Luther knew that the languages would be an issue when defining and defending the gospel and the church. He said in 1524 [in “To the Councilmen of all cities in
Although the gospel came and comes to us every day through the Holy Spirit alone, nevertheless it came by means of languages, spread through them, and must also be maintained through them. Thus if the gospel is dear to us, we must pay great attention to the languages in which it comes. For it was not without purpose that God let the scripture be written in two languages alone, the Old Testament in Hebrew and the New in Greek. And let us realize that we shall scarcely be able to maintain the gospel without languages. Languages are the sheaths in which the knife of the Spirit is contained. They are the case in which this jewel is borne. They are the vessel in which the drink is held. In fact, wherever we allow the languages to be neglected, we shall not only lose the gospel, but will also finally come to the point where we can speak or write neither Latin nor German properly.