“God is our Refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
Inspired by these words and the rest of Psalm 46, Martin Luther wrote a hymn that became the battle cry of the people...a great source of strength and hope even for those who were martyred for their convictions.
Born in November, 1483, in Saxony, Germany, Luther was educated at the University of Erfurt and later became an Augustinian monk. He taught philosophy and theology at the University of Wittenberg. His Biblical education and understanding led him to condemn various practices and teachings of the church in that period. History reveals that on October 31, 1517, Luther wrote 95 theses outlining reforms that he believed to be necessary in the church...and nailed them to the door of the Cathedral of Wittenberg, Germany. Martin Luther eventually was excommunicated and what became known as the Protestant Reformation Movement began. One of the important outcomes of this movement was the re-discovery of congregational singing. Quoting Luther’s own words...” I would allow no man to preach or teach God’s people without a proper knowledge of the use and power of sacred song.”
The first line of Luther’s hymn, A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD, was engraved on his tombstone in Wittenberg, Germany when he died in 1546. The hymn was first translated in North American English in 1852.