Celebrating the Reformation
with Martin Luther "Fun Facts"
- At birth, Martin Luther’s name was Martin Luder. He later changed it to the more academically respectable Luther.
- Christopher Columbus set sail when Luther was in grammar school. Michelangelo was completing his Sistine Chapel ceiling as Luther began teaching theology.
- Luther had probably eight siblings, yet only one of Luther’s brothers (Jacob) and only three of his sisters survived to adulthood.
- As a schoolboy, Luther preferred music to any other subject, and he became proficient at playing the lute. He gave away his lute when he entered the monastic cloister at age 21.
- Before he became a friar, Luther was well on his way to becoming a lawyer. He had earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the shortest time possible.
- While walking back to law school in 1505, Luther encountered a frightening thunderstorm. During the storm he cried out in fear, "Help me, St. Anna! I will become a monk." He kept his vow.
- Early on as a reformer, Luther publicly concluded that penance (the church sacrament involving confession of sin) wasn’t a sacrament at all. Yet he continued to daily confess his sins to another person for most of his life.
- Luther once said he had not even seen a Bible until he was 20 years old.
- Luther translated Erasmus’s Greek New Testament into German at the headlong rate of more than 1,500 words per day.
- Luther publicly criticized the abuse of indulgences more than three years before he published his 95 Theses on the topic.
- After 1521, Luther spent the rest of his life as an outlaw.
- Luther once supervised 10 monasteries. As a district vicar, he held administrative authority for 10 Augustinian monasteries in Thuringia and Saxony.