For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Commentary on Genesis

by Luther, Martin (1958)


This first chapter of our Holy Bible is written in the simplest and plainest language, and yet it contains the greatest and at the same time the most difficult themes. Therefore the Jews, as Jerome testifies, were forbidden to read it or hear it read before they were thirty years of age …

Key Passage

V. 19a. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread. With what variety of expression and repetition does Moses dwell on this labor and trouble, when he is declaring the manner in which the husband must labor and toil in feeding his family, defending his property and governing his house! And all these toils and troubles are far more difficult in our age on account of the perverseness of men, than they were "in the beginning." For we universally witness, even where the expectation of food is certain, with what difficulty a family are kept to their duty. Nor was Adam himself without his experience of this great evil. For even while he was ruling his family with all possible holiness, he witnessed murder committed by his son Cain. I say nothing now about all other sorrows which a long life compels a man to see and bear in his posterity. This anxiety and toil therefore await the husband. He must endure this labor, which is neither pleasant nor successful. Nor ought any one to be found who does not endure this sweat. Hence, much more perilous is the life of the Papists; all of whom abuse their wealth, obtained by the labor of others, to their own gratifications and indolence. (p.168)


Reformation, Protestantism, Theology, History, History Of Ideas, Religious Views On Work


Luther, Protestantism, Religious Views on Work

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