Strange Hymn Titles

       Some people collect precious stones or gems, fancy cars, or coins from mints past. My mom collects Moonstone – beautiful glassware – and has plenty of it! Many of these things, after you’ve accumulated quite a spread, could possibly rake in thousands of dollars if sold. My fetish isn’t quite so monetarily rewarding.
       I’m the weird guy who collects hymnals. Yes, that’s right… hymnals. I have almost every Baptist Hymnal published, plus some Methodist, Catholic, American Baptist, “Non-Denominational,” Church of Christ, and Salvation Army hymnals. Whatever flavor you prefer, I probably have one or two for you. In fact, I recently scored a Christian Science hymnal from the 60’s at a local antique shop in town.

       Sometimes, a church member will ask me if I have music for some off-the-wall hymn I’ve never heard of before. Then I get to break out my hymnal collection and go to work. If it has been published in a hymnal, I probably have it.

       My pastor and I were recently talking about some of the strange hymn titles from our history. I’ve got to tell you, there are some that will just blow your mind. This short blog is my list of:


10. Lord, I Can Suffer Thy Rebukes (Isaac Watts, 1719)
9. Let the Round World with Songs Rejoice (R. Mant, 1837)
8. A Charge to Keep I Have (Charles Wesley, 1762)
7. All Men Living Are But Mortal (J. Albinus, 1652)
6. In Christ there is No East or West (W. Dunkerly, 1908)
5. Blest Hour, When Mortal Man Retires (T. Raffles, 1823)
4. Fondly My Foolish Heart Essays (John Wesley, 1889)
3. We Cannot Think of Them as Dead (F.L. Hosmer, 1882)
2. God of Earth and Outer Space (T. Roberts Jr., 1970) 
1. If Men Go to Hell, Who Cares (E.M. Bartlett, 1939)
– Well, did you see any you’ve never heard of before? 
– Did I leave one off that you think qualifies?

Grace and Peace,

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  One thought on “Strange Hymn Titles

  1. July 24, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    I just stumbled across this. I, too, collect hymnals, and love to see how tastes and wording change over the years. I’ve got another title to add to your list – “Blest Be the Man Whose Bowels Move” by none other than Isaac Watts. The rest of the verse is as follows:

    Blest is the man whose bowels move
    And melt with pity to the poor;
    Whose soul, by sympathizing love,
    Feels what his fellow saints endure.

    • July 25, 2012 at 7:13 AM

      Yes, that’s a great one! So very interesting how those words used very commonly only a couple hundred years ago are not really part of our spiritual vocabulary anymore. The “bowels” in scripture (as you probably know) are the seat of the emotions. Many people in scripture are said to have been “moved in their bowels,” when literally translated. It’s that realization that your feelings come from deep within. But today, I’m afraid, if we were to sing that hymn in church, I just don’t think it would have the same deep meaning. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing!

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