Posted in Homeschooling & Education

Martin Luther and Reformed Education


Not anticipating the conflict between state and church that was to develop later, Luther proposes a system of education that would benefit all members of society, including boys and girls, wealthy and poor. Civic schools would belong to a system of institutions throughout the land and would operate in harmony with the church.

God, argues Luther, Who “desires His Bible to be an open book”, desires that all know the Bible. Therefore Luther goes on at some length about the value of a classical curriculum for the reformed school, for he was convinced that knowledge of the liberal arts – history, languages and the like – provided the best context for the study of Scripture.

For Luther, knowledge of Scripture is both the basis and goal of education; humanistic methods may serve this objective, but they are not to be deemed an end in themselves. Unlike the humanist Erasmus, Luther did not consider education per se as contributing to the salvation and piety of the believer. The depravity of the human will, Luther argued, is so great that without the righteousness of God no-one can progress in piety, let alone be saved. Equally condemned before God, all believers are equally saved by God’s grace through faith in the death of Christ – regardless of education. Without the gospel, then, education is meaningless. And it is only from the perspective of the gospel that education must be valued. On the basis of the Bible all youths should pursue education as a means to becoming responsible men and women who can govern churches, countries, people, and households.

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