What Does VDMA Mean?

I saw "VDMA" on a Lutheran mug recently and had no idea what it meant.

So, this brief entry is for you Lutherans who have been curious about these four letters just like I was.



VDMA, standing for the Latin motto Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum. This symbol was inscribed on swords, cannons and armor used by the Smalcaldic League which was formed to be a mutual defense organization, against the Catholic princes trying to overthrow the Reformation in the various territories of Germany that had embraced it.

The Word of the Lord Endures Forever
is the motto of the Lutheran Reformation, a confident expression of the enduring power and authority of God’s Word. The motto is based on Isaiah 40:6-8 quoted by 1 Peter 1:24-25. It first appeared in the court of Frederick the Wise in 1522. He had it sewn onto the right sleeve of the court’s official clothing, which was worn by prince and servant alike. It was used by Frederick’s successors, his brother John the Steadfast, and his nephew John Frederick the Magnanimous. It became the official motto of the Smalcaldic League and was used on flags, banners, swords, and uniforms as a symbol of the unity of the Lutheran laity who struggled to defend their beliefs, communities, families and lives against those who were intent on destroying them.*


*From Concordia The Lutheran Confessions, by Concordia Publishing House. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

“The Word of the Lord Endures Forever.”


This “is the motto of the Lutheran Reformation, a confident expression of the enduring power and authority of God’s Word. The motto is based on 1 Peter 1:24-25.” (Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, 2).

Of course, this resonates with the truth found elsewhere in the holy Scriptures.


Luke 21:33 (ESV) 33Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

I hope that helps to finally put to rest the mystery surrounding these four seemingly random letters that tend to show up in Lutheran circles.

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