Martin Luther Quotes

A compilation of quotes by Martin Luther (November 10, 1483 – February 18, 1546). I have NOT cross referenced all quotes with multiple references. (So check them before you use them in your Master’s Thesis).

For sourced quotes please refer to wikiquote.org

  • All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired.
  • Anyone who is to find Christ must first find the church. How could anyone know where Christ is and what faith is in him unless he knew where his believers are?
  • Be a sinner and sin strongly, but more strongly have faith and rejoice in Christ.
  • Be thou comforted, little dog, Thou too in Resurrection shall have a little golden tail.
  • Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.
  • Blood alone moves the wheels of history.
  • Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.
  • Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.
  • Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.
  • Faith is a living and unshakable confidence, a belief in the grace of God so assured that a man would die a thousand deaths for its sake.
  • Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.
  • Faith is permitting ourselves to be seized by the things we do not see.
  • Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding.
  • First I shake the whole Apple tree, that the ripest might fall. Then I climb the tree and shake each limb, and then each branch and then each twig, and then I look under each leaf.
  • For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.
  • For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel.
  • Forgiveness is God’s command.
  • God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.
  • God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees, and flowers, and clouds, and stars.
  • Grant that I may not pray alone with the mouth; help me that I may pray from the depths of my heart.
  • I am 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 heart of the youth.
  • I am more afraid of my own heart than of the pope and all his cardinals. I have within me the great pope, Self.
  • 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. *NOTE – It is accepted historically that Martin Luther did not actually say “Here I Stand” – but the rest of the phrase is accurate.*
  • I feel much freer now that I am certain the pope is the Antichrist.
  • 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.
  • I more fear what is within me than what comes from without.
  • I shall never be a heretic; I may err in dispute, but I do not wish to decide anything finally; on the other hand, I am not bound by the opinions of men.
  • If he have faith, the believer cannot be restrained. He betrays himself. He breaks out. He confesses and teaches this gospel to the people at the risk of life itself.
  • If I am not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don’t want to go there.
  • If you are not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don’t want to go there.
  • If you young fellows were wise, the devil couldn’t do anything to you, but since you aren’t wise, you need us who are old.
  • Justice is a temporary thing that must at last come to an end; but the conscience is eternal and will never die.
  • Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave.
  • Music is the art of the prophets and the gift of God.
  • My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary.
  • Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.
  • Nothing good ever comes of violence.
  • 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.
  • Peace is more important than all justice; and peace was not made for the sake of justice, but justice for the sake of peace.
  • People must have righteous principals in the first, and then they will not fail to perform virtuous actions.
  • Pray, and let God worry.
  • Prayer is a strong wall and fortress of the church; it is a goodly Christian weapon.
  • Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has.
  • Reason is the enemy of faith.
  • The Bible is the cradle wherein Christ is laid.
  • The fewer the words, the better the prayer.
  • The God of this world is riches, pleasure and pride.
  • The Lord commonly gives riches to foolish people, to whom he gives nothing else.
  • The man who has the will to undergo all labor may win to any good.
  • The reproduction of mankind is a great marvel and mystery. Had God consulted me in the matter, I should have advised him to continue the generation of the species by fashioning them out of clay.
  • 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.
  • There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.
  • To gather with God’s people in united adoration of the Father is as necessary to the Christian life as prayer.
  • War is the greatest plague that can affect humanity; it destroys religion, it destroys states, it destroys families. Any scourge is preferable to it.
  • War is the greatest plague that can afflict humanity, it destroys religion, it destroys states, it destroys families. Any scourge is preferable to it.
  • Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God.
  • When I am angry I can pray well and preach well.
  • When schools flourish, all flourishes.
  • You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.
  • You should not believe your conscience and your feelings more than the word which the Lord who receives sinners preaches to you.

