Founder of the German State Religion




1534 Luther Bible, photograph taken in Lutherhaus, Wittenburg (T. Schleese).

From the Large Catechism1

In regards to the Second Commandment,

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain.

Luther—”Therefore, above all things, our young people should have this commandment earnestly enforced upon them, and they should be trained to hold this and the First Commandment in high regard; and whenever they transgress, we must at once be after them with the rod and hold the commandment before them, and constantly inculcate it, so as to bring them up not only with punishment, but also in the reverence and fear of God.”

Luther—”Therefore I advise and exhort as before that by means of warning and threatening, restraint and punishment, the children be trained betimes to shun falsehood, and especially to avoid the use of God’s name in its support. For where they are allowed to do as they please, no good will result, as is even now evident that the world is worse than it has ever been and that there is no government, no obedience, no fidelity, no faith, but only daring, unbridled men, whom no teaching or reproof helps; all of which is God’s wrath and punishment for such wanton contempt of this commandment.” (The Larger Catechism was first published in 1529.)

In regards to the Fourth Commandment:

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

Luther—”Here consider now what deadly injury you are doing if you be negligent and fail on your part to bring up your child to usefulness and piety, and how you bring upon yourself all sin and wrath, thus earning hell by your own children, even though you be otherwise pious and holy. And because this is disregarded, God so fearfully punishes the world that there is no discipline, government, or peace, of which we all complain, but do not see that it is our fault; for as we train them, we have spoiled and disobedient children and subjects.”

Growing up responsibly:

Luther—”Therefore it is the duty of parents and the government to see to it that our youth be brought up to discipline and respectability. . .so that men would have joy and happiness from the same.”


From the “Fourteen of Consolation”2

Luther—”And the Apostle, in Hebrews 12:6, calls them God’s fatherly chastenings, when he says, “He scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.” And He does this, in order by such scourgings and lesser evils to drive out those great evils, that we may never need to feel them; as it is written, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” (Proverbs 22:15) Do not loving parents grieve more for their sons when they turn out thieves and evil-doers than when they receive a wound?”


Part 1 is the post, “Martin Luther, Reformer: on Child Training 1.



  1. Martin Luther, “The Large Catechism”, Translated by F. Bente and W. H. T. Dau, Triglot Concordia: The Symbolical Books of the Ev. Lutheran Church. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, pp. 565-773.
  2. Luther, Works of Martin Luther Translated with Introductions and Notes, Vol. 1, Books for the Ages, Albany, OR, USA.