Tag Archives | Hymnals


“Let’s Do a Hymn”

Normally I answer a question on Fridays, but I’m currently on a writing retreat. I came across these thoughts I wrote down a few weeks ago, and thought I’d post them today. I’ve often heard people suggest that we “do a hymn.” I usually interpret that as a good suggestion. There are many reasons we should value and take advantage of the rich hymns that history has handed down to us. Many of them contain biblically rich lyrics that develop substitutionary atonement (And Can It Be), God’s sovereignty in suffering (God Moves in a Mysterious Way), God’s attributes (Immortal, Invisible), the Trinity (Come Thou Almighty King) and countless other themes. …

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Choosing a Hymnal for a Worship Service

One person recently wrote in to ask: 1. What criteria would you use in selecting a new hymnal? 2. What particular hymnals would you recommend checking into? Although we don’t use a hymnal in our Sunday meetings, if I were to choose one, I’d look for one that contains the best of Christian hymnody prior to the early 20th century. These are the songs for congregational worship that have been established, tried, tested, and proven to be beneficial to the Church. Since a hymnal should serve primarily as a tool to teach and reinforce the doctrines of the Christian faith, I’d look for many songs by Watts, Wesley, Newton, Toplady, Cowper, Hart, …

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Hymnals or Screens?

A while ago, Richard wrote in to ask: “Do you think there is an advantage one way or the other for a congregation to sing from a hymnal and songbook/sheet (so that they are all looking down), or singing from the words on a large screen in the front of the room (where they are all looking up and facing the same direction)?” First, I think that people can sing from hymnals and still be “facing the same direction,” and that you can sing from a hymnal and still be looking up. However, I’m not making a case for using hymnals. Or not using them. Actually, I’m surprised at how strongly people defend one position or the other in dealing with this …

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