Required reading

The Bondage of the Will by Martin Luther, preferably the version translated by Henry Cole (Available from the Wandering Bookseller or free here) – Conclude the ‘Discussion: Second Part’.

My summary

This week Luther continues to refute Erasmus’ own responses to passages cited by Luther against free will.

The passages are:
(i) Jeremiah 10:23 ‘O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps’;
(ii) Proverbs 16:1, 9 ‘It is of man to prepare the heart, but of the Lord to govern the tongue’;
(iii) John 15:5 ‘Without me ye can do nothing’.

The majority of today’s reading is spent on the last text. Erasmus claims that ‘nothing’ means ‘imperfect’ and therefore demonstrates an exercise of free will. Luther refuses to accept the gloss.

What grabbed me

I liked Luther’s comment on Erasmus’ exegetical method: ‘I too, must laud that notable champion-disputant for “Free-will,” who teaches us, to modify the testimonies of Scripture just as it serves our turn, by convenient interpretations, in order to make them appear to stand truly in confirmation of “Free-will”; that is, that they might be made to prove, not what they ought, but what we please; and who merely pretends a fear of one Achillean Scripture, that the silly reader, seeing this one overthrown, might hold all the rest in utter contempt.’

Exegesis, Erasmus, not eisegesis.

Next week’s reading

Commence the ‘Discussion: Third Part’ by reading Sections 135 to 142.

Now it’s your turn

Please post your own notes and thoughts in the comments section below.


Posts in this Book Club Series:

  • TOG Book Club: Luther’s Bondage of the Will – Part 1
  • TOG Book Club: Luther’s Bondage of the Will – Part 2
  • TOG Book Club: Luther’s Bondage of the Will – Part 3
  • TOG Book Club: Luther’s Bondage of the Will – Part 4
  • TOG Book Club: Luther’s Bondage of the Will – Part 5
  • TOG Book Club: Luther’s Bondage of the Will – Part 6
  • TOG Book Club: Luther’s Bondage of the Will – Part 7
  • TOG Book Club: Luther’s Bondage of the Will – Part 8
  • TOG Book Club: Luther’s Bondage of the Will – Part 9
  • TOG Book Club: Luther’s Bondage of the Will – Part 10
  • TOG Book Club: Luther’s Bondage of the Will – Part 11
  • TOG Book Club: Luther’s Bondage of the Will – Part 12
  • TOG Book Club: Luther’s Bondage of the Will – Part 13
  • TOG Book Club: Luther’s Bondage of the Will – Part 14
  • TOG Book Club: Luther’s Bondage of the Will – Part 15
  • TOG Book Club: Luther’s Bondage of the Will – Part 16
  • TOG Book Club: Luther’s Bondage of the Will – Part 17

  •