God Is Our Fortress and Our Rock

Full Text

1 God is our fortress and our rock,
our mighty help in danger;
he shields us from the battle's shock
and thwarts the devil's anger;
for still the prince of night
prolongs evil's fight;
he uses all skill
to work his wicked will;
no earthly force is like him.

2 Our hope is fixed on Christ alone,
the Man of God's own choosing;
without him nothing can be won
and fighting must be losing;
so let the powers accursed
come try do their worst;
Christ Jesus shall ride
to battle at our side,
and he shall have the victory.

3 The word of God will not be slow
while demon hordes surround us,
though evil strike its cruelest blow
and death and hell confound us:
for though we meet distress,
lose all we possess;
those planning our ill
may ravage, wreck, or kill;
God's kingdom is immortal!

Author: Martin Luther

Luther, Martin, born at Eisleben, Nov. 10, 1483; entered the University of Erfurt, 1501 (B.A. 1502, M.A.. 1503); became an Augustinian monk, 1505; ordained priest, 1507; appointed Professor at the University of Wittenberg, 1508, and in 1512 D.D.; published his 95 Theses, 1517; and burnt the Papal Bull which had condemned them, 1520; attended the Diet of Worms, 1521; translated the Bible into German, 1521-34; and died at Eisleben, Feb. 18, 1546. The details of his life and of his work as a reformer are accessible to English readers in a great variety of forms. Luther had a huge influence on German hymnody. i. Hymn Books. 1. Ellich cristlich lider Lobgesang un Psalm. Wittenberg, 1524. [Hamburg Library.] This contains 8 German h… Go to person page >

Translator: Michael A. Perry

(no biographical information available about Michael A. Perry.) Go to person page >

Notes

Scripture References:
all st. = Ps. 46

Martin Luther (PHH 336) wrote both the tune and the original German text ("Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott"), which was inspired by Psalm 46. The chorale is known to have been published in the 1529 edition of Joseph Klug's (PHH 126) Geistliche Lieder although no copy is extant. It also appeared in both High and Low German versions in various Lutheran hymnals. Just as Genevan Psalm 68 has had great significance for many Calvinists, this hymn, which became "the battle hymn" of the Reformation, has been immensely important to Lutherans and other Protestants.

With the help of Annamarie von Rad, Michael A. Perry (PHH 299) translated the four-stanza German text into three stanzas at Eversley, Hampshire, England, in 1981. His translation was published in the British Hymns for Today’s Church (1982). Perry captures well the strong battle images that Luther's text magnified from Psalm 46: as we fight against the powers of hell, our hope is fixed on Christ whose "kingdom is immortal!" (A different translation is at 469.)

Liturgical Use:
Many occasions of worship throughout the church year, but especially Reformation Sunday, Old/New Year services, and times when the church faces persecution or spiritual battles.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune

EIN FESTE BURG

The original rhythms of EIN FESTE BURG (see 469) had already reached their familiar isorhythmic (all equal rhythms) shape by the time of Johann S. Bach (PHH 7) in the eighteenth century. The harmonization is taken from his Cantata 80. Many organ and choral works are based on this chorale, including…

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Timeline

Instances

Instances (1 - 10 of 10)Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #668
Common Praise (1998) #526Page Scan
Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #523
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #468Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreAudioPage Scan
Sing Glory: Hymns, Psalms and Songs for a New Century #637
The Covenant Hymnal: a worshipbook #797
Worship (4th ed.) #619
Worship (4th ed.) #620
Worship: a hymnal and service book for Roman Catholics (3rd ed.) #575Page Scan
Worship: a hymnal and service book for Roman Catholics (3rd ed.) #576Page Scan



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