Table Talk

Author: Martin Luther

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He that goes from the Gospel the law, thinking to be saved by good works, falls as uneasily, as he who falls from the true service of God to idolatry; for, without Christ, all is idolatry and fictitious imaginings of God, whether of the Turkish Koran, of the pope’s decrees, or Moses’ laws; if a man think thereby to be justified and saved before God, he is undone.

When a man will serve God, he must not look upon that which he does; not upon the work, but how it ought to be done, and whether God has commanded it or no; seeing, as Samuel says, that ’God hath more pleasure in obedience, than in burnt sacrifice’.

Whoso hearkens not to God’s voice, is an idolater, though he perform the highest and most heavy service of God. ’Tis the very nature of idolatry not to make choice of that which is esteemed easy and light, but of that which is great and heavy, as we see in the friars and monks, who have been constantly devising new worshippings of God; but, forasmuch that God in his Word has not commanded these, they are idolatry, and blasphemy. All these sins, they who are in the function of preaching ought undauntedly and freely to reprove, not regarding men’s high dignities and powers. For the prophets, as we see in Hosea, reproved and threatened not only the house of Israel in general, but also, in particular, the priests, aye, the king himself, and the whole court. They cared not for the great danger that might follow from the magistrate being so openly assailed, or that themselves thereby should fall into displeasure and contempt, and their preaching be esteemed rebellious. They were impelled by the far greater danger, lest by such examples of the higher powers, the subjects also should be seduced into sin.


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Chicago: Martin Luther, "177," Table Talk, trans. William Hazlitt in The Table Talk or Familiar Discourse of Martin Luther (London: D. Bogue, 1848), Original Sources, accessed August 22, 2019,

MLA: Luther, Martin. "177." Table Talk, translted by William Hazlitt, in The Table Talk or Familiar Discourse of Martin Luther, London, D. Bogue, 1848, Original Sources. 22 Aug. 2019.

Harvard: Luther, M, '177' in Table Talk, trans. . cited in 1848, The Table Talk or Familiar Discourse of Martin Luther, D. Bogue, London. Original Sources, retrieved 22 August 2019, from