October (or Month #2) Hymn
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
- 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 pow’r 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 pow’rs, 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.
- Lyricist: Martin Luther
Lyrics Date: 1529
Translator: Frederick H. Hedge (1853)
- Composer: Martin Luther
Music Date: 1529
Tune Name: EIN' FESTE BURG
The "Story Behind the Song"
Martin Luther (1483-1546) was a monk in the Catholic church when he began to see how people around him were being taken advantage of. They couldn't read the truth of the Bible because the Bible hadn't been translated into their language. So, they were deceived into thinking untrue things, such as that giving money to the church would lead God to forgive their sins or gain them a place in heaven.
Luther decided to write out the things that weren't being taught the right way. We now call these the 95 Theses. He had no idea that the day he posted them would be what we now call the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. That date was October 31, 1517.
It was then that Martin began a struggle to help others see the truth. He was forced to leave his church, and when he was in hiding, he began to translate the Bible into his language of German.
Others joined him in the difficult and dangerous journey of helping people understand the truths of the Bible. His hymn "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" became the "battle cry of the reformation." Many were martyred for their beliefs and the words of this hymn encouraged others that God was their helper and He would win the battle.
The poet Samuel Coleridge said that Martin Luther "did as much for the Reformation by his hymns as he did by his translation of the Bible."