Perhaps no work of Martin Luther’s so captures the revolutionary zeal and theological boldness of his vision as The Freedom of a Christian. Yet, it is not easily accessible today. Mark Tranvik’s new translation of Luther’s treatise brings alive the social, historical, and ecclesial context of Luther’s treatise. This is the first of a set of student guides to key Reformation treatises by Martin Luther, concentrating on those most widely used in college settings.
In the Logos edition of The Freedom of a Christian, you get easy access to Scripture texts and to a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Hovering over Scripture references links you instantly to the verse you’re looking for, and with Passage Guides, Word Studies, and a wealth of other tools from Logos, you can delve into God’s Word like never before!
The Freedom of a Christian, Martin Luther’s first programmatic presentation of his understnading of the justification of sinners by faith and their subsequent life of good works, offers the best access to Luther’s understanding of what it means to be a human creature.
—Robert Kolb, missions professor of systematic theology, Concordia Seminary
Martin Luther (1483–1546) 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 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.
Mark D. Tranvik is an associate professor of religion at Augsburg College in Minneapolis and the director of the Lilly Endowment program on vocation there.
“A Christian is servant of all and made subject to all. Insofar as a Christian is free, no works are necessary. Insofar as a Christian is a servant, all kinds of works are done.” (Page 71)
“This is the liberty of the Christian—in essence it is our faith. This freedom does not lead us to live lazy and wicked lives but makes the law and works unnecessary for righteousness and salvation.” (Page 60)
“‘Good works do not make a good person, but a good person does good works. Evil works do not make a person wicked, but a wicked person does evil works.’” (Page 74)
“that the soul needs only one thing: the word of God.” (Page 53)
“In conclusion, as Christians we do not live in ourselves but in Christ and the neighbor. Otherwise, we are not Christian. As Christians we live in Christ through faith and in the neighbor through love.” (Page 88)
Martin Luther (1483–1546), one of the most significant figures in Western history, was a key figure in the Protestant Reformation. Over the course of his life, Luther was a monk, a priest, a professor of biblical literature, a Reformer, a husband, and a father.
Luther is most noted for his Ninety-Five Theses (1517), in which he argued that indulgences were not acts of penance which could replace true repentance. His refusal to retract all his writings, demanded by Pope Leo X in 1520 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521, resulted in his excommunication by the pope and condemnation as an outlaw by the emperor.
Luther has been both praised and vilified for what he preached and wrote. Luther’s translation of the Christian Bible into the vernacular greatly influenced the church. His works continue to impact all Christians and animate the movement that bears his name. Luther’s Works (55 vols.) contains many of Luther’s writings, including commentaries, sermons, and lectures.