I am persuaded that without knowledge of literature pure theology cannot at all endure, just as heretofore, when letters [literature] have declined and lain prostrate, theology too, has wretchedly fallen and lain prostrate; nay, I see that there has never been a great revelation of the Word of God unless he has first prepared the way by the rise and prosperity of languages and letters, as though they were John the Baptists. . . . Certainly it is my desire that there shall be as many poets and rhetoricians as possible, because I see that by these studies, as by no other means, people are wonderfully fitted for the grasping of sacred truth and for handling it skillfully and happily.Martin Luther, Letter to Eoban Hess, 29 March 1523. Werke, Weimar edition, Luthers Briefwechsel, III, 50.
Cited in Leland Ryken, "The Bible as Literature and Expository Preaching," in Preach the Word, ed. Ryken and Wilson, p. 38.
HT: Reformed Reader