Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland Bainton

Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther
Roland H. Bainton
Published 1955

This was a reread for me. I like this biography about Martin Luther because the author, Roland Bainton, used perfectly plain language in a coherent, sequential format. 

Luther was one of the most unyielding workers of the Christian faith. Because Bainton was honest about Luther's emotional and psychological struggles, his sinful weaknesses, and health complications, this biography caused me to truly appreciate all Luther sacrificed, risked, and ultimately contributed to the Reformation and Christianity. 

Luther Nails 95 Thesis or Disputations
on the Power of Indulgences  ~ 

Imagine! This one man changed the Church because he dared to speak out against what he understood to be abuses of the Roman Church. He had to have known what happened to those before him when they spoke against the same Church. But he only thought about correcting a wrong, almost as if the offenders were not aware of their offense. And to think, he got these notions in his head because he read the Scriptures. Because Luther was a professor of the Word, he had to read the Scriptures to teach it; and it was then that his eyes were opened.

It's amazing what reading the Bible can do.

Imagine, also! This one man caused a political and social domino effect throughout Europe, and eventually the entire world. This book does not focus on the time past Luther's death, but I just had to add that bit because I think it would amaze Luther to see what he did beyond religion. He changed society completely.

Luther at the Diet of Worms ~ Werner, 1877

Continuing on, this book covered Luther's entire life, from birth, 1483, to death, 1546. Everything in between is described in perfect detail, including the beginnings of the new reformed church, or Protestant Church -- meaning, a turning back to the ways of the early Church. Luther never expected or imagined he would need to reform the Christian church, but followers looked to him, and hence, he needed to research, problem solve, and form a model for the future. 

Some of the new ideas from Luther included more music and singing, which eventually changed the secular world of music; and since music was written only for the church, which was absolutely restrictive, Luther caused classical music as we know it! (OK, I added that last part. But I think one can see the connection.)

Luther married, Katharina Von Bora, an ex-nun. Bainton also wrote considerably about her life and influences, which caused me to understand what an amazing woman she was. She had to put up with Luther's troubles, and he loved her very much for her patience and goodness. Together, they give Christians a delightful picture of God's design for marriage. 

Bainton included evidence for Luther's personality, much of it sarcastic and humorous, although he could be grouchy and short-fused. Nonetheless, he loved his wife and children dearly, and set a perfect example for a godly husband and father in the home. He was a hard worker and he cared so much for the souls of others, working to educate and inform people the truth of the gospel. 

Martin Luther, Katarina von Bora and children

Side bar: Three years ago, while reading about Luther with my children, we learned that he and Katarina had six children. I have five kids, and my fourth, who was 8-years old at the time, exclaimed, "Wow! You should be glad you were not his wife!"

The stuff that comes out of that kid's mouth!

Should you read this book?

If you like Christian biographies, Christian history, or you don't mind the Christian part, but appreciate history and biographies, or anything about people who have had a major impact on the world, and if you are a fan of Roland Bainton, then this would be a good book for you.

I would read this again, but I think I'm going to look at other books written by Roland Bainton.


  1. It sounds an interesting biography, and I like what you comment about the author. Very interesting.

    1. It's a super easy read for anyone looking to learn more about the Reformer. He was an intriguing man, full of the desire for truth.

  2. I recently read a middle-grade book about Martin Luther and I was fascinated to read about his life. He was an interesting paradox of following church rules and breaking them, but trying to do these things for the right reasons.

    1. He was so burdened by his own inability to be perfect, but once he broke free of that, he truly was a different man -- though he still suffered from his physical ailments.

  3. Hello,
    I've not read this particular book, but I've read others. Luther was an intriguing and brave man. I saw the 10 part documentary on Luther's life by Dr. R.C. Sproul - It was free on Amazon Prime. It was very in-depth and I learned so much about him in this series. Have a great week!

    1. I'll look for it...is it video or book?

      Another book I want to read about Luther is by Eric Metaxas. Have you heard of this author? He is really awesome! He wrote Bonhoeffer, Amazing Grace (about William Wilberforce), and If You Can Keep It. He is an excellent conservative and Christian writer and speaker. (I'm gushing.) Check him out, if you've not heard of him.

  4. I read a biography of Luther, but the author was a little too fawning, although I think it may have been the style (written in the 19th century) that I found off putting. I did not read Metaxas' biography, except what he included in Seven Great Men. Bonhoeffer is one of the best biographies I've ever read.

    Do you watch Metaxas on youtube? There's some really good interviews between him and other people.

    1. I just finished watching the speech he gave (on Bonhoeffer) at Harvest (in Anaheim), which I thought was wonderful. And I think I saved a couple of interviews he gave recently, but I haven't watched them, yet. I may have even watched a video in which he shared his testimony, but I may be mistaken. He is a enjoyable speaker.

      So to answer your question, I don't regularly watch him on Youtube, but I have caught videos of him here and there. I should make a regular practice of it.

  5. It's a video of R.C. Sproul giving the lectures from his church. And yes, I've heard and read Metaxas. He's a great writer, even his children's books are awesome. I loved Bonhoeffer.

    1. Convenient! I'll look for it bc I'd like to listen to it while I'm at the gym. That's where I catch up on all of my "audio/video" stuff that I never get to do when I'm at home and surrounded by a bunch of people called children. :D