How did Luther say: Only Faith?

I do not want to argue.

This is merely an historical question for me.

How did or what did Luther mean with only faith (or what ever the correct phrase is)?

THANKS!

I will merely read the answers.

I do not think I will respond.

THANKS!

It was Martin Luther who tossed out the seven books considered canonical since the beginning of Church history. He also rejected the epistle to the Hebrews and the book of Revelation. He also called the epistle of James “an epistle of straw” because James 2:14–26 conflicted with his personal theology on good works. He also added the word (in his German translation) only in Romans 3:20 and Romans 4:15, and he inserted the word alone in Romans 3:28.
catholic.com/quickquestions/was-martin-luthers-revision-of-the-bible-a-return-to-the-true-bible-of-the-early-chur

Check here: “Father Greg Lockwood explains the gospel according to Luther.”
catholic.com/radio/shows/the-gospel-according-to-luther-7612

From Wikipedia:
Luther added the word “alone” (allein in German) to Romans 3:28 controversially so that it read: “So now we hold, that man is justified without the help of the works of the law, alone through faith”[8] The word “alone” does not appear in the Greek texts,[9] but Luther defended his translation by maintaining that the adverb “alone” was required both by idiomatic German and the apostle Paul’s intended meaning,[10] and that sola was used in theological tradition before him. (Emphasis by Wikipedia)

Here’s Luther in his own words, adding alone to faith. Paraphrased, he said I’m Dr Martin Luther and I will have it so.
[/FONT]http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/luther/luther-translate.txt

Gives you an idea the kind of man and his mindset that the Church was dealing with

Hi Jim,
Luther often speaks about justification being by grace alone, through faith alone. As an example, this from the Smalcald Articles:

What I have hitherto and constantly taught concerning this I know not how to change in the least, namely, that by faith, as St. Peter says, we acquire a new and clean heart, and God will and does account us entirely righteous and holy for the sake of Christ, our Mediator. And although sin in the flesh has not yet been altogether removed or become dead, yet He will not punish or remember it.

2] And such faith, renewal, and forgiveness of sins is followed by good works. And what there is still sinful or imperfect also in them shall not be accounted as sin or defect, even [and that, too] for Christ’s sake; but the entire man, both as to his person and his works, is to be called and to be righteous and holy from pure grace and mercy, shed upon us [unfolded] and spread over us in Christ. 3] Therefore we cannot boast of many merits and works, if they are viewed apart from grace and mercy, but as it is written, 1 Cor. 1:31: He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord, namely, that he has a gracious God. For thus all is well. 4] We say, besides, that if good works do not follow, faith is false and not true.

Luther is clear in his position, that justification is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, and that good works must follow faith.

Jon

The Answer is in the Bible:

Ephesians 2:8New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—

Grace comes first. Without grace there is no faith. Therefore faith is NOT alone.

It’s notable that Lutherans believe that “Baptism saves”, while most other Protestants don’t.

Lutherans believe Baptism saves through faith. Whereas most other Protestants deny that baptism saves at all.

So Luther actually took a more mild position than most modern Protestants.

But that simply does not respond to the intention of the sola, in sola fide. Lutherans in no way deny, and in fact preach that it is by grace, and grace alone that we are saved through faith. Why grace alone? Because their is no other way salvation is possible. Why faith alone? Because it is the only way we access justification. But clearly, even faith is not possible without grace.

Jon

Hi Jon,
I had always understand that Luther was assigned to teach scripture to seminarians. In preparing, he started to read and the quote “the just shall live by faith” is what set him on the path which lead to the sola fide. Luther found this quote to set him free from his emphasis of works to save himself. At least that is how I understood the story. Of course, the quote from Habbakuk didn’t say faith alone just says faith. Correct me if I have the story wrong.

In a vague and very general sense, yes. There is, of course, a significant amount of history involved. But throughout the Pauline letters, he found, one finds the recurring theme of justification by faith, and the exclusion, either overtly or by omission, of anything else that brings justification. When one comes to James, he is speaking to a different audience, from a different perspective, and even though Luther struggled with it, Lutherans have always affirmed that faith without works is dead.

