No other person is more identified with the Reformation than Martin Luther. Luther’s work, including his Ninety-Five Theses—which he nailed to the door of the Wittenberg Church in 1517—is credited with helping to spark the Protestant Reformation and laying the foundation for the Lutheran church. Now, Logos Bible Software has partnered with Fortress Press and Concordia Publishing House to offer the entire 55-volume set of Luther’s Works for download.
This massive collection contains Luther’s exposition and commentary on Scripture as well as his sermons, theological writings, and other materials. The final volume in the set contains an index of quotations, proper names, and topics. It’s the largest collection of Luther’s works available anywhere—and now you can download the entire set for use in Logos Bible Software.
This decades-long project contains the standard scholarly set of Luther’s Works, an essential collection for pastors, theologians, and historians in the Lutheran tradition. And as a special bonus, you’ll also get the Tappert edition of The Book of Concord.
Looking for more books in the series? Luther’s Works Upgrade (3 vols.) is available.
. . . Pastors, scholars and interested laypeople can acquire a first-rate collection at a remarkably affordable price.
—Mark U. Edwards Jr., Christian Century, January 16-23, 2002
Every Lutheran seminarian and pastor needs this collection. . . I am in bliss.
—Bob Schaefer, M.Div. student, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota
Greatly inspired by the depths of Luther’s insight. . . As Lutherans we have an asset here and we should never forget that.
—Dale L. Johnson, Salem Lutheran Church, Rockford, Illinois
The Reformer’s lectures on the first book of Moses must be numbered among the great works in the field of exegetical writing. Unlike many scholars who have undertaken to expound Genesis, Luther is not afraid to adhere strictly to the letter of what Moses wrote. He does not indulge in wild allegories. He does not tear words or sentences out of their context. He knows that Genesis is the Word of God. Therefore he approaches the book with awe and reverence. His is a genuinely Christian commentary.
This volume discusses Genesis 1—5, including the Creation, the Fall, the First Brothers, and the line of Adam.
Luther’s Lectures on Genesis is a great classic in the field of theological literature. These discourses are clear, vigorous, pertinent, and comprehensive. They reveal vast learning as well as extraordinary ability to expound Scripture in a manner that is intelligible to everyone. Regarding style and method, Luther himself states that in his youth he was “enchanted” by allegories. Consequently, he sometimes resorts to allegorical interpretations when he expounds the Book of Genesis, though always in a manner that is “conformable to the faith.”
Lectures on Genesis: Chapters 6–14 deal with the Flood, with Noah and his descendants, with the Tower of Babel, and with Abram and Lot up to the time of Abram’s vision and the promise of the Seed.
In the third volume the great man of God deals with numerous happenings in the colorful and exciting career of Abraham, the father of the faithful. As he does so, he pays special attention to Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael, Lot, and others. He is always at pains to point to the guiding hand of God. Human beings often sin—either willfully or out of the weakness of the flesh—but God is always present to shape the course of events and to reveal abiding love as well as unflinching justice.
In this volume, Luther ends his biography of Abraham and begins his focus on the later patriarchal narratives. Written, it is believed, during an outbreak of the plague in 1539, this section of the Genesis Lectures (Genesis 21—25) includes Luther’s moving study of the Abraham and Isaac story in which he compares Isaac’s obedience to that of Christ.
In this volume Luther comments trenchantly and in a God-fearing manner on a somewhat complicated concatenation of events in the life of the patriarch Jacob.
In this section of Luther’s Lectures on Genesis (31—37) the subject is the mature child of God in the school of adversity. Luther is also interested in pointing out the antidote for all adversity—the comforting mercy of God. This comfort is in Jesus Christ; therefore Luther observes: “These emphatic words, which Moses scatters like jewels here and there in his writings, are wonderfully sweet, provided they are referred to Christ.” Luther does not hesitate to draw comparisons: “These things are written to comfort us so that we may know that our afflictions and disasters are not extreme.”
