Martin Luther notes

Last week we had the first of our Bible Studies on 'Heroes' of church history. Here are the notes from our first session:

Martin Luther 1483-1546

Born: Saxony, now Germany.

Occupation: Studied for Law; became a friar, Roman Catholic priest and professor of theology.

Roman Catholic beliefs and practices against which he fought:

  • Purgatory
  • Indulgences
  • Papacy
  • Saints and Mary
  • Priestcraft
  • Unintelligible scripture
  • Works salvation
  • Celibate clergy


  • Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants
  • Against the Jews and their Lies
  • ‘Wives or prostitutes’
  • Potty-mouthed humour (see below)


  • ‘Here I felt that I was altogether born again, and had entered Paradise itself through open gates’
  • ‘Let the Turk believe and live as he will, just as one lets the papacy and other false Christians live.’
  • ‘Prayer is a strong wall and fortress of the church; it is a goodly Christian weapon.
  • ‘The will is a beast of burden. If God mounts it, it wishes and goes as God wills; if Satan mounts it, it wishes and goes as Satan wills; Nor can it choose its rider... the riders contend for its possession.’
  • ‘Pray, and let God worry.’
  • ‘Be a sinner and sin strongly, but more strongly have faith and rejoice in Christ.’
  • ‘I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. ‘Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.’
  • ‘Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has.’
  • ‘The Gospel cannot be truly preached without offense and tumult.’
  • ‘Dear Devil . . . I have soiled my pants and breeches; hang them on your neck and wipe your mouth with them’
  • ‘The Pope is a mere tormentor of conscience. The assembly of his greased and religious crew in praying was altogether like the croaking of frogs, which edified nothing at all.’
  • ‘I am cleansing my bowels and worshipping God Almighty; You (Satan) deserve what descends and God what ascends.’
  •  ‘It is a wonder that it did not tear his hole and belly apart’ (on the Pope breaking wind).