There’s no denying that a hymn can make a person feel substantially closer to their spiritual beliefs. The history of hymns is fascinating, and it shows that people have long shown expressions of love through music. This article contains a list of the 21 best hymns of all time.
1. Amazing Grace
“Amazing Grace” is one of the most popular hymns of all time, and written by John Newton, it may also be one of the oldest. Though it has roots in the 1770s, this song didn’t become popular until the 19th century, when American Methodist congregations embraced it. Today, it’s appreciated around the globe.
2. How Great Thou Art
“How Great Thou Art,” written by Carl Boberg and inspired by an incoming storm, is a beautiful hymn that embraces the faith we have in our spiritual beliefs. It’s lovely when combined with church bells and was once at the top of the list of Britain’s Favorite Hymns. Country artist Carrie Underwood even released a beautiful rendition.
3. Rock of Ages
Created in the early 1770s by cleric Augustus Toplady, “Rock Of Ages” is a well-known hymn that embraces the strength and clarity that comes with genuinely having and living by faith. It has a beautiful and calming melody.
4. Morning Has Broken
“Morning Has Broken” is a famous hymn that’s much more modern than most people think. Penned to an old Gaelic melody in 1931 by children’s book author Eleanor Farjeon, it is uplifting and restoring, as this beautiful hymn gives thanks to the arrival of another day.
5. I Vow to Thee My Country
One of the most famous English hymns, “I Vow To Thee My Country,” pays homage to staying true to your faith and country. It’s no surprise that this gorgeous hymn came from the beautiful minds of Gustav Holst and Sir Cecil Spring Rice in 1921, not long after World War I.
6. O God, Our Help in Ages Past
“O God, Our Help in Ages Past” dates back to the beginning of the 1700s. Though it’s an older hymn, it’s still greatly appreciated in many congregations today. Isaac Watts is the mastermind behind this song, and many of us might recognize him as one of the most widely-known hymn writers in the English language. It draws its lyrics from the 90th Psalm.
7. The Lord’s My Shepherd
“The Lord’s My Shepherd,” also written as “The Lord is My Shepherd,” is one of the oldest hymns on our list. It dates back to 1650, and its lyrics come from the general message of the 23rd Psalm. Composer credits for this hymn typically go to Jessie Seymour Irvine, but this fact is not set in stone.
“Jerusalem” is a famous hymn, though vague conceptions and mistruths surround it. Poet William Blake composed the words, and while congregations use them for worship, some have dubbed them anti-patriotic, based on the happenings in England at the time of composition. The meaning behind this song is still up for debate, even today, as many refer to it as the Unofficial Anthem of England.
9. Lord of All Hopefulness
Published in 1931, “Lord Of All Hopefulness” has lyrics composed by a woman, Jan Struther. She was an English writer, also known for writing the famous novel “Mrs. Miniver.” We’ll often hear this hymn set to the tune of “Slane,” an Irish folk song. It was the opener when Prince Harry wed Meghan Markle.
10. All Things Bright and Beautiful
“All Things Bright And Beautiful” is a classic hymn well-known and enjoyed by many congregations worldwide. Another hymn written by a woman, Cecil Frances Alexander, this song came to light in the 1840s, published in a book called “Hymns For Little Children.” This gorgeous tune celebrates all creation and how we should remain in awe of the beauty surrounding us.
11. A Mighty Fortress is Our God
Written by reformer Martin Luther, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” is an incredibly well-known and widely utilized hymn. It inspires people of faith to find love and strength in the salvation that God provides. This is no stranger to making lists of famous hymns, as it dates back as far as 1527.
12. Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
This hymn was written by the 18th-century pastor Robert Robinson, an English dissenter. “Come, Thou Fount Of Every Blessing” dwells on the concept of divine grace and forgiveness. It celebrates how faith can heal and inspire, providing us with many blessings we might not know we have until we stop to look around.
13. Jesus Paid It All
“Jesus Paid It All” is a beautiful hymn written by Elvina Hall while she was looking for a way to pay homage to her savior. It is relatively short but beautifully covers the story of Jesus dying for the sins of others on the cross. Today, this is one of the most beloved hymns, celebrated by many congregations in the United States and beyond.
14. To God Be The Glory
“To God Be The Glory” is an intriguing hymn penned by Fanny Crosby and William Howard in 1875. In 1954, it made its way into the songbook for the London Crusade, and it’s been widely used in places of worship ever since, with an incredibly enthusiastic following.
15. When I Survey The Wondrous Cross
A classic hymn written by Isaac Watts, “When I Survey The Wondrous Cross” found a place in “Hymns And Spiritual Songs” in 1707. It is significant as it was one of the first not to revert to using only biblical phrases as the lyrical content. This song was a step in a different direction regarding spiritual hymns, and it changed how songwriters and poets would write hymns in the future.
16. Blessed Assurance
Written by Fanny Crosby and performed beautifully by Walkers To Heaven in the preceding video, “Blessed Assurance” is a hymn that stands the test of time. The lyrics discuss how thankful we are to have the blessings we can be sure of, such as the sunrise and the turning of the Earth. We can live our lives based on the premise that we are saved, and this song highlights this concept perfectly.
17. All Creatures of Our God and King
Originating as a Christian Easter hymn, “All Creatures Of Our God And King” bases its lyrics on a poem by St. Francis of Assisi. Fans of this song first came upon it in a hymn book released in 1919, though it was likely penned long before that. Today, you can find it in over 179 official hymn books.
18. All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name
“All Hail The Power of Jesus’ Name,” is typically called “The National Anthem of Christianity.” Penned by Edward Perronet while he was on a mission in India, the gorgeous and melodic hymn celebrates the life and death of Jesus in eight beautiful verses sung by congregations across the globe. Though it originates in the early 1700s, it’s still as popular now as ever.
19. Great is Thy Faithfulness
Written by Thomas Chisholm, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” is an extremely popular Christian hymn. It originated in 1923, beginning as a poem that was eventually put to music, as is the case with many hymns we’ve discussed on this list. It’s a song that truly resonates with its audience and remains incredibly popular with church congregations worldwide.
20. It Is Well With My Soul
Written in 1876, “It Is Well With My Soul” or “Is It Well” is a hymn that reminds us that regardless of what might be happening in our world, all is well with our souls. It’s a gentle but beautiful reminder that Jesus died for our sins and saved our souls. It is a lovely way to reflect and find comfort in the trials we face.
21. Be Thou My Vision
“Be Thou My Vision” is a beautiful, melodic hymn that allows us to remind ourselves that God is always watching over us. While it’s an 8th-century hymn with Irish roots, it’s still incredibly popular with many congregations today. It’s a wonderful way to sing praise and let us lift our voices up.
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