QUOTES FROM WIKIQUOTE:

Sourced

* Wir sein pettler. Hoc est verum.
o We are beggars: this is true.
o “The Last Written Words of Luther,” Table Talk No. 5468, 1546-02-16, in James A. Kellerman, Tr., Dr. Martin Luthers Werke, (Weimar: Hermann Boehlaus Nachfolger, 1909), Band 85 (TR 5) 317–318. [1]

* By God’s grace, I know Satan very well. If Satan can turn God’s Word upside down and pervert the Scriptures, what will he do with my words — or the words of others?
o Confession Concerning Christ’s Supper, Part 3. Robert E. Smith, tr. Dr. Martin Luthers Werke: Kritische Gesamtsusgabe. (Weimar: Herman Boehlaus Nachfolger, 1909), pp.499-500. [2]

* Faith is a living, bold trust in God’s grace, so certain of God’s favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it. Such confidence and knowledge of God’s grace makes you happy, joyful and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures. The Holy Spirit makes this happen through faith. Because of it, you freely, willingly and joyfully do good to everyone, serve everyone, suffer all kinds of things, love and praise the God who has shown you such grace.
o An Introduction to St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans from Dr. Martin Luthers Vermischte Deutsche Schriften. Johann K. Irmischer, ed. Vol. 63(Erlangen: Heyder and Zimmer, 1854), pp.124-125. (EA 63:124-125)[3]

* If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong (sin boldly), but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, says Peter (2. Peter 3:13) are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign.
o Letter 99, Paragraph 13. Erika Bullmann Flores, Tr. from: Dr. Martin Luther’s Saemmtliche Schriften Dr. Johann Georg Walch Ed. (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, N.D.), Vol. 15, cols. 2585-2590. [4]

* What does it mean to have a god? or, what is God? Answer: A god means that from which we are to expect all good and to which we are to take refuge in all distress, so that to have a God is nothing else than to trust and believe Him from the [whole] heart; as I have often said that the confidence and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol. If your faith and trust be right, then is your god also true; and, on the other hand, if your trust be false and wrong, then you have not the true God; for these two belong together faith and God. That now, I say, upon which you set your heart and put your trust is properly your god.
o Large Catechism 1.1-3, F. Bente and W.H.T. Dau, tr. Triglot Concordia: The Symbolical Books of the Ev. Lutheran Church (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921), 565. [5]

* But since the devil’s bride, Reason, that pretty whore, comes in and thinks she’s wise, and what she says, what she thinks, is from the Holy Spirit, who can help us, then? Not judges, not doctors, no king or emperor, because [reason] is the Devil’s greatest whore.
o The original German is “Vernunft … ist die höchste Hur, die der Teufel hat”.
o Martin Luther’s Last Sermon in Wittenberg … Second Sunday in Epiphany, 17 January 1546. Dr. Martin Luthers Werke: Kritische Gesamtausgabe. (Weimar: Herman Boehlaus Nachfolger, 1914), Band 51:126, Line 7ff
o Martin Luther (1483-1546). The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

* When we are inclined to boast of our position [as Christians] we should remember that we are but Gentiles, while the Jews are of the lineage of Christ. We are aliens and in-laws; they are blood relatives, cousins, and brothers of our Lord. Therefore, if one is to boast of flesh and blood the Jews are actually nearer to Christ than we are.
o That Jesus Christ Was Born a Jew Luther’s Works, American Edition (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1962), Volume 45, Page 201

* I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict Scripture.
o Letter to Chancellor Gregory Brück (An Den Kanzler Brück), 1524-01-13, in Dr. Martin Luther’s Briefe, Sendschreiben und Bedenken: volständig aus den verschiedenen Ausgaben seiner Werke und Briefe, aus andern Büchern und noch unbenutzten Handschriten gesammelt. From the Wilhelm Martin Leberecht De Wette Collection of Luther’s Letters (Berlin: Georg reimer, 1826) vol. 2, p. 459 (Letter DLXXII; Latin text).

* But the Jews are so hardened that they listen to nothing; though overcome by testimonies they yield not an inch. It is a pernicious race, oppressing all men by their usury and rapine. If they give a prince or magistrate a thousand florins, they extort twenty thousand from the subjects in payment. We must ever keep on guard against them.
o Table Talk, Hazlet, tr., p. 43

* They are splendidly built ( Italian Hospitals ), the best food and drink are at hand, the attendants are very diligent, the physicians are learned, the beds and coverings are very clean, and the bedsteads are painted. As soon as a sick man is brought in, all his clothes are taken off in the presence of a notary and are faithfully kept for him. He is then laid in a handsomely painted bed with clean sheets. Two physicians are fetched at once. Attendants come with food and drink, served in immaculate glass vessels; these are not touched with as much as a finger but are brought on a tray.
o Table Talk, August 1, 1538, No. 3930. Luther’s Works, American Edition, vol. 54, p.296. Concordia Publishing House and Fortress Press, 1967. ISBN 0800603540 cf. Ludwig Von Pastor, vol.5:65

