Why did Luther add the word "alone" to Romans 3:28, that a man is justified by faith [alone] apart from works?

of the law." ?

This verse became the cornerstone of Protestantism.

Luther failed to take into consideration James 2:24 which says, "You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone" or "Faith without works is dead." [James 2:20].

As St. Augustine said, "If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself."

14 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    1.) I think Martin Luther almost certainly just plain lied when he did that.

    2.) I hope, pray and humbly trust that he has been forgiven for that and any other sins he committed.

    3.) The words of Jesus Christ Himself tell us beyond any reasonable doubt that salvation ordinarily includes works. He told us plainly and clearly that we must do the will of His father in Heaven.

    For those who doubt the importance of works, I offer the words of Jesus Christ, as recorded for us by Matthew. Jesus plainly, frankly, clearly told us all that those who refuse to engage in service to others out of love for God will not be found in good standing with Jesus on judgment day.


    Chapter 25

    verses 31 - 46


    "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne,


    and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.


    He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.


    Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.


    For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,


    naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.'


    Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?


    When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?


    When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'


    And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'


    Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.


    For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,


    a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.'


    Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?'


    He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.'


    And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

    Jesus Christ never told us that we can earn salvation, but he did tell us that we receive salvation in part by serving others out of love for God. I think it is by our service that we say "YES" to God when He offers us salvation. We must say "YES" to our Lord. I believe we do that most clearly when we do what He told us to do.

    Under no conditions may we ever give up hope for the eternal salvation of any particular person. I think Martin Luther committed some grave sins. Those sins were committed very publicly, so I feel free to discuss them publicly. He violated his vow of celibacy - marrying a nun and thereby facilitating her violation of her vows, and he intentionally altered sacred scripture to fit his own bias. His sins seem to me to have been great, but so are the sins of many other people.

    It is only by God's grace that any of us will be permitted to spend eternity with our Lord. I hope for Martin Luther's salvation, and as I said before, I humbly trust that God has granted, or will grant, Martin Luther eternal peace and joy in Heaven. I hope for, pray for, and humbly trust in the mercy of God to grant me and the rest of God's creation the same eternal peace and joy.

    I am Roman Catholic.

    Peace be with you.

  • burgas
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Romans 3 28

  • I don't know if Luther did that, although note that the leading bible in German nowadays is one created by a joint catholic/protestant team.

    But faith is taught right through Paul's letters, and also in John's gospel a lot. There's many other passages that also don't make sense if doing God's will is an effort of the flesh.

    Romans as a whole is showing that salvation is all through faith

    1) Romans 3: justification (because our good deeds are not good enough, through Jesus alone are we accepted)

    2) Romans 5-8 we reckon on knowledge of the further aspects of salvation, and so through our faith our "old man" is seen as crucified, our life is joined to Christ's, and so we learn to walk in the Spirit.

    James was just talking of people with the most scanty understanding of salvation, and so where just thinking they were saved by faith in what Jesus had done, when they hadn't a full comprehension of what he had done, and what resources were at their disposal. So if you have a faith that is proper and built on full knowledge of Christ's salvation for us, it will produce good deeds. It is a pity James didn't put this in his letter, but then we can look at Paul's letters and John's gospel to get the information not in James' letter.

  • 9 years ago

    Luther , advocate of Bile Alone doctrine, added it because he felt that it should have been there

    Nobody is actually Bible Alone but Bible interpreted through the lens of some oral church or 'individual inspiration' tradition and by someone claiming the authority to interpret the text for you

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  • 9 years ago

    Martin Luther Added to the Book of Romans

    The Bible, in Romans 3:28, states,

    Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

    Martin Luther, in his German translation of the Bible, specifically added the word "allein" (English 'alone') to Romans 3:28-a word that is not in the original Greek. Notice what Protestant scholars have admitted:

    ...Martin Luther would once again emphasize...that we are "justified by faith alone", apart from the works of the Law" (Rom. 3:28), adding the German word allein ("alone") in his translation of the Greek text. There is certainly a trace of Marcion in Luther's move (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, pp. 64-65).

    Furthermore, Martin Luther himself reportedly said,

    You tell me what a great fuss the Papists are making because the word alone in not in the text of Paul…say right out to him: 'Dr. Martin Luther will have it so,'…I will have it so, and I order it to be so, and my will is reason enough. I know very well that the word 'alone' is not in the Latin or the Greek text (Stoddard J. Rebuilding a Lost Faith. 1922, pp. 101-102; see also Luther M. Amic. Discussion, 1, 127).

    This passage strongly suggests that Martin Luther viewed his opinions, and not the actual Bible as the primary authority--a concept which this author will name prima Luther. By "papists" he is condemning Roman Catholics, but is needs to be understood that Protestant scholars (like HOJ Brown) also realize that Martin Luther changed that scripture.

