Ten of the Best-Known Early English Hymns

by Wayne S. Walker Our English word “hymn” comes from a Greek term (humnos) meaning “a sacred song” and is defined as “a song of praise, adoration, thanksgiving, etc., especially one sung at a religious service.” We often use the term generically to refer to any religious song, but hymnologists make a technical distinction between…

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My Voice

by Chadwick Brewer “Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:19-20). Have you ever wondered why God never asked us to have choirs…

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Worshipful Music

by Robert F. Turner Plain Talk, July 1969 Recuperating from surgery, I lay bedfast, half-hearing the radio. Suddenly I realized that the instrumental number being played was the very old and beautiful hymn, Near To The Heart of God, and that I was brought into a worshipful attitude as I listened. The shocking aspect of…

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I’m unsure about a line in the hymn “Count Your Many Blessings”

Question: I’m unsure about the line: “angels will attend, help and comfort give you to your journey’s end” in the song “Count Your Many Blessings.” Would it be unscriptural to sing that verse if we don’t exactly know how angels are “sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation,”…

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My Friend, A. W. Dicus

by Rick Lanning It was August, 1971. My parents were with me that Sunday morning as we entered the Temple Terrace church building across the street from Florida College. I was entering my freshman year the very next day. I saw my dad start talking to someone he obviously knew from his past. He soon…

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Reflecting on “Hoods in My Hymnal”

by Matthew W. Bassford The other day, Steve Wolfgang sent me a link to this article, “Hoods in My Hymnal.” In it, the author points out that James D. Vaughan, founding father of the Southern gospel genre of hymnody (though not the author of “Love Lifted Me”, despite what the article implies) was a leading…

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Why Do Most Churches of Christ Use Shaped Note Hymnbooks?

by Wayne S. Walker Question: I’m still doing some research as time permits regarding hymnbooks and how certain practices arose among our brethren. I know the history of shape notes well, but not how the system came to be used (and how widely it still is) among our brethren. A couple of questions you may…

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Choirs and Solos

https://www.lavistachurchofchrist.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Choirs-and-Solos.mp3 by Jeffrey W. Hamilton Text: Hebrews 13:12-16   I.         Satan never stops in his relentless pursuit of God’s people to lead them astray – I Peter 5:8-9             A.        In the past, we talked about the introduction of musical instruments into the worship.                         1.         We showed from scripture that the practice was not authorized by God                         2.         We showed…

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How does copyright work with translated songs?

Question: I would like to seek your guidance, brother, regarding the translation of English hymns into another language. Here in the local congregation where I belong, we are working on a project to create a new hymnal (words only) where the text is in a local dialect. All of my work (written or translated) are…

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Hymns and Opportunity Cost

by Matthew W. Bassford As a rule, people have trouble understanding the importance of what they can’t see. We prefer buying a big-screen TV to saving for retirement, so we benefit from ideas that help us to reckon with the unseen. Of these, one of my favorites is the concept of opportunity cost. It comes…

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Am I bad for not liking Christian music?

Question: Greetings My question is concerning music. I am a devoted Christian. I love my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. All I want to do is honor Him and glorify Him. I read and study the bible. I read many good Christian books. I don’t like Christian music. Does this make…

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Worshiping like the Psalms

by Matthew W. Bassford The other day, I saw an article by a professor of Old Testament studies in which he compared the content of the book of Psalms to the content of Top 25 Christian contemporary music. He observed that many of the most prominent themes of the Psalms, like God’s help for the…

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Singing to the Lord

by Michael Hickox via The Sincere Milk of God’s Word “Speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs,…

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Name the Hymn

/20 53 You have 180 seconds (3 minutes) to complete 20 questions. Ah! Times up! Created on December 06, 2021 Name the Hymn The clue will be the first phrase of the first verse of the hymn. Guess the title of the hymn from a multiple-choice list. You won’t necessarily get the same set of…

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Now Thank We All Our God

by Cloyce Sutton II The “Thirty Years’ War” (1618-1648) was a devastating European conflict centered in what’s now Germany. It began as a power struggle between Protestant and Catholic forces within the Holy Roman Empire but spread among various factions throughout Europe, eventually drawing in much of Central Europe, including Spanish, Swedish, French, Dutch, Croatian,…

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Review of Songs for Worship and Praise

by Wayne S. Walker The newest general hymnbook published for use among churches of Christ is Songs for Worship and Praise, edited by Robert J. Taylor Jr., and published in 2010 by Taylor Publications of Montgomery, TX.  Brother Taylor has been active in church music for many years.  I believe that he set the type for…

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Fanny Crosby

by Bob Buchanon If I told you that today would have been the 201st birthday for Frances Jane Crosby van Alstyne (born March 24, 1820), many would ask, “Who is she?” If I told you that I was referring to Fanny Crosby, many would then reflect on their favorite hymn from this amazing writer and…

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Just as I Am

by Doy Moyer Just as I am without one plea, But that Thy blood was shed for me. And that Thou bids’t me come to Thee O Lamb of God, I come. by Charlotte Elliot I have long thought that “Just as I am” is a beautiful, inspiring hymn. While I don’t know that it…

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A Gender-Neutral God in Hymns

by Matthew W. Bassford The other day, I found myself going through some hymns of hope and comfort that a hymn blogger has been posting daily through the coronavirus pandemic. The style (organ plus choir) isn’t my thing; from my perspective, you’ve got a nasty instrument drowning out the good parts. However, the hymns themselves…

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I used your information on hymns. Thanks!

