Martin Luther Changed and/or Discounted 18 Books of the Bible

Protestant Reformer Martin Luther 


Although Protestants like to think positively about Martin Luther because of his supposed belief in sola Scriptura (the Bible alone), the truth is that Martin Luther changed parts of the Bible and discounted the value of many books.

Notice a change he admitted to regarding Romans 3:28:

You tell me what a great fuss the Papists are making because the word alone in not in the text of Paul…say right out to him: ‘Dr. Martin Luther will have it so,’…I will have it so, and I order it to be so, and my will is reason enough. I know very well that the word ‘alone’ is not in the Latin or the Greek text (Stoddard J. Rebuilding a Lost Faith. 1922, pp. 101-102; see also Luther M. Amic. Discussion, 1, 127).

This passage strongly suggests that Martin Luther viewed his opinions, and not the actual Bible as the primary authority–a concept which this author will name prima Luther. By “papists” he is condemning Roman Catholics.

Regarding the New Testament Book of Hebrews Martin Luther stated,

It need not surprise one to find here bits of wood, hay, and straw (O’HarePF. The Facts About Luther, 1916–1987 reprint ed., p. 203).

He also wrote,

St. James’ epistle is really an epistle of straw…for it has nothing of the nature of the gospel about it” (Luther, M. Preface to the New Testament, 1546).

Perhaps none of Martin Luther’s writings on the Bible are as harsh as what he wrote about “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:1). Specifically he wrote,

About this book of the Revelation of John…I miss more than one thing in this book, and it makes me consider it to be neither apostolic nor prophetic…I can in no way detect that the Holy Spirit produced it. Moreover he seems to me to be going much too far when he commends his own book so highly-indeed, more than any of the other sacred books do, though they are much more important-and threatens that if anyone takes away anything from it, God will take away from him, etc. Again, they are supposed to be blessed who keep what is written in this book; and yet no one knows what that is, to say nothing of keeping it. This is just the same as if we did not have the book at all. And there are many far better books available for us to keep…My spirit cannot accommodate itself to this book. For me this is reason enough not to think highly of it: Christ is neither taught nor known in it” (Luther, M. Preface to the Revelation of St. John, 1522).

As the following quotes show, Martin Luther did not care for several books in the Old Testament either:

“Job spoke not as it stands written in his book, but only had such thoughts. It is merely the argument of a fable. It is probable that Solomon wrote and made this book.”…

“Ecclesiastes ought to have been more complete. There is too much incoherent matter in it…Solomon did not, therefore, write this book.”…

“The book of Esther I toss into the Elbe. I am such an enemy to the book of Esther that I wish it did not exist, for it Judaizes too much…”

“The history of Jonah is so monstrous that it is absolutely incredible.” (as quoted in O’Hare, p. 202).

Furthermore, Martin Luther had little use for the first five books of the Old Testament (sometimes referred to as the Pentateuch):

Of the Pentateuch he says: “We have no wish either to see or hear Moses” (Ibid, p. 202).

Martin Luther hated the Jews, which may be why he was against Esther, the first five books of the Bible, and other parts of the Hebrew scriptures.

Notice that Martin Luther advised his followers,

…to burn down Jewish schools and synagogues, and to throw pitch and sulphur into the flames; to destroy their homes; to confiscate their ready money in gold and silver; to take from them their sacred books, even the whole Bible; and if that did not help matters, to hunt them of the country like mad dogs (Luther’s Works, vol. Xx, pp. 2230-2632 as quoted in Stoddard JL. Rebuilding a Lost Faith, 1922, p.99).

Because of his writings, I believe that Martin Luther actually believed more in prima Luther (the primacy of Luther) above sola Scriptura.  And this was also reflected in certain of his doctrines and other practices as well.

Those of us in the Living Church of God believe that all 66 books of the Bible are inspired and profitable for doctrine (II Timothy 3:16). Because we also believe that we are not allowed to add or subtract from the Bible (see Revelation 22:18-19), we cannot follow the teachings of Protestant reformers such as Martin Luther—who changed or diminished the importance of at least 18 books of the Bible(Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Esther, Job, Ecclesiastes, Jonah, Matthew, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation)–further documentation is in the article Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible? 

Three articles of related interest may include:

Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible? Though he is known for his public sola Scriptura teaching, did Martin Luther’s writings about the Bible suggest he felt that prima Luther was his ultimate authority? Do you really want to know the truth?  Statements from him changing and/or discounting 18 books of the Bible are included.
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the Living Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example?
Hope of Salvation: How the Living Church of God differ from most Protestants How the Living Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background.

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