You are here:Home-Resources-Counsel of Chalcedon Magazine-2003 Issue 2-A Mighty Fortress is Our God: Hymn of Martyrs

A Mighty Fortress is Our God: Hymn of Martyrs

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.

I'm sure you recognize this as the original of A Mighty Fortress is Our God. Martin Luther who wrote the words once said, "the Devil hates music because he cannot stand gaiety," and "Satan can smirk but he cannot laugh; he can sneer but he cannot sing." Because he believed in the power of song the great reformer spent a lot of time compiling a hymn book for use in congregational singing. One writer has said that "Luther translated the Bible into German so God could speak directly to the people; and provided the hymn so that the people could answer God in their songs." Luther is credited with thirty-seven hymns, by far the most popular being, A Mighty Fortress. It was written in 1529 at a time when Luther and his followers were going through a particularly rough patch of opposition; with the Emperor, Charles V, seemingly determined to suppress the new movement.