Among the topics covered in this volume (Genesis 38—44) are: Judah and Tamar, whom many interpreters of Scripture neglect; Joseph, whom Potiphar had brought from the Ishmaelites and had brought down to Egypt, his interaction with Potiphar’s wife, his imprisonment, and the interpretation of his dreams; and the provisions against the famine that had been foretold.
In this volume Luther concludes his Lecture on Genesis (45—50). Joseph, whom God has made lord of all Egypt, reveals himself to his brothers. “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.” Although he has the power to sentence them to severe punishment for their heinous crime, he gives them full forgiveness. Since his heart has been pining away for his aged father, he orders his brothers to return in haste to their homeland and to bring Jacob to Egypt. When Jacob hears the good news, his disconsolate spirit revives. Then he and his household—70 souls in all—migrate to Egypt and settle in the land of Goshen.—“I can do no more,” says Luther after he has completed his last lecture on the Book of Genesis. But could any theologian have done more?
Far from seeing the Book of Deuteronomy as a list of dry laws that had little to do with faith, Luther’s Lectures on Deuteronomy was an effort to apply the Deuteronomic interpretation of the Mosaic Law and covenant to both the flesh and the spirit.
Even the modern reader of Luther’s notes for these lectures can hardly escape noticing that the message, compared with that of other contemporary lectures, reveals greater individual involvement in the message being expounded. The prime emphasis is constantly on Christ as the center of the whole Psalter. The lecturer is dealing not with idle academic definitions but with the issues of life and salvation that affect the speaker and hearer directly and personally. This is where Luther’s theology begins, and so these First Lectures on the Psalms (1—75) are often called initia theologiae Lutheri.
Even the modern reader of Luther’s notes for these lectures on the Psalms can hardly escape noticing that the message, compared with that of other contemporary lectures, reveals greater individual involvement in the message being expounded. The prime emphasis is constantly on Christ as the center of the whole Psalter. The lecturer is dealing not with idle academic definitions but with the issues of life and salvation that affect the speaker and hearer directly and personally. This is where Luther’s theology begins, and so these First Lectures on the Psalms are often called initia theologiae Lutheri. This second volume contains lectures on Psalms 76 through 150.
This volume contains Luther’s commentaries on selected psalms beloved by Christians everywhere. They are for the most part the outgrowth of sermons and classroom lectures, family devotions, and private conversations held between 1524 and 1537.
From Luther’s thorough-going expositions of Psalms 68, 82, 90, 101, 110, 111, and 112 it is evident at once that the Reformer had a keen insight into secular and ecclesiastical affairs as they existed in his time. But it is no less apparent that his understanding and his statements had a prophetic quality—a quality which, among other characteristics, makes his commentaries altogether timeless in their significance. From explication of the religious and moral life of his day to the elucidation of differences between Jewish and Protestant interpretations of Psalm 111, Luther’s literary breadth and depth provide the reader with an unrivaled uniqueness of commentary on these Psalms.
The commentaries contained in this volume show conclusively that Luther achieved great things in the field of Biblical scholarship. Luther’s language is simple and always to the point. He curries to no one’s favor as he goes to the heart of the sixteen psalms expounded in this volume.
In this volume, Luther offers interpretations of three Old Testament texts that are often poorly translated and often misinterpreted. He gives fresh interpretations of Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon, calling upon readers to view them as "Solomon’s Economics" and "Solomon’s Politics."
Luther treats Isaiah and his message as one still relevant for modern times, in fact for all time. The lesson is that God in Jesus Christ comes to the rescue of God’s people in God’s own good time, just as God did to the nation and government of the Jews in Isaiah’s time. Meanwhile, God’s people are to await God’s help in complete confidence and not rely on self-help and on alliances with other men. The great danger then and now, however, lies in humankind’s rebellion against God’s way, for humankind is naturally impatient about waiting for God to do all things well. Luther bids us learn from Isaiah that we are helped and protected by God as the people of Israel were and that we are also chastened like them when this is necessary.
