These quotations are taken from Luther’s Tabletalk.
No greater mischief can happen to a Christian people than to have God’s Word taken from them or falsified so that they no longer have it pure and clear. God, grant that we and our descendants be not witnesses of such a calamity.
Let us not lose the Bible, but with diligence, in fear and invocation of God, read and preach it. While that remains and flourishes, all prospers with the state; ’tis head and empress of all arts and faculties. Let but divinity fall, and I would not give a straw for the rest.
I have grounded my preaching upon the literal word; he that pleases may follow me; he that will not may stay. I call upon Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Moses, and all the saints to say whether they ever fundamentally comprehended on single word of God without studying it over and over and over again. The Psalm says; His understanding is infinite. The saints, indeed, know God’s Word, and can discourse of it, but the practice is another matter; therein we shall ever remain scholars.
We must know how to teach God’s Word properly and discerningly, because those who hear it are diverse. Some are struck with fear in the conscience, perplexed, and awed by their sins, in apprehension of God’s anger, and penitent. These people must be comforted with the consolations of the Gospel. Others are hardened, obstinate, stiff-necked, rebel-hearted. These must be made afraid of the law by examples of God’s wrath, such as the fires of Elijah, the deluge, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the downfall of Jerusalem. These hard heads need sound knocks.