Question: Hello, I was writing an invitation for a Wednesday night service. I was looking up a hymnist and wanted to see if he might be a member of the church. I still don’t know, but I found your writings on lyricists and hymnists in the Lord’s church. I will no doubt go back later and reread…

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Beulah Land

by Paul Springer What is Beulah land and should we sing about it?   The word is used in Isaiah 62:4-5 (NKJV), “You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; nut you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the Lord delights in you, and your…

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Shouldn’t we be skipping some verses in Ten Thousand Angels and Amazing Grace?

Question: In the song “Ten Thousand Angels,” the last words in the fourth verse states: “Salvation’s wondrous plan was done.” In the preceding words, He gave himself to die, followed by Salvation’s wondrous plan was done gives the idea that there was nothing left for Christ to do in order for salvation to be accomplished.…

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The Power of Music

https://www.lavistachurchofchrist.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/2017Fall1ThePowerOfMusic.mp3 by Christopher Scott Wyatt Music’s Influence Musical Experiment on Teens Think about all the different moods, feelings, and even actions that music inspires in us! Music can turn a stressful job or situation into a fun one! Music can turn jesters and revel rousers sober for a time! Think about what music does to…

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How Song Leaders Can Pick Good Hymns

by Matthew W. Bassford via His Excellent Word Over the past month or two, I’ve heard from a few people who were wondering why I was writing so much about good and bad hymns. What’s the take-home? What’s the so-what? I have an extremely strong view of congregational autonomy, so I’m not trying to dictate to…

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Is Zion only the church here on earth?

Question: Can you comment on Zion, Zion, I long thy gates to see. Some say it is not scriptural because Zion is the church in every sense, and never heaven, as it seems in the song. Thanks for your consideration. I wish to be accurate when I sing a song, but I love this song!…

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What does “Till my raptured soul shall find” mean?

Question: In the song, “Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross”, what does “Till my raptured soul shall find” mean? Answer: “In the cross, in the cross, Be my glory ever; Till my raptured soul shall find Rest beyond the river.” “Rapture” is an older English word for “a feeling of intense pleasure or joy.” Therefore,…

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“He Done Good” (Isaac Watts)

by Wayne S. Walker Isaac Watts, who lived in the late 1600s and early 1700s, was a short man. My friend Rob Speer and I occasionally commiserate with each other about the fact that we are both, well, shall we say, somewhat vertically challenged. But Isaac was really small — less than five feet tall;…

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Is it wrong for a child to correct his parents?

Question: Hi. Your website has been very helpful and I hope that you keep it up. Thank you for putting all the time into it as well. I am a 16-year-old male (I am saying this so you understand how I am thinking) and of late I have been taking Christianity much more seriously. As…

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Why are some churches using “bassing” in their worship?

Question: What is your opinion on one song leader bassing into the microphone (or beatboxing as I call it) while the other lead songs? It seems like a lot of our churches of Christ are starting to feel comfortable with this practice. I thought sing means singing. And if we are all supposed to be singing…

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Thanks for posting information on the history of the hymnbook

Question: I was looking up hymn book resources on the Internet and found the La Vista church’s page for hymn book history. Thanks for putting the page up there. Answer: I’m glad you found the material useful. There are several articles filed under “Music” on the history of the hymns we sing.

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More questions about Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs

Question: Just curious regarding Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs: what are your thoughts on the genre that many of the new “brethren hymns” are written in? That’s a big chunk of the “other 300”, maybe pushing 1/3 of it by a wild guess? For my own edification, and I take a lot of interest in hymnody,…

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What do you think of Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, Praise for the Lord, and Songs for Worship & Praise?

Question: I read your excellent review of the Jeffcoat Sacred Songs of the Church songbook. Our congregation is considering changing books and we are considering several of the more traditionally focused books. Have you had the opportunity to review and consider the Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs by Sumphonia? We are also considering the Praise for the Lord and Songs for Worship…

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Should pitch pipes be used before a song?

Question: I have a very hard time worshiping in song after someone uses a pitch pipe. I have discussed it with brethren in our congregation. Some agree they don’t like it either. If we visit other places for gospel meetings, it’s to me like fingernails on a chalkboard. I heard a few sermons that try…

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Does God care about all the surgeries I’m going through?

Question: I was an evangelical Christian over five years ago. I am still a believer. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs or anything like that. I don’t have a girlfriend. I stopped going to church about two years ago. It was because I had surgery (Palatal Expansion). I was born with…

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Should some songs not be sung?

Question: I read your review of Jeffcoat’s songbook and have some questions about certain songs in general. What are your thoughts on the following songs: My God and I Jesus hold my hand I come to the garden There’s a royal banner (vs. 3 from Praise for the Lord). These are songs I struggle with.  The first…

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