In discoursing on the second half of Isaiah, Luther seems especially concerned about students preparing for the ministry. His central theme, from chapter 40, "The Word of our God will stand forever," reappears again and again in his commentary, like a bell tolling its purpose. Luther probably felt the need to repeat this message first of all for his own comfort. He admits: "If I had known that the world was so puzzlingly evil, I would never have begun the task of preaching and writing." Concerning Isaiah’s message he says, "These are words of consolation. Just hold tight, even if you are oppressed and persecuted and your thoughts and conscience trouble you." As his faith strengthens and solidifies, so Luther encourages his students to hold fast to the same by taking up the work of Christ and warning: "Beware that you do not neglect the Word. It indeed stands firm, but it moves and will be given to others…. Therefore let us prayerfully keep busy with the Word."
The first, Hosea-Malachi, is compiled from the so-called Altenburg manuscript, and complemented with a Zwickau manuscript and a Wittenburg manuscript. These pieces put together present a complete set of commentaries on these minor prophets. These lectures occupied Luther’s lecture time at the university for about two years, March 1524 to early spring 1526. At this time Luther was decried the source of all problems concerning the Reformation movement. But as responsibilities, anxieties, enmities, and threats increased, Luther’s confidence in the message of Scripture also rose to meet every test. These lectures reflect the crucible in Luther’s life during their deliverance. Just as these lectures give insight into these minor prophets, so do they reveal the life of this lecturer at this defining moment in the Reformation movement.
Among the minor prophets, Jonah and Habakkuk were obviously of special significance for Martin Luther. The special treatment accorded these two is matched only in the case of one other of the minor prophets—Zechariah (Vol.20). In addition to the usual Latin lectures, Luther added popular versions in the manner of a German commentary, carefully written out expressly for printed publication. It is clear why Luther gave these prophets the chance to speak to a wider audience: Jonah and Habakkuk have a message for all of humankind. Of Jonah, Luther says, "[Jonah] teaches us not to despair of the fruit of the Gospel, no matter how badly it appears to be devoid of fruit and prophet. … I am tempted to say that no apostle or prophet, not even Christ Himself, performed and accomplished with a single sermon the great things Jonah did." As for Habakkuk—unfortunately confined to the dark since the time of the apostles—Luther reveals that he actually holds a central place in Paul’s theology with the passage: "The righteous shall live by his faith." Luther here uncovers the jewels embedded in the traditions of these prophets, now contained in this volume for all to witness.
This volume demonstrates Luther’s perseverance and triumph against all odds. Luther’s commentary on Zechariah points to Zechariah as "an outstanding model" in comforting people not to despair when the promises of Christ’s kingdom do not seem to come true. This comfort is for all time.
Here Luther speaks about faith, about good works, about prayer, about Christian love, about the giving of alms, about war, about bearing witness to the Truth, about virtues and vices of many kinds. Above all, he stresses the everlasting love of Christ.. Luther, always fearless and forthright, becomes bitingly eloquent when he talks about greed—greed as it came, and still comes, to the fore among men, women, and children in every walk of life, among many preachers as well as among many politicians.
The Reformer warns his hearers against perversions of Scripture. He speaks boldly and bluntly against sins rampant in his day and sins that will afflict mankind until the end of time. He wields the sword of the Spirit without fear and with telling effectiveness. His mastery of language is evident on every page.
Luther set special store by the Gospel According to St. John. He often spoke and wrote of John as the foremost of the evangelists. The tenderness with which the writer of the fourth Gospel sets forth the message of God’s love and mercy made a deep and lasting impression on the Reformer. Luther lays special stress on what they evangelist states about the Messiah as the one and only Way to salvation and about good works as the inevitable fruits of that faith. Luther’s assaults on those who either misinterpreted or deliberately falsified the Biblical teachings are sharp and devastating. Although he often speaks with the utmost tenderness, he does not hesitate to hurl thunderbolts at those who sought to discredit him and played fast and loose with Scriptural truth. The Reformer’s discourses are plain, clear-cut, and logical. He calls John a master in the doctrine of justification.
