Birth: November 10, 1483, Eisleben, Germany
Death: February 18, 1546, Eisleben, Germany
I hope you don't mind if I paste in this description prepared by the staff of Bible Communications, Inc. It is said more perfectly than I could do (and I've had blogger brain freeze for a while now). I found it very interesting so I think you will too. I grew up in the Lutheran Church and we sang this hymn quite often, and have a soft spot for it. It is also one of Steve's favorite hymns.
"On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the door of the Cathedral of Wittenberg, Germany. That date was sometimes called the “4th of July of Protestantism.” It symbolized the start of the Protestant Reformation.
And the single most powerful hymn of the Protestant Reformation Movement was Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” based on Psalm 46. This hymn became the battle cry of the people, a great source of strength and inspiration even for those who were martyred for their convictions. Its majestic and thunderous proclamation of our faith is a singing symbol of the reformation.
This hymn has been translated into practically every known language and is regarded as one of the noblest and most classic examples of Christian hymnody.
The first line of this national hymn of Protestant Germany is fittingly inscribed on the tomb of the great reformer at Wittenberg,
Luther had strong convictions about the use and power of sacred music. Once he wrote, “I would allow no man to preach or teach God’s people without a proper knowledge of the use and power of sacred song.”Here are more excerpts from another site you can visit if you want to read the sheet music or listen to a choir sing it for you.
"Martin Luther was born into a musical family. He loved to sing and became a very good flute player. He became an Augustinian monk and struggled to meet the demands of a holy God. This grew into a torment and it is said that "he fasted until his cheeks caved in." He confessed his sins for hours at a time. But he soon began to see that man could not, even at his best, satisfy the almighty God.
Through his study of the Bible, he found that a person can only be saved through the blood of Jesus Christ; not through the purchase of indulgences, which were widely sold in the Catholic Church of his day. For purposes of discussion, he wrote a paper with ninety-five points and tacked it to the church door at Wittenberg. Those theses enraged the Catholic hierarchy, and thus started the Protestant Reformation.Luther became known in particular for three things: the doctrine of salvation by faith alone, the belief that Scripture should be translated into the people's language, and the birth of congregational singing.
Working with skilled musicians, Luther also created new music for church choirs, organ, and other instruments during his life. "