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Quotables: Martin Luther on Inerrancy

If a different way to heaven existed, no doubt God would have recorded it, but there is no other way. Therefore let us cling to these words, firmly place and rest our hearts upon them, close our eves and say: Although I had the merit of all saints, the holiness and purity of all virgins, and the piety of St. Peter himself, I would still consider my attainment nothing. Rather I must have a different foundation to build on, namely, these words: God has given His Son so that whosoever believes in Him whom the Father's love has sent shall be saved. And you must confidently insist that you will be preserved; and you must boldly take your stand on His words, which no devil, hell, or death can suppress. Therefore no matter what happens, you should say: There is God's Word. This is my rock and anchor. On it I rely, and it remains. Where it remains, I, too, remain; where it goes, I, too, go. The Word must stand, for God cannot lie; and heaven and earth must go to ruins before the most insignificant letter or tittle of His Word remains unfulfilled. Kirchenpostille on John 3:16


It is impossible that Scripture should contradict itself; it only appears so to senseless and obstinate hypocrites.


Everyone knows that at times they [the fathers] have erred as men will; therefore, I am ready to trust them only when they prove their opinions from Scripture, which has never erred.


Mr. Wiseacre is a shameful, disgusting fellow. He plays the master if he can discover that [in our Bible translation] we have perchance missed a word. But who would be so presumptuous as to maintain that he has not erred in any word, as though he were Christ and the Holy Spirit?


He who carefully reads and studies the Scriptures will consider nothing so trifling that it does not at least contribute to the improvement of his life and morals, since the Holy Spirit wanted to have it committed to writing.


We see with what great diligence Moses, or rather the Holy Spirit, describes even the most insignificant acts and sufferings of the patriarchs


Who can think this through to his satisfaction? A man lives three days and three nights in solitude, without light, without food. in the midst of the sea, in a fish, and then comes back. I dare say that is what you would call a strange voyage. Indeed, who would believe it and not consider it a lie and a fable if it did not stand recorded in Scripture?


The two incidents - that not a bone of the Lord Christ was broken and that His side was opened with a spear - do not appear to be of any particular significance. And yet, since the evangelist John adduces clear testimonies of Scripture, proving that Moses (Ex. 12:46) and Zechariah (12:10) predicted these things centuries before, we must confess that they are of great importance, no matter how insignificant the incidents seem to be; for the Holy Spirit does not speak anything to no purpose and in vain


All the words of God are weighed, counted, and measured


Let the man who would hear God speak read Holy Scripture


St. Augustine, in a letter to St. Jerome, has put down a fine axiom - that only Holy Scripture is to be considered inerrant.


I knew very well that the word solurn [solely] does not stand in the Latin and Greek texts, and the papists had no need to teach me that. True it is that these four letters ,s-o-l-a do not stand there. At these letters the asinine dunces stare as a cow stares at a new gate. Yet they do not see that this is the meaning of the text and that the word belongs there if a clear and forceful German translation is desired. I wanted to speak German, not Latin or Greek, since I had undertaken to speak German in the translation. It is the nature of our German language that when speaking of two things. one of which is granted while the other is denied, we use the word "solely" along with the word "not" or "no." Thus we say: The farmer brings only grain and no money: no, I have no money, but only grain; I have only eaten, not drunk; did you only write, and not read it? There are innumerable cases of this kind in daily use...


We must not, as these jackasses do, ask the Latin letters how to speak German: but we must ask the mother in the home, the children on the street, the common man in the market place, how this is done, Their lips we must watch to see how they speak, and then we must translate accordingly. Then they will understand us and notice that we are talking German with them.


The Psalter ought to be a dear and beloved book, if only because it promises Christ's death and resurrection so clearly, and so typifies His Kingdom and the condition and nature of all Christendom that it might well be called a little Bible. It puts everything that is in all the Bible most beautifully and briefly, and constitutes an "Enchiridion," or handbook, so that I have a notion that the Holy Spirit wanted to take the trouble to compile a short Bible and example - book of all Christendom, or of all the saints.


This is certain that the Scriptures does not lie. Therefore the answers that are given to preserve the authority of Scripture serve a purpose even though they [the answers given] may not be altogether certain.


[It] is an accursed lie that the pope is the arbiter of Scripture or that the church has authority over Scripture. This is what the canonists and commentators on the Sentences have wickedly declared, on the following basis: "The church has approved only four gospels, and therefore there are only four. For if it had approved more, there would have been more. Since the church has the right to accept and approve as many gospels as it wishes, it follows that the church is superior to the gospels." What a splendid argument! I approve Scripture. Therefore I am superior to Scripture. John the Baptist acknowledges and confesses Christ. He points to Him with his finger. Therefore he is superior to Christ. The church approves Christian faith and doctrine. Therefore the church is superior to them. To refute this wicked and blasphemous doctrine of theirs you have here a clear text and a thunderbolt. Here Paul subordinates himself, an angel from heaven, teachers on earth, and any other masters at all to Sacred Scripture. This queen must rule, and everyone must obey, and be subject to her. The pope, Luther, Augustine, Paul, an angel from heaven — these should not be masters, judges or arbiters, but only witnesses, disciples, and confessors of Scripture. Nor should any doctrine be taught or heard in the church except the pure Word of God. Otherwise, let the teachers and the hearers be accursed along with their doctrine.


What a splendid argument! I approve of Scripture. Therefore I am superior to Scripture. John the Baptist acknowledges and confesses Christ. He points to Him with his finger. Therefore he is superior to Christ. The church approves Christian faith and doctrine. Therefore the church is superior to them.


I have learned to ascribe the honor of infallibility only to those books that are accepted as canonical. I am profoundly convinced that none of these writers has erred. All other writers, however they may have distinguished themselves in holiness or in doctrine, I read in this way I evaluate what they say, not on the basis that they themselves believe that a thing is true, but only insofar as they are able to convince me by the authority of the canonical books or by clear reason.


Unless I am convinced by the testimonies of the Holy Scriptures or evident reason (for I believe in neither the Pope nor councils alone, since it has been established that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures that I have adduced, and my conscience has been taken captive by the Word of God; and I am neither able nor willing to recant, since it is neither safe nor right to act against conscience. God help me. Amen.


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Views: 323

Tags: inerrancy, martin luther, quotables

Comment by Marv on October 30, 2010 at 10:15pm
Excellent. Only we can prove that Rey is not inerrant.

You have quoted Luther: "I knew very well that the word solurn [solely] does not stand in the Latin and Greek texts"

Methinks this is a scan problem, because the word is surely "solum" not "solurn."
Comment by Rey Reynoso on October 31, 2010 at 7:22am
thankee, lol
Comment by James Robertson on November 2, 2010 at 3:49pm
Viva la Reformation!
Comment by Marv on November 2, 2010 at 4:09pm
Childhood misconception: I thought Luther was a bad guy, cuz he was always trying to kill Superman.

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