The sermons contained in this volume show how masterfully Luther employed the cardinal principles of effective preaching. The Gospel According to St. John was close to Luther’s heart. To him this book was a never-failing source of edification, wisdom, and strength. In his preface to the sermons he delivered on the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth chapters of Saint John’s Gospel he states that he is "resolved to interpret these chapters for the common man, but especially to defend and preserve the true and pure doctrine of Christ and of the Christian faith against the vile mobs of the devil, whether present or future."
With Luther’s lectures on the Epistle to the Romans he had a splendid opportunity to share with his students the great find of his life, "that place in Paul which was for me truly the gate of Paradise."
Luther’s Lectures on Galatians, like Paul’s letters, contain many distinctively autobiographical statements. In more than one respect these two men of God were kindred spirits. Both inveighed sharply and vigorously against their adversaries, but they also never lost sight of the Christian love that permeates the words of those who bring God’s message of salvation to their fellow men.
The lectures he delivered at a later period in his life overshadow the former series in popularity as well as in significance. These, his Lectures on Galatians, reflect his development.
This volume offers three short commentaries on Pauline Epistles that were written with a particular purpose and called for by a specific need. The commentary on 1 Corinthians 7 must have been a study item for Luther himself, for in it he gives himself the opportunity to come to grips with the whole matter of celibacy versus marriage. The second item is an extended series of sermons on 1 Corinthians 15, the great chapter on the resurrection. These sermons were delivered by Luther in a time of great physical weakness, and there can be little doubt that the consciousness of personal weakness contributed much toward the desire to study and proclaim the message of 1 Corinthians 15 in depth. To this we add Luther’s lectures on 1 Timothy, one of those shorter series of lectures undertaken when most of the University of Wittenberg had moved to Jena to escape the plague. Yet the subject here is not sickness or death, but the office of a bishop, or pastor, and how to administer it in faithfulness to the Gospel.
These two lectures were given about a decade apart. The first in point of time, the Hebrews lectures, were delivered in the "Theses" year, 1517. Luther was finishing his lectures on Hebrews when he was summoned to Heidelberg to attend a convention of the German Augustinians order in April 1518. Presumably the Augustinians were to settle the controversy precipitated by Luther in the Ninety-five Theses, but instead of receiving a rebuke, Luther gained a new following at Heidelberg, especially among the younger theologians. The lectures on Titus and Philemon were given ten years later, when controversy and polemics had become a necessary part of Luther’s daily routine. Then too, Luther’s commentary shows him to be most deeply concerned about imitating his favorite apostle in preaching effectively and relevantly.
This volume contains sermons on the first and second Epistles of St. Peter, sermons on the Epistle of St. Jude, and lectures on the first Epistle of St. John.
The young Luther emerges in this volume in his role of reformer. We follow him through his early years of clarifying his evangelical doctrines and relive with him the stirring events that were to influence the fate of Germany, all of Europe, and eventually the whole world.
Luther stands out as the defender of his understanding of the Christian faith in this volume. What he said and wrote was attacked by leaders of the Roman Church and the Holy Roman Empire. Though friends and enemies sought to deflect him from his purpose, he remained steadfast so that what took place at the Diet of Worms has a become a watershed in the history of Christendom.
On the Bondage of the Will was considered by Luther himself as one of his best writings. This particular treatise is a reply to Erasmus’ work On the Freedom of the Will.
Included in this volume are four of the debates or disputations held in Wittenberg University between 1535 and 1542. Thirteen of the fourteen treatises appear in their entirety in an English translation for the first time with publication of this volume.
The writings in this first of four volumes of Luther’s Works on Word and Sacrament are for the most part from a fifteen year span—from the year of the Leipzig Debate to the publication of Luther’s German Bible.
Six major movements of the resultant symphony are included in this volume, all dealing with the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper. In addition to providing observations on vows, sin, celibacy, sainthood, and spirits, Luther expresses his views concerning authority in the church, the place of Scripture, and the merits and limitations of a “Lutheran” confession.
