"Unity without verity is no better than conspiracy." - John Trapp

Sunday, October 22, 2006

More Favorite Hymns - A Mighty Fortress

This hymn was written by Martin Luther (like you didn't already know that) and translated by Fredric H Hedge. There is an alternate translation at Cyberhymnal as well. It is from the last stanza that David Well's got the title for his last book, Above All Earthly Pow'rs (note even the shortened use of powers).

A Mighty Fortress

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.

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:
Dost 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.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath 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.

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.


Blogger Even So... said...

(I need a laugh right now)

The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him

Considering this and the fact that we are made in God's image, I have a question:

Does this mean I have powers?

That's what they told me I could expect to get for my 44.95 at the Super Apostolic Prophetic Loosed Finances Conference (not real name, real advert though), you know, the Issachar anointing...

(/need a laugh)

7:59 PM EDT  
Blogger Taliesin said...

Wow, the annointing price has dropped (or else that's a pretty cheap one). :) /sarcasm

I've never heard of the Issachar anointing. But I hear you on the laugh. Which is why I point you here. Luther "wrote" this hymn by living it out.

10:09 PM EDT  
Blogger Even So... said...


12:16 AM EDT  
Anonymous John Dekker said...

I can't believe CH doesn't have Thomas Carlyle's translation! That's the Presbyterian one. :)

A safe stronghold our God is still,
a trusty shield and weapon;
he'll keep us clear from all the ill
that hath us now o'ertaken.
The ancient prince of hell
hath risen with purpose fell;
strong mail of craft and power
he weareth in this hour;
on earth is not his fellow.

With force of arms we nothing can,
full soon were we down-ridden;
but for us fights the proper Man,
whom God himself hath bidden.
Ask ye, who is this same?
Christ Jesus is his name,
the Lord Sabaoth's Son;
he, and no other one,
shall conquer in the battle.

And were this world all devils o'er,
and watching to devour us,
we lay it not to heart so sore;
nor they can overpower us.
And let the prince of ill
look grim as e'er he will,
he harms us not a whit;
for why?--his doom is writ;
a word shall quickly slay him.

God's word, for all their craft and force,
one moment will not linger,
but, spite of hell, shall have its course;
'tis written by his finger.
And though they take our life,
goods, honor, children, wife,
yet is their profit small;
these things shall vanish all:
the City of God remaineth!

3:25 AM EDT  
Blogger Taliesin said...


I've often wondered with some of these translated hymns how close the translations are to the original. With "poetry" (or song lyrics) translators often feel more free in translating.

The three translations of this hymn are not significantly different in meaning, although there are a couple of places where it might be interesting to know what Luther's original German actually meant.

9:41 PM EDT  

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