A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
Words by Martin Luther, 1529
Music by Martin Luther, 15293
Translated from German to English by Frederic H. Hedge, 1853
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 doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
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:
Dost 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.
And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath 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.
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.
3 Contrary to popular belief (and urban legend), the tune for A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (Ein feste Burg) was not taken from a secular drinking song. It is an original composition, attributed to Martin Luther.
This song has been called “the greatest hymn of the greatest man of the greatest period of German history” and the “Battle Hymn of the Reformation.”