As much as we love listening to contemporary Christian artists and the hits they've written, sometimes it's nice to step back in time and appreciate traditional Christian hymns from decades and centuries ago. In America and throughout Western Europe there is a long tradition of music celebrating Christ, and many of these songs are still popular today. Outside ofeaster songsAlongside the more traditional Christian hymns we sing throughout the year, you'll find wonderful songs written by pastors, theologians, and ordinary believers. Here are a few that have stood the test of time.
There is a reason why this classical music is used more by Christian and secular media. The pleasant melody is the sonic equivalent of rocking in a crib. In addition to the soothing music, there is a collection of lyrics that sum up the message of God's grace and the joy of being born again in Christ. Amazing Grace was written in the 1770s by John Newton, a slave trader turned preacher. Part of his story was captured in the 2006 film of the same name. Here is a variant of the famous hymn sung by Chris Tomlin in connection with the film.
Wherever he takes me, I will go
Written by BB McKinney in the 1930s, this hymn emphasizes the importance of trusting in the Lord and coming to terms with the idea that where God is is better than anywhere you are. The more time we spend with God and the closer we get to Him, the better for us.
Faced with a life she could never see, blind hymn writer Fanny Crosby didn't let her disability stop her ministry. During Crosby's long life, she wrote thousands of hymns, served a mission, and taught many students. "Blessed Assurance" (1873) is a simple but delightful song that exudes confidence that one day we will meet Christ face to face.
I will fly away
Another of the traditional Christian hymns yearning for heavenly glory, "I'll Fly Away" is a beautiful piece of music that comes to life when given a bluegrass twist. The song was written by Albert E. Brumley around 1930. Viewing life on earth as a prison that prevents us from existing with Jesus, the song carries a sweet reversal of death that is not to be overlooked.
In the sweet by-and-by
Writing some traditional Christian hymns took months, day after day being spent composing the next text or note. Other songs like "In the Sweet By-and-By" are written in a whirlwind of inspiration that lasts only a few minutes. Joseph Webster and S. Fillmore Bennett compiled this 19th century hymn that rejoices at the thought of believers gathering after death and being called to the Father.
How tall are you
While most of the traditional Christian hymns on this list were written in America and Great Britain, some took a more roundabout route to the American church. The lyrics were originally developed in Sweden by Carl Boberg before circulating around Europe as an anthem and being translated into English by Stuart Hine. This hymn is about absorbing the miracle of God and being amazed at how great and deep his power and understanding are.
Holy, Holy, Holy - Traditional Christian Hymns
All of the songs on this list fall under the worship umbrella, but "Holy, Holy, Holy" is a hymn that praises God for being the only being in the universe worthy of worship. Again and again it is said that God has perfect love, power, and honor. Like Handel's Messiah Hallelujah Chorus, this 19th-century hymn is an iconic hymn that exalts the name of the Lord above all else.
Jesus paid for everything
this is one of themold christian songsthat still resonates with believers today. Christian music today is mostly created by professional musicians and composers, but over the years there have been many ordinary people who have contributed traditional Christian hymns. Elvina Hall was sitting in church one day as she wrote the lyrics to this famous song. Through a series of divine appointments, the song became one of the most popular Christian hymns of all time.
my soul is fine
The story behind this famous hymn is both sad and inspiring, as its author, Horatio Spafford, overcame great tragedy to arrive at the place where he was able to write these words. It may be easy for us to praise God when we've just experienced victory or when life is going well, but what if we're in the middle of a storm? This hymn has stood the test of time because the cares of this world are never enough to truly overcome the grace of God.
be you my vision
We've noticed that some traditional Christian hymns come from outside the United States, and this Irish classic is the perfect example. Although it was only an English song for about 100 years, this song's origins go back over a millennium to an ancient Irish poem. The truth of this hymn is that with God as our compass, we will never be lost.
As I Am - Traditional Christian Hymns
One of the best things about God's grace is that it is available to everyone. You don't have to be born in the right place or with the right parents. You don't have to be of any particular level of intellectualism or social class. God will accept every penitent soul as he is. So says this famous song from 1835. If we are willing to follow him, he will accept us.
because he is alive
The youngest song on this list, "Because He Lives," was written by Bill Gaither in the early 1970s. Christianity is all about resurrection. If Jesus cannot rise from the dead, it calls into question the rest of our faith. Because he lives, we know there is hope. That's why this song is one of the best traditional Christian hymns of the 20th century. It sums up the meaning of the resurrection and reminds us that we are serving a living God at work today.
What a friend we have in Jesus
Written by Joseph Scriven in the 1850s, this popular hymn is comforting as it shows us the key to removing doubt and pain from our lives. We have a holy and powerful God deeply invested in our lives. If there is something bothering you, give it to God. Not only does he care about our worries and struggles, he also wants to carry the burden for you.