Jon

thanks Jon, I also thought another verse that influenced Luther was when Abraham “believed God and it was accounted for him as righteousness” When God told him that he (Abraham) would be a father and his decendents as numberous as the stars. In reflecting on this passage, I think that the “faith” Abraham had was more of a child like trust. He trusted God and believed that God will do what God promised.

do you think with such an emphasis on the Pauline letters that Luther was teetering on falling into Marcion heresy which was an over emphasis on Pauline letters?

Yes, and again, one sees that POV in our confessions.

Jon

Not from what I can see, as there is also a very strong emphasis on the Gospels.

Jon

I am the OP.

I am reading and I want to thank all of you!

THANK YOU!

For Luther, Is Jesus Christ our Faith?

For St. Paul, Is Jesus Christ our Faith?

THANKS!!!

Jon
[LIST]
*]ergo faith is NOT alone.
*]in addition, If faith is NOT working in love, i.e. working in charity, i.e. working good works, then faith is dead according to 2 apostles, and a dead faith won’t do a thing for a soul. Considering James and Paul wrote under the guidance of the HS. And the HS only teaches what comes from Jesus John 16:12-15 , then Jesus never taught faith alone.
*]When Luther added alone to faith, he immediately contradicted St James & St Paul
*]Depending on one’s transaltion they use, “only” appears possibly 22 times in the NT. biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?search=alone&version=RSVCE&searchtype=all&bookset=2 that link shows 2 pages where alone is used and creates no problem in each of these situations it is used. The 2nd page shows Jas 2:24. (NOT by faith alone) which as we know caused Luther huge problems.
[/LIST]Aside from this, sort of :), I have a question for you.

Not all of Luther’s sermons seem to be “free” to read online. Maybe you have a link that would make that possible.

But here’s my question. Do you have all of Luther’s sermons or at least access to them? Would you validate the following quote as being either** true or false ?**

"[FONT=Comic Sans MS]We concede–as we must–that so much of what they [the Catholic Church] is true: that the papacy has God’s word and the office of the apostles, and that we have received Holy Scriptures, Baptism, the Sacrament, and the pulpit from them. What would we know of these if it were not for them?” (Sermon on the Gospel of John, chaps. 14-16 (1537), in vol. 24 of Luther’s Works, [St. Louis, Mo.: Concordia, 1961], p. 304). [/FONT]

Thanks in advance :tiphat:

=steve b;12347075]Jon
ergo faith is NOT alone.

Only if one chooses not to respond to the usage of the language.

in addition, If faith is NOT working in love, i.e. working in charity, i.e. working good works, then faith is dead according to 2 apostles, and a dead faith won’t do a thing for a soul. Considering James and Paul wrote under the guidance of the HS. And the HS only teaches what comes from Jesus John 16:12-15 , then Jesus never taught faith alone.
When Luther added alone to faith, he immediately contradicted St James & St Paul
Depending on one’s transaltion they use, “only” appears possibly 22 times in the NT. biblegateway.com/quickse…=all&bookset=2 that link shows 2 pages where alone is used and creates no problem in each of these situations it is used. The 2nd page shows Jas 2:24. (NOT by faith alone) which as we know caused Luther huge problems.

But I don’t have a problem with it. I do not see Paul’s and James’ statements as contradictory. I recognize, on the one hand, that faith the means with which we access justification, and even that is a gift of grace. On the other hand, we are bound (required) to respond in the New Obedience, and do the good works He prepares for us to do.

Aside from this, sort of , I have a question for you.

Not all of Luther’s sermons seem to be “free” to read online. Maybe you have a link that would make that possible.

But here’s my question. Do you have all of Luther’s sermons or at least access to them? Would you validate the following quote as being either true or false ?

"We concede–as we must–that so much of what they [the Catholic Church] is true: that the papacy has God’s word and the office of the apostles, and that we have received Holy Scriptures, Baptism, the Sacrament, and the pulpit from them. What would we know of these if it were not for them?” (Sermon on the Gospel of John, chaps. 14-16 (1537), in vol. 24 of Luther’s Works, [St. Louis, Mo.: Concordia, 1961], p. 304).

Having access to all of his works is an expensive proposition, other than a parish library. To my knowledge, however, it is a true statement.

Jon

Are you speaking of the “German” language usage?

