Luther On Preaching-Part 6

Today, we end our look into Luther’s view on preaching with a simple conclusion. If you have not been able to view some of these blogs, then here are all the links: Part 1-Introduction; Part 2-Word Driven; Part 3-Clearly Articulated; Part 4-Soul Searching; and Part 5-Christ Exalting

Part 6-Conclusion

The ministry of the Word is not a place for somebody to seek individual glory and accolades. In regards to this, Luther said, “For Christ did not establish and institute the ministry of proclamation to provide us with money, property, honor, or friendship.”[1] No, Luther knew and understood the severity of preaching. He viewed the preaching ministry as a gift from God given to the church in order that God would be glorified through Word driven, clearly articulated, soul searching, and Christ exalting preaching. This is what Luther did, and this is what Luther sought to establish during the time of the Reformation.

A Word Before We Depart

Luther’s view on preaching was riveting for me. His view will probably be riveting to anybody that desires to get into the pulpit one day to preach the gospel. But the fundamental reason Luther was such a polarizing preacher, teacher, and author was because he absolutely loved the Bible. Luther said, “As a young man I made myself familiar with the Bible; by reading it again and again I came to know my way about it. Only then did I consult writers of books about the Bible. But finally I had to put them out of my sight and wrestle with the Bible itself. It’s better to see with one’s own eyes than with the eyes of another’s.” You can see his deep passion and love for the sacred Scripture.

Luther’s love for the Bible did not die out after he was a young man though. It continued on until his death. Luther said, “For some years now, I have read through the Bible twice every year. If you picture the Bible to be a mighty tree and every word a little branch, I have shaken every one of these branches because I wanted to know what it was and what it meant.” He wanted to know what God said in the Bible. He looked at each word, sought to understand what it meant, and did not leave from it until he understood what it was saying. This type of love for the Bible is foundational to preaching. It is foundational to leading a family, teaching a Sunday school class, and evangelizing the lost.

So we need to be people that love the Bible as Luther loved the Bible. I think the only way to get to the point that Luther was at in his love for the Word is through prayer and constant intake of Scripture. We need to be like Luther and read the Word over and over. We need to stare at the text until the Holy Spirit reveals to us what He means in each verse. Until then, we will not be as convinced as Luther was regarding the Word. Luther’s love for the Word is what drove him to stand against the powerful papacy. It allowed him to labor diligently to translate the Bible into the German language so that the common people could read it. It allowed him to stand firm in the midst of suffering, violence, persecution, and trials. Until we are as convinced as Luther was regarding the Word we will not be able to stand as boldly as we ought to regarding homosexuality, divorce, the transgender movement, abortion, and liberalism creeping into evangelical circles. We must love and be convinced that God has spoken through his Word. Once that conviction settles in our heart, we will not only be willing to lose our house for the sake of the truth of Scripture, but we will be willing to lose our very lives. So let us labor to say with Luther, “Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God.”

[1]Martin Luther, Luther’s Works: The Sermon on the Mount and the Magnificat, 9.

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