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Luther and the Stories of God: Biblical Narratives as a Foundation for Christian Living
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Luther and the Stories of God: Biblical Narratives as a Foundation for Christian Living


Baker Academic 2012

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.


Martin Luther read and preached the biblical text as the record of God addressing real, flesh-and-blood people in their daily lives. He used stories of the faithful as depicted in biblical narratives to drive home his vision of the Christian life, a life that includes struggling against temptation, enduring suffering, praising God in worship and prayer, and serving one’s neighbor in response to God’s callings and commands. Against the backdrop of these stories—which reveal God’s action to reclaim and restore his fallen human creatures—Luther cultivated a life of repentance based on trust in God as he has revealed himself in Christ.

With both depth and clarity, leading Lutheran scholar Robert Kolb explores how Scripture undergirded Luther’s approach to spiritual formation. Professors and students in theology and Reformation courses, pastors, and readers interested in narrative theology and nurturing a faithful Christian life will value this work.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Scripture citations link directly to English translations, and important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Key Features

  • Discusses what factors built the foundation for Martin Luther’s spiritual formation
  • Brings Luther’s theology into contemporary context and reveals its relevance
  • Examines the way Luther used biblical storytelling to cultivate moral imagination


  • The Whole Life of a Christian as a Life of Repentance: Luther’s Metanarrative
  • Luther the Storyteller: The Reformer’s Use of Narrative
  • Above All, Fearing, Loving, and Trusting in God: Defining the Core of What It Means to Be Human
  • Suffering Builds Faith and Calls to Repentance: Affliction as Part of Daily Life
  • The Life of Faith in Responding to God’s Word with Prayer and Praise: Active Obedience in the Sacred Realm
  • The Life of Faith in Serving the Neighbor: Luther’s Ethic of Callings and Commands
  • Living Well Leads to Dying Well: The Completion of the Christian Life

Praise for the Print Edition

Written by one of the foremost Luther scholars of our day, Luther and the Stories of God provides an expert and engaging account of how the Wittenberg reformer sought to cultivate a rich sense of Christian identity in his contemporaries through narrative, both in his teaching and preaching of the Word of God. Kolb masterfully shows how Luther invited his hearers and readers into a conversation with the speaking Creator God, a conversation that was to define them as human beings and sustain them as they faced the vicissitudes of life in a fallen world. Valuable for historians, theologians, and literary scholars alike, Luther and the Stories of God contains much that will be of interest and inspiration to anyone who wishes to engage in the same divine conversation today.

—Ronald K. Rittgers, Erich Markel Chair in German Reformation Studies, Valparaiso University

In this fine new book Robert Kolb outlines an approach to the moral life that is neglected in Luther studies: that Luther employed biblical storytelling as a way to form the moral imagination and thereby strengthen and enrich the Christian life.

—Robert D. Benne, Emeritus Jordan Trexler Professor, Roanoke College

With one eye on the current philosophical and theological interest in narrative, Kolb depicts Luther’s theology as his own version of the Christian metanarrative. To ‘live a Christian life’ means finally to fashion one’s personal story so that it merges seamlessly with this metanarrative. Luther used the Bible’s rich trove of stories to teach people how to do this. A creative and yet profoundly faithful restatement of what Luther’s project was really about.

Denis R. Janz, Provost Distinguished Professor of the History of Christianity, Loyola University New Orleans

Martin Luther was a great church leader and storyteller. Robert Kolb is a great Luther scholar and churchman. Here we have the dream combination, as Kolb offers an interpretation of Luther’s theology which brings the Reformer’s thought into dialogue with contemporary theology and church life. A must read for all who, like me, have learned so much from both men over the years.

—Carl R. Trueman, professor of historical theology and church history, Westminster Theological Seminary

Product Details

About Robert Kolb

Robert Kolb is emeritus mission professor of systematic theology and director of the Institute for Mission Studies at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. Among his many publications are The Book of Concord and Martin Luther: Confessor of the Faith.