Reformation Imagery: The Bible and the Word

Luther preaching to the congregation in Wittenberg. The image is at the bottom of a large altarpiece erected in the church where Luther had preached in 1547. He is preaching the word of the Bible – in Lutheranism the absolute foundation of faith – and the congregation is listening attentively. He stands in the pulpit with one hand on his Bible. With the other he points at Christ crucified appearing before the congregation in the centre of the image. Christ is painted like the other figures, as if he is physically present. It is no longer solely during Holy Communion that Christ is present, but also when the word of the Bible is spoken and the congregation believe the word.