Hymn-Theology – Thou My Great Father

Thou my great Father, and I thy true son, Thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.” ~  English Methodist version, 1964, “Be Thou My Vision

Sometimes we forget that becoming a Christian is more than acknowledging the existence of God or believing that Jesus is our Savior.

“Thou my great Father”

When we become a Christian we become part of a family.

So many struggle with loneliness. Will a husband solve that? Will a child cure that longing? To whom do we belong? God puts the lonely in families.

A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.
God sets the solitary in families;
He brings out those who are bound into prosperity;
But the rebellious dwell in a dry land.” Psalm 68:5-6

This is one of the benefits of the church life. We come together, worship together, serve together, learn together. We pray together, counsel one another, and speak to each other in psalms and hymns. We lift one another up.

“speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” Ephesians 5:19

“Thou in me dwelling”

He dwells in us – Christ in us, the hope of glory (Col 1:27).

We are one with him and He with us. Just as Jesus prayed,

“And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” John 17:22-23

When we are one with Him, we are one with each other. We have a Great Father. We have sonship! There is so much to encourage us just in these two lines.

For Thought & Discussion:

  • What are your thoughts about this stanza?
  • Can you think of any other hymns or songs with similar themes?
  • See also:
  • Are there any other verses that back up this hymn theologically?
  • Have you used this song lately?  Have you explained it?

All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Hymn-Theology – Whatever My Lot


“Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

It Is Well with My Soul by Horatio Spafford and Philip Bliss.

Ah, the emotional power and connection of Hymns. The story of hardship, heartache, and loss is sure to break your heart. Was he the only one to suffer? No. But he didn’t blame God.

Joseph, Job, even Jesus all suffered without cause.

How many people have you known who, after adversity, say,

“I tried prayer; it didn’t work.”

I believe part of the universal love and appeal of this hymn is that we all do suffer. Christianity isn’t a “get out of jail free” card. It doesn’t exempt us from the sufferings of the world. In fact, Jesus tells us that there will be tribulation in this world, but in Him we have peace.

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Continue reading Hymn-Theology – Whatever My Lot

Hymn-Theology: I Once Was Lost, But Now I’m Found


“I once was lost but now I’m found.

Was blind, but now I see.”

“Amazing Grace”

John Newton  (1779)

I first heard an a capella version of “Amazing Grace” by Meryl Streep at the end of the movie Silkwood (1983). I fell in love with it. I don’t know why.  I imagine the lyrics touched my soul in a way I couldn’t yet understand, not having converted to Christianity; besides which I was just a child.

I’m not sure why I waited this long to cover this song in the Hymn-Theology series, perhaps because the lyrics resonate with my testimony.  2013 marks my twenty-first year as a Christian and it is hard to believe that God has brought me so far from what was my statistical fate. Continue reading Hymn-Theology: I Once Was Lost, But Now I’m Found

Hymn-Theology: Heir of Salvation, Purchase of God

Hymn Theology Square

Heir of Salvation, Purchase of God, Born of His Spirit, Washed in His Blood

“Blessed Assurance”

Fanny J. Crosby 1873 | Music by Phoebe P. Knapp.

Yes. Familiar tunes have a way of masking from our cognitive state the lyrics that contain the majority of the power of any well-known Christian song.

Blessed Assurance is both widely known and widely sung. Many people would hum the tune and, perhaps, recite the lyrics.

But mixing the word with faith, so to speak, is the job of the worship leader.  We are to sing these songs as if it were our very cry, our earnest prayer to God while inviting you to do the same.  We have to involve our emotions and our minds when we worship (Matthew 22:37).

Heir of Salvation

Our inheritance is a pretty amazing gift.  Salvation, and all that it entails, has been given to us. We didn’t earn it. This is mostly what separates us from other religions. We didn’t have a right to it. A right implies that we earned something. No, salvation is a gift. He adopted us so that we could be His heir. This is more than just mercy, it’s grace. Continue reading Hymn-Theology: Heir of Salvation, Purchase of God

Hymn-Theology Christmas Edition: Mercy Calls You, Break Your Chains

Sinners, wrung with true repentance,
Doomed for guilt to endless pains,
Justice now revokes the sentence,
Mercy calls you, break your chains

“Angels from The Realms of Glory” by James Montgomery (Music by Henry T. Smart)

This may be one of the most underwhelming (and underrated) Christmas hymns. I’ve heard it for years but the lyrics never grabbed me like they did last year. The second half of this stanza is so powerful:

Justice now revokes the sentence. Mercy calls you, break your chains.

Fairness. Justice. We often cry out for these valiant, noble causes. In fact, God calls us to “do justly and to love mercy” in Micah 6:8. Yet, what do we want for ourselves? Do we want justice? Do we want God to treat us fairly? Continue reading Hymn-Theology Christmas Edition: Mercy Calls You, Break Your Chains

Hymn-Theology – When I In Awesome Wonder

O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder

Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made.

I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,

Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

How Great Thou Art –  Carl Gustav Boberg 1885 (English: Stuart K. Hine)

Awesome.  The word has been used to talk about hamburgers and The Grand Canyon. Yet, there is no comparison between the awe the comes upon you when you consider and experience God’s creation and when you eat a hamburger. (Sorry In-N-Out.)

It’s amazing to consider how perfect our world, though fallen, truly is.  When I see nature programs and they talk about how our world is exactly in the right spot in our galaxy to sustain life, I am in awe.  When I stepped out of the car at The Grand Canyon, I was in awe.   When I stood next to General Sherman in the Sequoia National Park, saw the clarity and depth of the water at Crater Lake, gazed upon Half Dome, I was in awe. Continue reading Hymn-Theology – When I In Awesome Wonder

Hymn-Theology: And Were the Skies of Parchment Made


“Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made; were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry; nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky.”
“The Love of God” ~ Frederick M. Lehman 1917

This hymn is as moving to me now as the first time I heard it some fifteen years ago.

The writer posits a theory that unlimited resources are insufficient to describe God’s love. What the Love of God is to us, how it changes our lives, and how it sustains our very being, is almost indescribable.

Romans 5:5 tells us that the hope we have will not disappoint us because of God’s love which has already been poured out upon us. We have peace, justification, faith, perseverance, character, and hope because of His love. Continue reading Hymn-Theology: And Were the Skies of Parchment Made