks to you be commended to you. For he did not cause it to be written to no purpose. He did not want us to let it lie there in neglect, as if he were speaking with mice under the bench or with flies on the pulpit. We are to read it, to think and speak about it, and to study it, certain that He Himself, not an angel or a creature, is speaking with us in it.
Based on Luther’s example, we should recognize the responsibility of every Christian to be equipped for life through the study of Scripture. In as much as the authority of the Bible mattered for Martin Luther and the reformers, it is just as important today.
Our Pastor writes most of the blog posts we publish, however, occasionally some of our other church leadership (some staff, some volunteer) who also contribute to the New Life blog.