Nikolaus von Amsdorf was born to a noble Saxon family. He studied theology in Leipzig and then was one of the first ever students at the University of Wittenberg. He obtained a master’s degree from there and became a professor.
Eventually becoming his colleague, Martin Luther won him over for the Reformation and they became more than colleagues, they became friends. He accompanied Luther to the Leipzig Debate and the Diet of Worms.
After visiting Magdeburg with Luther in 1524, Luther encouraged Amsdorf to pastor there. He did, and he served there for nearly twenty years. While there, he argued with both those who pushed the radical reformation and those who still believed in the Roman Catholic Church. Because of his sermons and pamphlets, while simply worded, yet profound in argument, he was instrumental in turning the city and surrounding areas into a powerhouse for Lutheran theology. He was also instrumental in the founding of the University of Jena. After Luther died, Amsdorf helped the movement move forward and not be swayed by compromise.