Martin Luther’s view on Education and the Bible


Luther did not limit his comments to the university, as he believed the Bible ought to be central to all education.

Luther knew the obligation Christian parents have to train their children in the faith, and this begins in the lower levels of education:

Above all, the most important and most usual teaching, in both the universities and the lower schools, ought to be concerned with the Holy Scriptures . . . Oh! how unwisely we deal with our poor young folk, whom we are commanded to train and instruct [Prov. 22:6]! But we shall have to give a serious account of our stewardship, and explain why we have not set the Word of God before them . . . We fail to notice the present pitiful distress of the young people. Though they live in the midst of a Christian world, they faint and perish in misery because they lack the gospel in which we should be training and exercising them all the time.

If young people were perishing in misery in the midst of the “Christian world” of Luther’s day, how much more do they need the Word of God in our post-Christian culture? Young people need the gospel, and they need to be trained by it from their youth.

Toward the end of Luther’s essay, we read his classic line on education, and his advice would be well heeded by parents today:

But I would not advise anyone to send his son to a place where the Holy Scriptures do not come first. Every institution, where the Word of God is not taught regularly, must fail. That is why we observe the kind of people who are now and will continue to be in the universities . . . I greatly fear that the universities are but wide-open gates leading to hell, as they are not diligent in training and impressing the Holy Scripture on the young students.

We are witnessing exactly what Luther warned against—failed institutions. The majority of our schools and universities have failed to train students in the wisdom of Christ, and they have instead trained students in a progressive and anti-Christian worldview. It is no stretch to say that our schools and universities are responsible for much of the moral chaos of our day. They have opened the gates to hell, and only the grace of God can overcome them. 

Oh that God would give us schools and universities that honor His Word! Oh that we would heed Luther’s call to give our children a Christian education! We will suffer for such neglect, but we will reap great reward for faithfulness in this task. May the Lord grant us such obedience.