Martin Luther Biography / Autobiography / Memoir resources

Full Name: Mr. Martin Luther
Date of Birth: November 10, 1483
Place of Birth: Saxony, Germany
Died: February 18, 1546
Place of Death: Saxony, Germany
Classification: Leaders & Revolutionaries


Short Biography of Martin Luther

Although he would forever change Christianity, Martin Luther was a German monk who rose in his own rank to become a theologian, a reformer, and most importantly, a prominent figure who began asking deeper questions about the Bible and society. While some of his more extreme beliefs, which came later in his life, are disregarded, his Biblical interpretations sparked an entire reformation of the Church.

The young Martin Luther was brought up by his family, namely his father Hans Luther who worked in the copper business. His father was also involved in the town’s politics and was a councilor of Mansfield in the early 1490s. Not much information exists about his childhood, except some tidbits seen in Martin Luther’s autobiographical writings. Martin began his schooling where he learned Latin in Mansfield. Later, Luther attended the University of Erfurt, where he received a degree in Liberal Arts in 1502. He went on to receive a Master’s degree, which gave him access to many prominent fields of study, including Law and Theology. Law meant financial success, while theology meant possible political positioning.

Intent on his son studying law, Martin Luther’s father prepared him for his next step. However, soon after beginning law studies, Luther decided he should study theology – especially after experiencing the wrath of God during a violent thunderstorm that, in one night, would change his entire life path – one filled with worship, study, and hard work. In 1507, Martin Luther wanted more out of his life than to become a monk. He decided to study for a degree that would allow him to attain the status of Sententiarius, giving him the qualifications to teach from the Four Books of Sentences, the religious textbook at the time.

After some time lecturing, Martin Luther began questioning the power, prestige and wealth of the Pope. Why should he be able to take money from the poor in order to build grandiose cathedrals? Additionally, he began questioning the teachings of salvation from the Catholic Church. He believed salvation could not be paid off – one of the founding philosophies of the Protestant movement. By 1520, Luther’s writings, teachings, and beliefs were examined by the papal commission, who found his teachings to be that of a heretic. Because of Luther’s newfound popularity in Germany and new laws that protected people without a fair trial, Luther would not be burned at the stake. Instead, his followers who wanted to protect him kidnapped Martin Luther. For nearly a year, he remained in hiding. While things calmed down, many believed him to be dead.

Following excommunication, Martin Luther married Katherine Bora, a former nun who had heard Luther’s teachings and thereafter fled the convent. This marriage constituted a dramatic change in the life of a monk. He regarded the churches strict regulations on celibacy as a work of the devil. For the next twenty years, he continued to lecture and teach his philosophy that allowed anyone who desired access to the Bible and to speak with God. His teachings gave birth to Lutheranism, Calvinism, and even the Anglican Communion Church.

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