This volume contains Luther’s most extensive exposition of his understanding of the Lord’s Supper. Directed against the more radical representatives of the sixteenth century reformation movement, this exposition is contained in the two major treatises appearing in an English translation in this volume. The translation and the wealth of historical commentary provided in this volume is a good starting point for a reassessment of the reformation contribution to our understanding of the Lord’s Supper.
Development of Luther’s concept of the Lord’s Supper. This volume traces the development of Luther’s concept of the Lord’s Supper from the time of the Marburg Colloquy in 1529 down to 1544, two years before his death.
This volume includes two writings dealing with the plight of the common person who Luther felt had become a victim of the ecclesiastical establishment. These are followed by treatises taken from Luther’s literary feud with three staunch supporters of Rome: Augustine Alveld, Jerome Emser [the “Leipzig goat”], and Albrecht of Mainz. The final treatise contains Luther’s argument for congregational authority.
This volume in Luther’s Works contains writings of Luther directed for the most part against the fanatical front on the left. In denying the reality of the church, the validity and need of the office of the ministry, the fanatics relegate the sacraments to a secondary position, thus bypassing the Word as God’s means of communication to men.
Conflict between the church of Rome and the reformers reached its most violent peak in the five years before the Council of Trent in 1545, a council the pope had been delaying for years. Luther had not only given up hope for a "free, Christian council," but had also come to the conclusion that the authority of such a council was limited to reaffirming the ancient faith of the apostles. This radical departure from Rome’s interpretation of its own authority forms the basis of Luther’s new doctrine of the church—and also of his advice to Protestant princes on the problems of ecclesiastical property. It is this doctrine of the church which is the theme of the three treatises written during this period and included in this volume.
These are not devotional writings in the sense of being edifying discourses or daily meditations for the cultivation of general spiritual sensitivity. Rather they are concrete expressions of evangelical faith and piety written by Luther the Pastor to deal with specific and burning life situations. In a very real sense they are “letters of spiritual counsel.” The seven pastoral writings presented in this volume are notable for their lack of controversy. Although his very life was literally at stake, Luther does not allude to his own situation, but subdues himself to the message with which he was committed.
These are not devotional writings in the sense of being edifying discourses or daily meditations for the cultivation of general spiritual sensitivity. Rather they are concrete expressions of evangelical faith and piety written by Luther the Pastor to deal with specific and burning life situations. In a very real sense they are “letters of spiritual counsel.” The contents of this volume cover the years between 1522 (the year after the Diet of Worms) and 1545 (the year before Luther’s death).
During the interval between the Leipzig Debate in 1519 and the dramatic, decisive Diet of Worms in 1521, Luther faced a wide array of major problems. He was forced to defend the emerging Reformation against its secular and ecclesiastical enemies and to clarify his own position. At the same time he had to address himself to a host of friends, supporters, and sympathizers who were apprehensive about where Luther’s theology was leading.
In the eleven treatises comprising this volume, it is of extraordinary interest to note how the foremost exponent of evangelical ethics interprets the dictates of love in the concrete circumstances of his time. A Christian’s behavior is determined more by the situation in which he finds himself than by any fixed and final ethical formulations or codes of moral conduct.
This volume contains eight significant works written between the Peasants War of 1525 and the Diet of Augsburg in 1530.
Wrestles with the Christian’s ethical attitude toward governing bodies, those preaching false doctrine and the Jews. In these four treatises, written between 1530 and 1542, we see Luther wrestling with volatile aspects of the Christian’s ethical attitude toward the governing authorities, toward other Christians who appeared to be preaching incorrect doctrines, and toward the Jews.
More than 100 letters from 1507 to the end of Luther’s ’exile’ at Wartburg in 1522. Luther wrote the 119 letters in this volume between 1507 and 1522, during the momentous years that saw him change from an obedient and determined priest of his Order to a vigorous critic of the sale of indulgences and finally to the leader of a reformed church. In these letters Luther discusses his posting of the Ninety-five Theses, the disputations at Heidelberg, Augsburg, and Leipzig, and the bull excommunicating him.