* I think these things ( firearms ) were invented by Satan himself, for they can’t be defended against with (ordinary) weapons and fists. All human strength vanishes when confronted with firearms. A man is dead before he sees what’s coming.
o ibid. P.232, 1537-03-19, No 3552

* For the history of the centuries that have passed since the birth of Christ nowhere reveals conditions like those of the present. There has never been such building and planting in the world. There has never been such gluttonous and varied eating and drinking as now. Wearing apparel has reached its limit in costliness. Who has ever heard of such commerce as now encircles the earth? There have arisen all kinds of art and sculpture, embroidery and engraving, the like of which has not been seen during the whole Christian era. In addition men are so delving into the mysteries of things that today a boy of twenty knows more than twenty doctors formerly knew.
o Sermon for the Second Sunday in Advent, Luke 21:25-36 (1522), in John Nicholas Lenker, ed., Sermons of Martin Luther: Church Postils (Baker Book House, 1989), ISBN 0-80105-626-8 [6]

* …women and girls begin to bare themselves behind and in front, and there is nobody to punish and hold in check, and besides, God’s word is mocked.
o To His Housewife (An Seine Hausfrau), end of July 1545, De Wette, vol. v (Fünfter Theil, 1828), p. 753. No. MMCCLXXXVI [7] McGiffert, P.374 (English tr.).
o McGiffert, Arthur Cushman. Martin Luther: The Man and His Work (Century, 1911), from Google Books. Reprint from Kessinger Publishing (July 2003), ISBN 076617431X

* Few are the women and maidens who would let themselves think that one could at the same time be joyous and modest. They are all bold and coarse in their speech, in their demeanor wild and lewd. That is now the fashion of being in good cheer. But it is specially evil that the young maiden folk are exceedingly bold of speech and bearing, and curse like troopers, to say nothing of their shameful words and scandalous coarse sayings, which one always hears and learns from another.
o Denifle vol.1, part 1, p.305.
o Denifle, Heinrich, Luther and Lutherdom, vol.1, part 1, , tr. from 2nd rev. ed. of German by Raymund Volz, Somerset, England: Torch Press, 1917. Denifle give as his source for this quote: Luther’s works, Erlangen edition, vol. vi, p.401.( 67 vols. ).

* “For He that is mighty hath done great things for me, and Holy is His Name” (Luke 1:49). Luther comments:
* The “great things” are nothing less than that she became the Mother of God, in which work so many and such great good things are bestowed upon her as pass man’s understanding. For on this there follows all honor, all blessedness, and her unique place in the whole of mankind, among whom she has no equal, namely, that she had a child by the Father in Heaven, and such a child. She herself is unable to find a name for this work, it is too exceedingly great; all she can do is break out in the fervent cry: “They are great things,” impossible to describe or define. Hence men have crowded all her glory into a single word, calling her the Mother of God. No one can say anything greater of her or to her, though he had as many tongues as there are leaves on the trees, or grass in the fields, or stars in the sky, or sand by the sea. It needs to be pondered in the heart, what it means to be the Mother of God.
o Commentary on the Magnificat (Das Magnificat), A.D. 1521
o Luther’s Works, American Edition, vol. 21, p.326, ed. Jaroslav Pelikan, Concordia Publishing House, 1956. ISBN 057006421X

* On coming to the house, they (the Magi), saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. (Matthew 2:11)
* [This] adoration, too, was not the same as the worship of God. In my opinion they did not yet recognize him as God, but they acted in keeping with the custom mentioned in Scripture, according to which Kings and important people were worshiped; this did not mean more than falling down before them at their feet and honoring them.
o Sermon on The Gospel for the Festival of the Epiphany, 1522.
o Luther’s Works, American Ed., Hans J. Hillerbrand, Helmut T. Lehmann eds., Philadelphia, Concordia Publishing House/Fortress Press, 1974, ISBN 0800603524 (Sermons II), vol. 52:198

* Religion is not ‘doctrinal knowledge,’ but wisdom born of personal experience.
o Holborn, Hajo; A HISTORY OF MODERN GERMANY: The Reformation; 1959/1982 Princeton university Press.

