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1503 … Luther, age twenty, had not seen a Bible before. His religious education was based on written Biblical commentaries. It was only at Erfurt University that he discovered a Bible, chained to a table. Luther found the Bible very intriguing and spent a great deal of time reading it.

In 1521, in the Wartburg Castle, Luther began the translation of the New Testament into German. He finished it in 1522, with the help of Philip Melanchthon. In 1534, he, along with several friends, completed the translation of the Septuagint, the primary Greek translation of the Old Testament, to German, enabling the entire Bible to be published in German.

Luther had complete faith in the inspired nature of scripture and in its complete and absolute inerrancy. He ascribed the entire Holy Scripture to the Holy Spirit. Luther often agonized over the disrespect that humans had for the Bible and, even more importantly, the misinterpretation of the Scriptures by the Roman Catholic Church.

In the introduction to his Old Testament translation, Luther wrote, “These are the Scriptures which make fools of all the wise and understanding, and are open only to the small and simple, as Christ says in Matthew 11:25. Therefore dismiss your own opinions and feelings, and think of the scriptures as the loftiest and noblest of holy things, as the richest of mines which can never be sufficiently explored, in order that you may find divine wisdom which God here lays before you in such simple guise as to quench all pride. The Bible is the cradle wherein Christ is laid.”

Scriptures are God’s testimonies about Himself. The Holy Spirit is the creative author of the Bible and the writers secretaries in service to the Lord. The Holy Spirit speaks with purpose and authority. The inspired Word, in the Bible, gives us the assurance of salvation.

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod professes that the Bible is the word of God, not the words of mortal humans, and that the Holy Spirit uses the Bible to communicate God’s word. “What Lutherans Teach” says this: “Lutherans teach (and believe) that the Bible is the inspired, true and reliable revelations of the triune God … and that this revelation clearly shows how God rescues human beings from the curse of sin and death.”

The Bible reveals God’s Law—the Ten Commandments—and the Gospel, the Good News of forgiveness and salvation. The Bible is the foundation for everything that we in the LCMS believe, teach, confess and practice because the Bible is the inspired, Christ-centered word of the Lord.

This year, 2017, is a year precious to all Lutherans: the 500th anniversary of Luther’s blessed discovery of the Gospel and his rebellion related to the beliefs and celebrations of the Roman Catholic Church. This article is part of a monthly series covering topics and historical events leading up to October 31, 1517, the date of the posting of the 95 Theses on the Castle Church doors in Wittenberg, Germany. It is republished, with permission, from the Rocky Mountain District, LCMS.