The Mentel Bible in the German language was printed before Luther was even born? By 1522, there were already 18 versions of this bible in German before Luther printed his britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/375413/Mentel-Bible and the Mentel was accurate because it followed the Vulgate, which means it had all the OT and NT books we have in the canon today that goes back to the council of Rome 382 a.d…

And btw, faith “alone” didn’t get translated into any of those Mentel German bible translations. The error of adding alone, was Luther’s. Along with his removing 7 OT books from the canon and putting them into the apocrypha.

since you’re comfortable with the following quote being a true statement

"We concede–as we must–that so much of what they [the Catholic Church] is true: that the papacy has God’s word and the office of the apostles, and that we have received Holy Scriptures, Baptism, the Sacrament, and the pulpit from them. What would we know of these if it were not for them?” (Sermon on the Gospel of John, chaps. 14-16 (1537), in vol. 24 of Luther’s Works, [St. Louis, Mo.: Concordia, 1961], p. 304).

Thinking outloud, I’d say Luther’s statement is a lethal admission not just for him but for all Protestants regardless of stripe.

=steve b;12347438]Are you speaking of the “German” language usage?

The Mentel Bible in the German language was printed before Luther was even born? By 1522, there were already 18 versions of this bible in German before Luther printed his britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/375413/Mentel-Bible and the Mentel was accurate because it followed the Vulgate, which means it had all the OT and NT books we have in the canon today that goes back to the council of Rome 382 a.d…

And btw, faith “alone” didn’t get translated into any of those Mentel German bible translations. The error of adding alone, was Luther’s. Along with his removing 7 OT books from the canon and putting them into the apocrypha.

And the translation using “alone” isn’t in the English Bible, of any translation, either, hence the understanding that Luther thought it necessary for the German.
From Luther’s Open Letter on Translating

I know very well that in Romans 3 the word solum is not in the Greek or Latin text — the papists did not have to teach me that. It is fact that the letters s-o-l-a are not there. And these blockheads stare at them like cows at a new gate, while at the same time they do not recognize that it conveys the sense of the text – if the translation is to be clear and vigorous [klar und gewaltiglich], it belongs there. I wanted to speak German, not Latin or Greek, since it was German I had set about to speak in the translation. But it is the nature of our language that in speaking about two things, one which is affirmed, the other denied, we use the word allein [only] along with the word nicht [not] or kein [no]. For example, we say “the farmer brings allein grain and kein money”; or “No, I really have nicht money, but allein grain”; I have allein eaten and nicht yet drunk"; “Did you write it allein and nicht read it over?” There are countless cases like this in daily usage.

In all these phrases, this is a German usage, even though it is not the Latin or Greek usage. It is the nature of the German language to add allein in order that nicht or kein may be clearer and more complete. To be sure, I can also say, “The farmer brings grain and kein money,” but the words “kein money” do not sound as full and clear as if I were to say, “the farmer brings allein grain and kein money.” Here the word allein helps the word kein so much that it becomes a completely clear German expression. We do not have to ask the literal Latin how we are to speak German, as these donkeys do. Rather we must ask the mother in the home, the children on the street, the common man in the marketplace. We must be guided by their language, by the way they speak, and do our translating accordingly. Then they will understand it and recognize that we are speaking German to them.

bible-researcher.com/luther01.html

Now, one can disagree with Luther’s reasoning, but this is the reason. The sarcasm taken out of the context of the letter earlier was just that; sarcasm.

since you’re comfortable with the following quote being a true statement

"We concede–as we must–that so much of what they [the Catholic Church] is true: that the papacy has God’s word and the office of the apostles, and that we have received Holy Scriptures, Baptism, the Sacrament, and the pulpit from them. What would we know of these if it were not for them?” (Sermon on the Gospel of John, chaps. 14-16 (1537), in vol. 24 of Luther’s Works, [St. Louis, Mo.: Concordia, 1961], p. 304).

Thinking outloud, I’d say Luther’s statement is a lethal admission not just for him but for all Protestants regardless of stripe.

Remember there is context involved here. Luther has (even for me) the annoying habit of lacing what appears to be a compliment into a charge. See here.

But even as a stand-alone statement, I have no problem with it. I think it senseless to deny the incredibly important role the Bishop of Rome has played in the Church Catholic. I certainly do not consider it in any way “lethal” for my tradition, however.

Jon

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