Put your eyes on Jesus
It's so easy for us to get distracted in our everyday lives that we often forget what's most important. As we focus on the work we need to do or worry about the big event coming next week, Jesus can seem like a distant friend we haven't seen in years. However, as we fix our eyes on Him, we regain perspective and see that earthly things cannot compete with what God has in store. Written by Helen Howarth Lemmel in the 1920s, this hymn has a beautiful chorus that is instantly recognizable.
Come, source of all blessings
Robert Robinson was an 18th century scholar and hymnal who composed this classic song. Some of the greatest words ever written in traditional Christian hymns come from moments when the average person realizes the enormity of God's grace. In this hymn, Robinson perfectly describes Christ's sacrifice on the cross, the process by which we all find salvation, and the struggle to take up our cross daily.
The Old Sturdy Cross
One of the best-known traditional Christian hymns comes from early 20th-century evangelist George Bennard. We often think of the cross as the instrument of death that it historically was, but this hymn turns that idea on its head, making it a symbol of God's hope and love. This idea is similar to how several songs on this list turn the sadness of death into an occasion for celebration. Bennard's hymn reminds us that Christ's sacrifice was excruciatingly painful, but ultimately a necessity.
I Give It All Up - Traditional Christian Hymns
Written by Judson W. Van DeVenter in the late 1800's, this hymn has long been considered the perfect music for any altar call. Whenever the gospel is presented to someone, he asks for a response. What will you do with this new information? Decline or total surrender? Music isn't just for new believers, however, for those who profess to be Christians often don't live their lives in full dedication to Christ.
Before the throne of God above
Charitie Lees Smith was the daughter of an Irish man of God who wrote hymns from a young age. Her most popular work is a song that conveys the message of our new status in Christ. When we turn to Christ, we can approach the throne of God with courage and confidence. The devil can make us feel guilty, but God is our final judge. As we draw near to Christ and abide in His Word, we find our highest calling.
His eye is on the Sparrow
In Matthew 6:26 Jesus tells those listening to the Sermon on the Mount not to worry because God cares about the birds in the air and therefore will take care of you too. Civilla D. Martin's well-known hymn shares much of this sentiment. No matter what life throws at us, God is in control. We may have some days harder than others, but we will feel the greatest peace when we realize that the world is not on our shoulders.
i need you every hour
Annie Hawks' 1872 hymn is a cry of despair to a weary soul. Even when we are in a good mood, we will have days when we feel completely lost. It's easy to share a kind thought or say a quick prayer, but often we don't get the quick relief we seek. When things get worse, all we can do is recognize God's omnipotence and seek blessings from him.
victory in Jesus
Sometimes we look back and think of traditional Christian hymns as those sad and melancholy songs that we've outgrown, but some are full of joy and strength. "Victory in Jesus" is a lively hymn that heralds a happy event. Written by Eugene Bartlett in the 1930s, this hymn sees conversion as the ultimate victory.
there is a source
Written around the time of the American Revolution, There is a Fountain has been through a lot. Still popular today, the anthem has a southern gospel vibe despite its English origins. Written by the famous poet William Cowper, the song focuses on the power of the blood of Jesus and its necessity for our salvation.
Trust and Obey - Traditional Christian Hymns
The simple command at the heart of this song is some of the best advice you can get as a believer. We're happy to add our own thoughts on what it means to be a Christian, but it all comes down to trusting Him and obeying His commandments. The anthem was written by John Sammis in the late 1800s, but its simple words of determination have sustained its popularity over the years.
rock of times
You can sit at a desk trying to write something profound and never find anything worth putting down on paper. Other times, inspiration strikes you in the middle of nowhere. Rock of Ages was inspired by Augustus Toplady while taking shelter during a storm. Finding a place of safety among the rocks, Toplady was inspired by a mental image of Christ offering us a place of safety and rest. God is our ultimate source of security and justice. Without his sacrifice we are lost in the storm.
There is power in the blood
It wasn't until the late 19th century that Lewis E. Jones composed this hymn to remind believers how powerful the blood of Jesus can be. The hymn not only emphasizes the atoning power it possesses, but also proclaims that its blood can change our hearts in time. We can move forward with boldness because the blood of Jesus gives us the strength we need. Sanctification is a process in a believer's life that we can endure because of the blood of the Lamb.
There are so many wonderful traditional Christian hymns that could have been added to this list, but they certainly rank among the greatest hymns of all time. It doesn't matter if a song was written in the 17th century or in 2017. If it's theologically sound and inspires listeners, it's worth checking out. At the K-LOVE Fan Awards, we bring fans together with artists who have encouraged them through thick and thin. With amazing performances and more, it's the ultimate fan experience. Click the icon below to find out how you and your family can participate in the upcoming K-LOVE Fan Awards.