Did Martin Luther remove books from the Bible?


I need explcit and unambiguous proof that Martin Luther removed 7 books from the NT Canon in 1530’s? I looked over at what you guys put out but it is a mostly…"Coulda woulda shoulda and “he did”… That is not proof. There must exist some clear historical reference out there in Internet land whereby I can find this information. Wiki is blurry… Does anyone have it? :eek:


Do you mean the New Testament or the Old? Both have a “deuterocanon,” and Luther had certain views on the NT deuterocanon which can be rather interesting. So, before folks proceed, could you clarify which set of books you’re referring to?


Nt only. :slight_smile:


I think I was pretty clear that it was about the NT…


Martin Luther wanted to remove books from the NT, I believe he targeted 4 of them. James, Revelations, Hebrews and I’m not sure on the fourth. He particularly hated James, probably because it directly contradicted Luther’s contention re “Faith Alone” (James stated that Faith without Works is Dead) and he called it the Epistle of Straw. However, he never did take those four books out.

Edit: I googled- the other book was Jude.

The 7 books that were removed from the Bible were all OT books.


Here’s his introduction to the Book of James: matt1618.freeyellow.com/preface.html

A critical phrase seeems to be: “He mangles the Scriptures and thereby opposes Paul and all Scripture.”

There’s also: “I therefore refuse him a place among the writers of the true canon of my bible; but I would not prevent anyone placing him or raising him where he likes, for the epistle contains many excellent passages.”

I’ll try to find his intro to Revelation and see what he says about that one too.


Actually you’re missing a few more but my question remains as to whose historical reference can be directed to, to find that ML really did more than just set the NT books at the end of the bible. There has to be some kind of source that is historically accurate. So I remain unsatisfied. No one this far has produced an actual source where I can go to, to see that ML really sidelined these NT books.


Here is part of what he says about Revelation: “I think it approximates the Fourth Book of Esdras; I can in no way detect that the Holy Spirit produced it.”

Source: bible-researcher.com/antilegomena.html


I’m pretty sure we indicated that although he didn’t like them he did not remove them. I also don’t think Luther set the order of the NT. I’ve often wondered why the NT is arranged the way it is, but I believe it’s essentially Gospels in the front, Acts of the Apostles as a kind of history of the Church, Epistles by length (shorter ones to the back) and the Revelations because it’s a totally different genre. You’re asking us to prove something to you that I don’t think anyone is claiming…except you.


Regarding Jude he says: “although I value this book, it is an epistle that need not be counted among the chief books which are supposed to lay the foundations of falth.” Source: matt1618.freeyellow.com/preface.html


Regarding Hebrews he says : “[We should] accept this fine teaching with all honor; though to be sure, we cannot put it on the same level with the apostolic epistles.” Source: godrules.net/library/luther/NEW1luther_f8.htm


I think the four I cited are the only ones he excludes. If you’ve seen people claim that he rejected 7 from the New Testament, perhaps they had confused information, or perhaps I do. It would be easy to confuse the number seven because that’s how many OT books he removed.


I think that you are confusing the New Testament with the Deuterocanonical books.


In his Bible translation, I don’t believe he ended up removing any of the NT books. He did condescend them, and even verbally accuse them of error at times, but they are in his German translation as far as I know.

Evidence for his belittling position on James, for example:

Regarding the Old Testament, yes, his German translation relegated the Deuterocanon to a section outside the normative canon. But you asked about the NT. :o


Then your be disagreeing with theologians from EWTN. I’m just looking for historical accuracy.


No I’m not.


Did the quotes I provided prove what you are looking for?


Link to the EWTN article you refer to, please?

It sounds to me like you have read something, misinterpreted it, and now you come here with an attitude expecting the rest of us to defend it.

The NT Canon is identical between the protestant Bibles and the Catholic Bible. Luther had no influence over the Catholic Bible. What exactly are you trying to get us to explain to you?


I’m a bit confused as to what exactly you’re asking, but I think you’re assuming that Luther removed books. Well, he didn’t. He simply reordered them at best.

In the Luther Bible, Hebrews (Die Epistel zu den Ebreern) and James (Die Epistel Jacobus) come after 1-3 John. Luther moved Hebrews and James out of the usual order to join Jude and the Revelation at the end. These are the four books he had a low view of, but he didn’t remove them from the Bible, or from the NT canon, for that matter.



Excuse me… I said from the onset I want HISTORICAL references, not theological ones. I’m not spinning your wheels. Not asking you to waste your time either. I’m asking for a historical reference. If you got one, present it and if you don’t, don’t… K? :wink:

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