Proverbs 2-9-23

Ever sung a hymn about Jesus? You’re in good company. Christians have been singing hymns about Jesus for 2000 years!

He appeared in the flesh,
    was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
    was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
    was taken up in glory.

1 Timothy 3:16
Possibly the text of an early hymn!

From, “Person of Interest,” pages 141-142

Jesus followers were inspired by Jesus to sing songs about Jesus to Jesus. They borrowed these songs from Old and New Testament Scriptures and quickly began to write their own.
Just as the fingerprints of Jesus can be found in the art of the earliest centuries of the Common Era, so too can they be seen in music. Hundreds of historic hymns were written in the first four centuries of the church, most well before Christianity was safe to sing about.

Embedded in these sacred songs were the simple truths about Jesus. The early church hymns are a rich evidential source of information about Jesus. The broad narrative of Jesus’s life, ministry, death, and resurrection can be heard in these songs, along with many rich theological truths that early believers affirmed. In fact, if all the New Testament manuscripts were destroyed, we would still know the following truths about Jesus from Christian hymns sung in the first four centuries.

  • The BIRTH of Jesus
  • The MINISTRY of Jesus
  • The MISSION of Jesus
  • The DEATH of Jesus
  • The BURIAL of Jesus
  • The RESURRECTION of Jesus
  • The RETURN of Jesus
  • The TITLES of Jesus

The Jesus described in ancient hymns matches the Jesus depicted by ancient artists and the Jesus described by the earliest authors of literature. The fallout in the earliest centuries of the Common Era pointed to the same Jesus described on the pages of the New Testament.

Throughout the centuries, Christian composers, singers, and players were involved with more than just Christian hymns. Because of their influence, “they pushed the envelope of their own contemporary forms of musical expression, making structural and compositional changes even as they invented (or added) new musical instruments” (page 143).

Historic Christian musicians, singers, and performers laid the foundation on which modern music stands. Thousands of years later, Jesus followers are still inspired to sing about Jesus of Nazareth. A brief internet search reveals the depth of the contemporary Christian music industry. In the past fifty years, over five hundred artists have contributed to this industry, recording songs numbering into the hundreds of thousands.

Even pop artists sing about Jesus. Just do a quick internet search and you’ll find singers like Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Smokey Robinson, Simon and Garfunkel, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Michael Jackson, Metallica, Guns n’ Roses, Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, and many others–and we haven’t even listed country singers! “Some of these artists were inspired by Jesus, some were informed by him, and some were infuriated by him. But Jesus mattered to all of them. They saw Jesus as a person of interest, worthy of their attention” (page 151).

Tomorrow: Education.

Abba, for my prayer, I will quote an old hymn, “Why do I sing about Jesus?”

Deep in my heart there’s a gladness
Jesus has saved me from sin
Praise to His name, what a Savior
Cleansing without and within
Why do I sing about Jesus?
Why is He precious to me?
He is my Lord and my Savior
Dying, He set me free!


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