* Holy Christendom has, in my judgment, no better teacher after the apostles than St. Augustine.
o [8]
o Luther’s Works, American Ed., Robert H. Fischer, Helmut T. Lehman, eds., Concordia Publishing House/Fortress Press, 1959, ISBN 0800603370 (Word and Sacrament III), vol. 37:107

* And I myself, in Rome, heard it said openly in the streets, “If there is a hell, then Rome is built on it.” That is, “After the devil himself, there is no worse folk than the pope and his followers.”
o Against the Roman Papacy, An Institution of the Devil ( Wider das Papstum zu Rom vom Teuffel Gestifft, A. D. 1545)[9]
* Luther’s Works, Church and Ministry III, American Ed., Helmut T. Lehman, Eric W. Gritsch, eds., Augsburg Fortress Press, 1966, Vol. 41:279. ISBN 0800603419 ISBN 9780800603410.

* A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing;
Our helper He amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing.
o Psalm. Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott (translated by Frederic H. Hedge), Reported in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).

* Tell your master that if there were as many devils at Worms as tiles on its roofs, I would enter.
o Psalm. Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott (translated by Frederic H. Hedge), Reported in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919). “On the 16th of April, 1521, Luther entered the imperial city [of Worms]… On his approach… the Elector’s chancellor entreated him, in the name of his master, not to enter a town where his death was decided. The answer which Luther returned was simply this”. Bunsen, Life of Luther.

* Here I stand; I can do no otherwise. God help me. Amen!
o Speech at the Diet of Worms (1521), Reported in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).

[edit] Table Talk (1569)

* Superstition, idolatry, and hypocrisy have ample wages, but truth goes a-begging.
o 53.

* For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel…Thus is the Devil ever God’s ape.
o 67. Compare “Where God hath a temple, the Devil will have a chapel”, Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, part III, section 4, member 1, subsection 1.

* so it is with human reason, which strives not against faith, when enlightened, but rather furthers and advances it.
o On Justification CCXCIV

* A faithful and good servant is a real godsend; but truly ’t is a rare bird in the land.
o 156.

* The Mass is the greatest blasphemy of God, and the highest idolatry upon earth, an abomination the like of which has never been in Christendom since the time of the Apostles.
o 171.

* There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.
o 292.

* A theologian is born by living, nay dying and being damned, not by thinking, reading, or speculating.
o 352.

* Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has: it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but–more frequently than not –struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.
o 353.

[edit] Unsourced

* If it were art to overcome heresy with fire, the executioners would be the most learned doctors on earth.
o To the Christian Nobility of the German States (1520)

* Hier stehe ich, ich kann nicht anders. Gott helfe mir. Amen.
o Translation: Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me. Amen.
o Speech at the Diet of Worms (April 18, 1521)

* The mad mob does not ask how it could be better, only that it be different. And when it then becomes worse, it must change again. Thus they get bees for flies, and at last hornets for bees.
o Whether Soldiers Can Also Be in a State of Grace (1526)

* Ein’ feste burg is unser Gott,
ein gute wehr und waffen.
Er hilft uns frei aus aller not,
die uns itzt hat betroffen.
o Translation: A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing.
Our helper He amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing.
o Ein’ Feste Burg (1529)

* What can only be taught by the rod and with blows will not lead to much good; they will not remain pious any longer than the rod is behind them.
o The Great Catechism. Second Command (1529)

* Peace is more important than all justice; and peace was not made for the sake of justice, but justice for the sake of peace.
o On Marriage (1530)

* Justice is a temporary thing that must at last come to an end; but the conscience is eternal and will never die.
o On Marriage (1530)

* Idiots, the lame, the blind, the dumb, are men in whom the devils have established themselves: and all the physicians who heal these infirmities, as though they proceeded from natural causes, are ignorant blockheads.

* If [women] become tired or even die, that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth–that is why they are there.

* Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed. Faith must trample underfoot all reason, sense, and understanding, and whatever it sees must be put out of sight and … know nothing but the word of God.
o Said to be from V, 1312

* Sin cannot tear you away from him [Christ], even though you commit adultery a hundred times a day and commit as many murders.

* There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.

* We are all ministers of the Gospel. Some of us just happen to be clergymen.

* Whoever wants to be a Christian should tear the eyes out of his reason.
o Said to be from V, 425

* Nothing good ever comes of violence

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  1. Pingback: John Calvin and Martin Luther; ‘Eternal Security’ Proponents and Murderers at Heart « Gospel of Jesus Christ, The Gift of Eternal Life

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