Background on Praying the Gospels with Martin Luther


Today I want to tell you a little about my book: Praying the Gospels with Martin Luther: Finding Freedom in Love.

In 2008, I read the gospel sermons in Martin Luther’s Church Postil. Luther had been asked to write explanations to the year-long scripture readings for local clergy to help them with their sermons. Many of them were not trained in biblical study so they could read these sermons to their congregations. Having learned how theologians interpreted Luther’s writings to the institutional church, I wanted to hear what he said to the people in the pews.

I was pleasantly surprised about some of the things I read (as much as you can be pleasantly surprised when trying to wade through the length and breadth of his messages—some of which were 8,000 words in length). He must have gone through many, many inkwells.

As I read his sermons, I heard a different Luther from the one I met in confirmation and later in seminary. I discovered Luther was no biblical literalist. The Word spoke to him in ways academia might consider too abstract or contestable today.

People want the Word to be black and white, something concrete that you can chain to a doctrine. For Martin Luther, the Word was and is a living thing, not merely letters and ink in a book. He obviously doesn’t diss the Book by any stretch of the imagination. The Word speaks through the Book, as well as through other means…like nature.

During 2008, I wrote a prayer each week based on 2 or 3 sermons for each gospel text. I placed the prayers on a table in the narthex for parishioners to pick up as they left church. They could use the prayer during their personal study/prayer time during the week. Not many chose to do this. Yet, I was the one who benefited most by reading the sermons and writing the prayers.

My book reveals some very interesting things Brother Martin taught in his sermons that we don’t hear from the institutional church, even the Lutheran church. (Some interesting quotations are found here. Not all of these are in the book.)

I tried to capture the essence of the message of his teachings in a way that makes it easier to understand and incorporate—through prayers. If a prayer peaks your interest, you can look up that particular sermon in the Church Postil here and do the heavy reading.

You can find Praying the Gospels with Martin Luther: Finding Freedom in Love to read its reviews at this link: .

If you want to see the book trailer, check it out here.

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