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  • Writer's pictureDr. Roger D Duke


“A Mighty Fortress is Our God”


Dr. Martin Luther

This hymn captures the essence of the Old Testament Book of Psalms Chapter 46. Psalms was the Hebrew (Israelite) song book for worship. Some scholars even believe most, if not

all, the Psalms were set to music and sung liturgically at one time or another.

The text of Psalm 46:

God the Refuge of His People and Conqueror of the Nations

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. A Song for Alamoth.

1 God is our refuge and strength,

A very present help in trouble.

2 Therefore we will not fear,

Even though the earth be removed,

And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

3 Though its waters roar and be troubled,

Though the mountains shake with its swelling.

Selah [Pause and Meditate on That]

4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,

The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.

5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;

God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.

6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;

He uttered His voice, the earth melted.

7 The Lord of hosts is with us;

The God of Jacob is our refuge.

Selah [Pause and Meditate on That]

8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,

Who has made desolations in the earth

9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;

He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;

He burns the chariot in the fire.

10 Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!

11 The Lord of hosts is with us;

The God of Jacob is our refuge.

Selah [Pause and Meditate on That]

The Holy Bible, New King James Version, Copyright © 1982 Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.


‘“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] There is no agreement by hymnologists as to when in Luther’s life it was written. The hymn has been referred to as to as “the battle hymn of the Reformation.”[2]

It demonstrates how Luther battled most of his adult life. How Luther, or anyone could flee to the fortress of whom God could be their refuge. He had a desperate time trying to find peace for his soul in the Roman Church—but could not! But he did find the peace that the Gospel brings. He stood and wrote against the church and Her prostitution of the Gospel, after his amazing encounter with God. This happened when “the gates of paradise were opened” to him and he experienced true soul-salvation in Jesus Christ alone.

The rest of his life was embroiled “in a sense of heightened spiritual conflict, the presence of a life-or-death battle, the reality of living in danger even to the point of possible martyrdom, and a sense of confidence that springs from the conviction of belonging to God’s cause.”[3] This produced “A certain all-or-nothing vigor energize[ing of] the poem [and hymn] from start to finish.”[4]

So, read it, meditate on it, sing it; all while remembering that “A Mighty Fortress is Our God!”

Verse One:

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.

Verse Two:

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.

Verse 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.

Verse 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!

[1] Quoted from God Tube blog article “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” retrieved September 2, 2020, [2] Leland Ryken, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” in 40 Favorite Hymns on the Christian Faith: A Closer Look at Their Spiritual and Poetical Meaning (Phillipsburg: P & R Publishing, 2019), 88-91.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

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