I have heard people say that the language of the hymns from centuries past is too antiquated for a modern audience, but that wasn’t the case for me.
Even as an unbelieving nineteen-year-old who had been invited to attend church by a friend, the words of Charles Wesley profoundly impacted me the very first time I heard them,
“And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Savior’s blood? Died he for me who caused his pain, for me who him to death pursued? Amazing love, how can it be that thou my God should’st die for me?”
That first experience with hearing and singing Charles Wesley sparked a life-long love for hymnody.
Even before God saved me, He used hymns to strike awe and wonder into my heart as I pondered this God to whom the congregation sang so passionately. I was drawn by their scriptural truths and taught by them. And hymnody profoundly impacted the way I understood God.
However, after the Lord saved me, I began to notice that many who attend broadly evangelical churches are not familiar with much of hymnody. So, I decided to put together a list of 25 of the best classic hymns that the church doesn’t sing much anymore but should. My prayer is that these will bless your soul as much as they have mine.**
25 Classic Hymns the Church Should Rediscover
1. “The Ninety And Nine” by Elizabeth Cecilia Clephane (1868)
There were ninety and nine that safely lay / In the shelter of the fold / But one was out on the hills away / Far off from the gates of gold / Away on the mountains wild and bare / Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.
2. “Jesus Lover Of My Soul” by Charles Wesley (1740)
Jesus, lover of my soul / Let me to Thy bosom fly / While the nearer waters roll / While the tempest still is high / Hide me, O my Savior, hide / Till the storm of life is past / Safe into the haven guide / Oh, receive my soul at last.
3. “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah” by William Williams (1745)
Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah / Pilgrim through this barren land / I am weak, but Thou art mighty / Hold me with Thy pow’rful hand / Bread of heaven, Bread of heaven / Feed me till I want no more / Feed me till I want no more.
4. “Arise, My Soul, Arise” by Charles Wesley (1742)
Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears / The bleeding Sacrifice in my behalf appears / Before the throne my surety stands / Before the throne my surety stands / My name is written on His hands.
5. “Revive Us Again” by W. P. Mackay (1867)
We praise Thee, O God! / For the Son of Thy love / For Jesus Who died / And is now gone above
Refrain: Hallelujah! Thine the glory / Hallelujah! Amen / Hallelujah! Thine the glory / Revive us again.
6. “Deeper And Deeper” by Oswald J. Smith (1915)
Into the heart of Jesus / Deeper and deeper I go / Seeking to know the reason / Why He should love me so / Why He should stoop to lift me / Up from the miry clay / Saving my soul, making me whole / Though I had wandered away.
7. “Praise, My Soul The King Of Heaven” by Henry Francis Lyte
Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven / To His feet thy tribute bring / Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven / Evermore His praises sing / Praise Him, praise Him, alleluia! / Praise the everlasting King.
8. “Jesus Is All The World To Me” by Will Thompson (1904)
Jesus is all the world to me / My life, my joy, my all / He is my strength from day to day / Without Him I would fall / When I am sad, to Him I go / No other one can cheer me so / When I am sad, He makes me glad/ He’s my Friend.
9. “Jesus, Keep Me Near The Cross” by Fanny Crosby (1869)
Jesus, keep me near the cross / There a precious fountain / Free to all, a healing stream / Flows from Calv’ry’s mountain
Refrain: In the cross, in the cross / Be my glory ever / Till my raptured soul shall find / Rest beyond the river.
10. “I Know Whom I Have Believed” by Daniel W. Whittle (1883)
I know not why God’s wondrous grace / To me He hath made known / Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love / Redeemed me for His own.
Refrain: But “I know Whom I have believed / And am persuaded that He is able / To keep that which I’ve committed / Unto Him against that day.
11. “Eternal Father Strong To Save” by William Whiting (1860)
Eternal Father, strong to save / Whose arm doth bind the restless wave / Who bid’st the mighty ocean deep / Its own appointed limits keep / Oh hear us when we cry to Thee / For those in peril on the sea.
12. “Alas And Did My Saviour Bleed” by Isaac Watts (1707)
Alas! and did my Savior bleed / And did my Sov’reign die? / Would He devote that sacred head / For such a worm as I?
Refrain: At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light / And the burden of my heart rolled away / It was there by faith I received my sight / And now I am happy all the day!
13. “Wonderful Words Of Life” by P. P. Bliss (1874)
Sing them over again to me / Wonderful words of life / Let me more of their beauty see / Wonderful words of life / Words of life and beauty / Teach me faith and duty.
14. “O’ Sacred Head Sore Wounded” by Bernard Of Clairvaux
O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down / Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown / O sacred Head, what glory, what bliss till now was Thine! Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call Thee mine.
15. “Hold The Fort” by P. P. Bliss (1870)
Ho, my comrades, see the signal, waving in the sky! / Reinforcements now appearing, victory is nigh.
Refrain: / “Hold the fort, for I am coming,” Jesus signals still / Wave the answer back to Heaven, “By Thy grace we will.”
16. “Christ Arose” by Robert Lowry (1874)
Refrain: Up from the grave He arose / With a mighty triumph o’er His foes / He arose a Victor from the dark domain / And He lives forever, with His saints to reign / He arose! He arose! / Hallelujah! Christ arose!
17. “The Bible Stands” by Haldor Lillenas (1885-1959)
The Bible stands though the hills may tumble / It will firmly stand when the earth shall crumble / I will plant my feet on its firm foundation / For the Bible stands.
18. “I Heard The Voice Of Jesus Say” by Horatius Bonar (1886)
I heard the voice of Jesus say / “Come unto Me and rest / Lay down, thou weary one, lay down / Thy head upon My breast.” / I came to Jesus as I was / Weary and worn and sad / I found in Him a resting place / And He has made me glad.
19. “He Is Coming Again” by Maybel J. Camp
Lift up your heads, pilgrims aweary / See day’s approach now crimson the sky / Night shadows flee, and your Belovèd / Awaited with longing, at last draweth nigh.
Refrain: He is coming again, He is coming again / The very same Jesus, rejected of men / He is coming again, He is coming again / With power and great glory, He is coming again!
20. “Almost Persuaded” by P. P. Bliss (1871)
“Almost persuaded” now to believe / “Almost persuaded” Christ to receive / Seems now some soul to say / “Go, Spirit, go Thy way / Some more convenient day / On Thee I’ll call.”
21. “My Jesus, I Love Thee” by William Featherstone (1862)
My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine / For Thee all the follies of sin I resign / My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou / If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
22. “In The Garden” by Charles Austin Miles (1913)
I come to the garden alone / While the dew is still on the roses / And the voice I hear falling on my ear / The Son of God discloses.
Refrain: And He walks with me, and He talks with me / And He tells me I am His own / And the joy we share as we tarry there / None other has ever known.
23. “Fairest Lord Jesus” by Anonymous
Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature / O Thou of God and man the Son / Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor / Thou, my soul’s glory, joy and crown.
24. “Immortal Invisible” by Walter C. Smith (1867)
Immortal, invisible, God only wise / In light inaccessible, hid from our eyes / Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days / Almighty, victorious, Thy great name we praise.
25. “God Be With You Till We Meet Again” by Jeremiah Rankin (1880)
God be with you till we meet again / By His counsels guide, uphold you / With His sheep securely fold you / God be with you till we meet again.
Refrain: Till we meet, till we meet / Till we meet at Jesus’ feet / Till we meet, till we meet / God be with you till we meet again.
** Disclaimer: Links to YouTube do not carry any endorsement other than the original song and lyrics.
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