Martin Luther’s return from Wartburg, official letters and personal ones to his wife and friends. For Luther, the period stretching from March 1522 to October of 1530 marked a time of tremendous change—ecclesiastical, political, and personal. Through the 117 letters presented here, the reader is given a well-rounded look at shaping forces and milieu of Luther’s life and of the entire Reformation. Each letter in this volume, given in its entirety, unveils important aspects of Luther’s complex personality. Historical introductions explain clearly the political and religious background of each letter.
Volume 50 of the American Edition of Luther’s Works is the third and final volume of letters in this series; it presents 89 letters written by Luther in the period from January 1532, to February 14, 1546, a date four days prior to Luther’s death.
This volume contains a selection of 43 sermons arranged in chronological order. Beginning with what may be Luther’s earliest extant sermon and ending with the last he delivered before his death, this collection of sermons can give the reader a glimpse into the Reformer’s development as a preacher. The 43 sermons in this volume represent but a fragment of Luther’s total output. Even the two thousand sermons or more contained in the Weimar Edition of Luther’s writings do not include all of Luther’s sermons.
On the seven Gospels of the Christmas season. This volume includes selections from the Christmas Postil, specifically sermons on the Gospel lessons for Christmas Eve, the Early Christmas Service, St. Stephen’s Day, the Sunday after Christmas, New Year’s Day, and the Festival of the Epiphany.
Luther’s chants and hymns in modern English, with music. Also has his liturgical writings. For the first time, all of Luther’s chants and hymns are here available with their music in modern notation. This volume also contains all of his liturgical writings. Along with the basic works in which Luther developed some general premises for liturgical reform, with practical suggestions for their realization, this volume includes orders for the occasional services, such as baptism, private confession, and marriage, collects and other prayers, prefaces to hymnals and a brief motet Luther composed.
Based on an authoritative text with selections from the Table Talk entries in the Weimar edition. The conversations selected for this volume of Luther’s Works have been carefully chosen from among more than seven-thousand entries of the Weimar Edition with two aims in view: historical perspective and contemporary relevance. The annotations are precise and are related directly to the material at hand.
The comprehensive index to all 54 volumes of Luther’s Works is an indispensable tool for using any book in the series. It is the capstone to a 27-year publishing project, the key to all future use and study of this literature. Included within are: more than 9,000 names, subjects, and pieces of literature (both titles cited by Luther and titles by Luther himself), a complete index of Scripture passages (Old Testament, New Testament, and Apocrypha) referred to outside of commentaries on a specific scriptural book.
The reformer Martin Luther stands as one of the most significant figures in Western history. His distinction as the father of the Protestant Reformation is augmented by his innovative use of new technology (the printing press), his translation of the Christian Bible into the vernacular, and his impact upon European society. Born in 1483 to middle-class parents in Saxony, eastern Germany, he became an Augustinian monk, a priest, a professor of biblical literature, a reformer, a husband and father. He died in 1546 after having witnessed the birth of a renewal movement that would result in a profound shift in faith, politics, and society. He has been both praised and vilified for what he preached and wrote. His thought continues to influence all Christians and to animate the movement that bears his name.
Jaroslav Pelikan (1923-2006) served as a Sterling professor of history emeritus at Yale University. He authored more than 30 books, including The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, widely acknowledged as the foremost history of its kind, and, more recently, Mary Through the Centuries. During his life he received honorary degrees from universities all over the world, as well as medals and awards from many scholarly societies and institutions, including the Jefferson Award of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the highest honor conferred by the U.S. government on a scholar in the humanities. He was also immediate past president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Helmut T. Lehmann, internationally known historian, teacher, and Martin Luther scholar, earned his ThD from Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen, Germany. He was a Schieren Professor Emeritus of History of Christianity at The Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.
John R Lee
Rev Keith A. Lingsch