Experience The Book That Shapes History

Day 4 of 11 • This day’s reading


The 95 Theses

The very first of the Ninety-Five Theses stated, “Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite, willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.” This Latin phrase, poenitentiam agite, is from the Latin Vulgate version of Matthew 4:17, which is translated as “do penance.” In the Ninety-Five Thesis, Luther claims that his phrase actually means “repent,” rather than “do penance.” This sentence was a subtle challenge to the church’s authority to interpret the Bible and the church’s view on the sacrament of penance. The very first theses signaled a seemingly small, but impactful, challenge to the Catholic Church.