A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

GodTube Staff A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
"A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" is one of the best-known hymns by the reformer, Martin Luther. This hymn inspires us to find strength in God's love and salvation amid the woes of mortality.

1 A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he, amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
does seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.

2 Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right Man on our side,
the Man of God's own choosing.
You ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth his name,
from age to age the same;
and he must win the battle.

3 And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God has willed
his truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo! his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.

4 That Word above all earthly powers
no thanks to them abideth;
the Spirit and the gifts are ours
through him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
the body they may kill:
God's truth abideth still;
his kingdom is forever! 

Songwriters Martin Luther Published by Public Domain

The Story Behind A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Luther wrote the words and composed the melody sometime between 1527 and 1529.  It has been translated into English at least seventy times and also into many other languages.  The words are a paraphrase of Psalm 46.

"A Mighty Fortress" is one of the best-loved hymns of the Lutheran tradition and among Protestants more generally. It has been called the "Battle Hymn of the Reformation" for the effect it had in increasing the support for the Reformers' cause.   John M. Merriman writes that the hymn "began as a martial song to inspire soldiers against the Ottoman forces" during the Ottoman wars in Europe.

The earliest extant hymnal in which it appears is that of Andrew Rauscher (1531), but it is supposed to have been in Joseph Klug's Wittenberg hymnal of 1529, of which no copy exists. Its title was Der xxxvi. Psalm. Deus noster refugium et virtus.  Before that, it is supposed to have appeared in the Hans Weiss Wittenberg hymnal of 1528, also lost.  This evidence would support it being written in 1527–1529 since Luther's hymns were printed shortly after they were written.


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