Martin Luther was faced with a decision to remain quiet or speak out. The religious corruption he witnessed was unbearable. Bishops sold places in Heaven to the highest bidder. The pope claimed to be the only authority for Christians and promised early release from Purgatory for donations to build his Roman palace. Priests were impregnating nuns and aborting the babies.
Luther wrote a letter to his bishop, explaining 95 Biblical reasons the pope was wrong to sell salvation. Then on October 31, 1517, filled with righteous anger at the lack of response, he stormed to his church building in Wittenberg, Germany, and nailed his Ninety-Five Theses on the doors which served as the community bulletin board. Soon his complaint reached Rome.
For hundreds of years the pope was considered the final authority in all things Christian. His words were more authoritative than the Bible. Suddenly a Bible teacher in a small German village was questioning the status quo.
At that time, Luther was preaching a Bible-based sermon every 2 1/2 days. He also wrote a booklet on a Bible subject every other day for at least 4 years.
Tensions between the pope and Luther grew. The pope threatened the German emperor to get Luther or else. He even told his aides that if Luther “accidentally” died, it would solve many problems.
In hiding, Luther translated the Bible into German, which had only been in Latin for over a thousand years. Luther believed the German people should be able to compare what they were being taught in church with what God said in the Bible, and that required the Bible to be in their own language.
The final 13 years of his life, Luther suffered from depression, vertigo, fainting, tinnitus, cataracts, kidney and bladder stones, arthritis, angina, and deafness, but he kept writing and preaching the Word of God.
On the evening of February 17, 1546, at the age of 56, Luther experienced chest pain and hours later died. Any thought that his death would end his Bible revolution was quickly proven wrong. He had unwillingly led a movement stressing the authority of the Scriptures above every man, experience, and idea.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).