    A second rallying cry for followers of Martin Luther was the expression sola fide (faith alone). But it appears that Martin Luther may have intentionally mistranslated Romans 3:28 for the pretence of supposedly having supposed scriptural justification for his sola fide doctrine.

    He also made another change in Romans. Romans 4:15 states,

    ...because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.

    Yet in his German translation, Martin Luther added the word 'only' before the term 'wrath' to Romans 4:15 (O'Hare, p. 201).

    This presumably was to attempt to justify his position to discredit the law.


    Catholic Christian †

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    to sabotage the verse from james."faith with out works is dead." he then proceeded to call the epistle of james , an epistle of straw , and was to reject the books of james ,jude and revelation . but the german princes revolted against that action , and he backed down

  • CJlove
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    James was jewish, and He taught the Jewish beleifs.

    Paul was explaining the difference in the teachings of Jesus and the Jewish Faith, which taught that you could only get to Heaven through works, and the Jews had 1000s of laws they had to follow to get there, Jesus took all of that away from man and made it so we could not be saved by works but only by the "Grace of God" thru our belief in the words of Christ. Luther added the words so people could better understand that it meant: only faith, not what we do, It is what we beleive will make us a righteous or good person, and that is what justifies our lives, not just what we do.

  • Rocky
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    Did you know that St. Augustine lived in the fifth century when the only bible allowed by the Roman Universal Catholic Church for people to read. Did you know he used only the Vulgate which is a Catholic translation of the Koine Greek New Testament into Latin and intentionally slanted to Catholicism. Did you know that the Roman Universal Catholic Church was founded in AD 313 by the Emperor of Rome, Constantine the Great. That the organizational structure of the Roman Universal Catholic Church is based upon the Pagan Religion of Babylon BC 600 the Mithra whose birthday happens to be December 25---same date a Christ-Mass a pagan holiday .

    Did you know the first Protestant Church was the Greek Orthodox Catholic withdrawing any relationship from the Roman Universal Catholic Church in about AD 1056.

    Did you know that Luther was the first of many who interpreted the New Testament from Koine Greek to German making a total break from the corrupt Roman Universal Catholic Church making the second of only four Protestant churches. The other two are the Presbyterian in about 1546 and the Church of England in about 1596. No other Protestant churches exist after that, not even today. The rest of so call protestant are actually from the first church Jesus started in his life time and are known basically as evangelical Christian churches never having to be dominated by the Roman Universal Catholic Church. However for 1200 years while the Roman Catholic was in power due to its association with the Roman Empire, 50 millions of their members lost their lives under the hand of the Roman Catholic.

    You reconsider James 2 in its entirety and go to Paul's writings which says "by grace are ye saved, not of works lest any man should boast." Works are your proof of having been saved, not part of the process. The Catholics have always gotten it wrong, and it has cost millions of their members security from going to hell. Mostly because for its first 1200 years secular men lead the church, not God's called. Now, that verse did not become the cornerstone of Protestantism---Jesus did and did he in and for the evangelicals.

  • 9 years ago

    he had mental issues. he was very confused and didn't know how to react. St. Francis was in the same situation but acted is the right manor and made the Church a better place.

  • Jim
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    The faith that justifies us is faith in the blood of Jesus. His blood is the satisfactory payment to God for our sin. It is the only payment for sin that God recognizes. And we receive His blood and His righteousness as a gift of God's unmerited favor. All of this is explained for us in Romans 3:21-31. And as you say, this is apart from the works of the law. And so we receive righteous standing before God by faith in the blood of Jesus Christ.

    But when we receive Christ, we not only receive His death for us, but also His life for us. For when we were united with Christ, our old spiritual person died with Him and was raised unto newness of life with Him. And so the believer who receives Christ by faith gets the benefits of the whole package of salvation. They get the benefits of Christ's death, and they get the benefits of Christ's life as well. And so the one who has truly received Christ by faith and has been justified by that faith, will also be walking in newness of life. And this will be a life that produces good works. And so our good works bear witness that we have received the life of Christ by faith. And if we have received His life, we have also received His death as well. And so our works do justify us in the sense that they point to the reality that we have received the life of Christ. And the one who has truly received Christ by faith is both justified by the blood and sanctified by the Spirit. The two are inseparable. And so good works proceed from salvation, but they do not precede salvation.

  • 9 years ago

    Faith is required for your works to count....what that means you can't give a homeless man a dollar (doing a good work) and live the rest of your life in sin, and expect and expect to go to heaven for that one good deed.

    God loves you....god bless

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