Did Martin Luther actually believe in ‘sola Scriptura’?

Martin Luther


October 31st marks the day that Martin Luther hammered his now famous 95 theses back in 1517.

While the Church of Rome now agrees with many of the items on his list, back then this caused tremendous dissension and was a key factor in the so-called Protestant Reformation.

While the terms “word of God” and “Scriptures” is in English translations of what Martin Luther wrote, the 95 theses did not contain what became the rallying cry of his movement, “sola Scriptura,” which is Latin for “only Scripture.”

One of the major problems that I have had with Protestantism is that my experience suggests that Protestants do not follow that rallying cry of their movement.

But this should not be a surprise as Martin Luther himself did not believe in sola Scriptura either.

For proof, let’s start with this quote from Martin Luther:

My word is the word of Christ; my mouth is the mouth of Christ” (O’Hare PF. The Facts About Luther, 1916–1987 reprint ed., pp. 203-204).

[Specifically, what Martin Luther wrote in German was “”Ich bin sehr gewiss, dass mein Wort nitt mein, sondern Christus Wort sei, so muss mein Mund auch des sein, des Wort er redet” (Luther, 682) – also translated as “I am confident that it is not my word, but Christ’s word, so my mouth is His who utters the words”(God’s words – the violence of representation. Universitatea din Bucuresti, 2002. http://www.unibuc.ro/eBooks/filologie/meanings/1.htm, September 25, 2003).]

Martin Luther seemed to believe he could change the Bible. For example, Romans 3:28 states,

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

Yet, Martin Luther, in his German translation of the Bible, specifically added the word “allein” (English ‘alone’) to Romans 3:28-a word that is not in the original Greek. Notice what Protestant scholars have admitted:

…Martin Luther would once again emphasize…that we are “justified by faith alone”, apart from the works of the Law” (Rom. 3:28), adding the German word allein (“alone”) in his translation of the Greek text. There is certainly a trace of Marcion in Luther’s move (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, pp. 64-65).

Furthermore, Martin Luther himself reportedly said,

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, but it needs to be understood that Protestant scholars (like HOJ Brown) also realize that Martin Luther changed that scripture.

A review of Martin Luther’s writings show that he 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. For details, please check out the article Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible?

Martin Luther did not properly view the word of God.

Those in the real Church of God believe that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and, and is profitable for doctrine” (2Timothy 3:16, NKJV). Martin Luther did not truly hold to that belief.

Martin Luther was also a type of preterist, which meant he did not believe in various biblical prophecies (see also The Dangerous Rise of Preterists). He also somewhat denounced the Book of Revelation.

The true Church of God has always based its real doctrines on the Bible and has not discounted the Bible (or books of it) like Martin Luther has.

Those interested in learning more should consider studying the following:

The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
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 genuine Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example? Here is a related sermon video: Martin Luther and Herbert Armstrong: Reformers with Differences.
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? Statements from him changing and/or discounting 18 books of the Bible are included. Do you really want to know the truth?
The Dangerous Rise of Preterists Has the Great Tribulation finished? What was the view of early Christians? Why is the preterist view dangerous?
Protestant and Church of God views of the United States in Bible Prophecy Is the USA mentioned in Bible prophecy? Some Protestants say yes, while others say no. What does the Bible really teach? Learn the truth about this. There is also a video available: Is The United States Mentioned In Bible Prophecy?
The Dangerous Rise of Preterists Has the Great Tribulation finished? What was the view of early Christians? Why is the preterist view dangerous? A related sermon video is titled Preterism: You’ve Gotta Be Kidding…Right?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware!
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

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