A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Biblical Authority Devotional: Hymns of Praise, Part 2

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Chuck McKnight, AiG–U.S., shares insights from one of Martin Luther’s beloved hymns.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. (Psalm 46:1–2)

Martin Luther is perhaps best known for his role in the Protestant Reformation. His publication of the Ninety-Five Theses was a major catalyst for the split from Rome. He exposed corruption in the papal system and helped bring the church back to reliance on God’s Word.

Luther was also a prolific hymnist. Many of his songs are still sung around the world, but undoubtedly his best-known hymn is “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” Originally written in German, it has had several translations into English; the version presented here was done by Frederick H. Hedge.

The four verses form a single continuous whole that progressively tells of the Christian walk through this world. The song declares our absolute reliance on God and His absolute power over the forces of darkness. “A Mighty Fortress” became a rallying cry for the Reformation, and it is still a source of comfort for believers today.

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 tho this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph thru 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 thru 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.

Today’s big idea: Christ is on our side, and He will win the battle!

What to pray: thank God for the victory He has won.


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