Romans 1:17 helped launch the Protestant Reformation, which gave birth to all of the Protestant churches around the world.
“In the Good News, we can see the goodness of God, as he welcomes people of faith. Remember what our Bible says: good people will live because of their faith” (Romans 1:17 Casual English Bible).
What is it about this particular verse that you think might have made a Roman Catholic monk like Martin Luther come to believe that people don’t even have to be affiliated with the church to please God?
Notes from the footnotes in the Casual English Bible: “Paul is paraphrasing Habakkuk 2:4. Bible experts debate what Paul meant by this cryptic phrase. German scholar Martin Luther (1483-1546), a Roman Catholic monk, eventually got himself excommunicated from the church partly because of what he read into this phrase. He saw an idea that inspired a Christian protest movement that became known as the Protestant Reformation. Luther, the father of Protestant churches, said Paul seemed to be teaching that we are saved through our faith, not through obeying religious laws or by observing rituals, such as confessing sins to a priest or taking communion in a church service. Another way some read the phrase: Good (righteous) people show their faith by the way they live. Another: Good people will live because of God’s faithfulness—meaning that we can trust God to save us as he promised to do.”
Just as Martin Luther made his case against church rules, Paul made his case against Jewish rules. He reminded the Jews of his day that Abraham, the father of the Jews, got a huge thumbs-up from God several centuries before Moses delivered the Jewish rules to the people. “Come on, people, think about Abraham. “The LORD saw Abram’s extraordinary faith. Because of Abram’s faith, the LORD recognized him as a man after his own heart—a good and right-hearted soul… So, this much is clear: No one gets on the good side of God by obeying the Jewish law. ‘People who are right with God put their faith in him’” (Galatians 3:6, 11).