Martin became educated early and was an extremely intelligent young man. He went to schools in Mansfield, Magdeburg, and Eisenach. After one year at the University of Erfurt, he had completed his Bachelor’s degree in 1502 at the young age of eighteen. Just three years later in 1505, Martin Luther finished his Master’s degree and was enrolled in law school.
A very rare experience caused Luther to change his mind about law school. Martin was on his way back to school in July of 1505 when he got caught in a terrible thunderstorm. When a bolt of lightning struck very close to him, he fell down on the ground and screamed, “Help, St. Anne! I’ll become a monk!” Martin was true to his prayer and on July 17th he went into the Augustinian Monastery in Erfurt. 2
Luther was very dedicated to being in the monastery. As he started to fixate on God and himself, his quest for assurance was slowly but surely finally becoming more and more attainable. After transferring from the monastery in Erfurt to the monastery in Wittenberg, he began teaching biblical theology at the University of Wittenberg in 1511. 2 Martin taught that “Salvation is a gift of God’s grace, received by faith and trust in God’s promise to forgive sins for the sake of Christ’s death on the cross.” In his teachings, Luther began to realize how much attaining this assurance meant to him. In doing so, he finally found his assurance that he had struggled to find earlier on in life.
Martin wrote theses harshly criticizing the church’s indulgences and accusing them of heresy. On October 31st, 1517, he nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg. 2 It is said that he did this to counteract the selling of indulgences by Johann Tetzel. Shortly thereafter, Luther’s 95 Theses were being published all across Europe. One copy had actually been sent to the Archbishop of Mainz. Cardinals in Rome looked at this as an attack on the papal authority. 2
Even after all of this, Luther kept right on with his lectures and debates about indulgences of the church throughout 1519. The Pope finally had enough of Luther’s teachings and he had a hearing to see if he was going to be excommunicated. 2 In this hearing Luther went on to say he’s sorry about how harsh some of his teachings were, but he could simply not reject them. He had stated, “Unless I am convinced by proofs from Scriptures or by plain and clear reasons and arguments, I can and will not retract, for it is neither safe nor wise to do anything against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.” Because of this, in January 1521 Martin Luther was excommunicated. A few months later in May, Luther still had refused to renounce his views and was placed on an Imperial Ban. Since he was a condemned man, Luther hid himself away in the Wartburg Castle, returned to Wittenberg, and kept on teaching. And finally by 1524 Martin left the monastery completely. 2
After years in the church, Martin married a young woman by the name of Katharine von Bora. Katharine became a nun at the age of 16, in 1515. A few years later she left the convent and came to Wittenberg. In 1525, her and Martin Luther married. They eventually had six children and Martin doted on all of them. At one point there were more than just Martin, Katharine, and the six…