1 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.
2 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.
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.
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!
Stanzas 1-3 of the original text were inspired by Psalm 46; stanza 4 arose directly from Luther's persecution experience. The text expresses trust in God's protection amidst the battle that Christians wage against the devil. "Earthly powers" in stanza four undoubtedly referred to the Roman Catholic authorities of Luther's day, but modern Christians may identity other "powers" that oppose the rule of Christ. The closing line of the text provides much comfort: "God's truth abideth still; his kingdom is forever!"
Bert Polman, Psalter Hymnal Handbook
The Christology of the song, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” is carefully based on the content of the Apostles’ Creed, and the firmness of the convictions here echo the words of Belgic Confession, Article 20, that God gave “his Son to die, by a most perfect love, and [raised] him to life for our justification, in order that by him we might have immortality and eternal life.” “When [his] benefits are made ours, they are more than enough to absolve us of our sins…(Additionally,) the Holy Spirit kindles in our hearts a true faith that embraces Jesus Christ, with all his merits, and makes him its own, and no longer looks for anything apart from him” (Belgic Confession, Article 22).