Funny enough, as I get older music seems to become more and more important to me. But I don’t think that’s because my tastes are changing; I think it’s because I’m coming to see more and more the power of what music can do in and to us.
Music, specifically Christian hymns, it seems to me, has the unique capacity to reach us at an emotional level that few things do. And when you combine a beautiful tune with rich, God-honoring lyrics, music becomes not only something to listen to in order to pass the time; it becomes something we can actually look to in order to preach the gospel to ourselves day in and day out.
It’s no wonder, then, that scholars tell us that one of the richest passages in the entire New Testament, Philippians 2, was actually an early Christian hymn. In these verses, we find a succinct and memorable recitation of the person and work of Jesus Christ. And it lifts my heart to think that somewhere, in a time long long ago, there were early Christians singing these words. Singing them so they would stick in their memory. Singing them so they would feel them as well as know them. Singing them so that, when all else fails the song would come back to them on the darkest days.
Such is the power of song.
As I look to the next generation – my own children – there are certain songs that have been so profoundly meaningful to me that I hope and pray they will be able to sing by heart.
There are so many beautiful songs that could have made this list, but here are our 15 favorite traditional Christian hymns!
Introduction written by Michael Kelly. Adapted for this format by the iBelieve.com editorial staff.