I Will Sing the Wondrous Story

I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes. Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works (Psalms 119:26-27).

I Will Sing the Wondrous Story is another hymn I heard and stored away in my heart at the Highland Park Baptist Church in Chattanooga. I have not heard it as often in the past few years as I did years ago, but I will forever have the lyrics to the first two verses in my heart; they will how Christ left his Heavenly glory to find me and save me.  That was a wondrous work and one that could only be done by a loving God. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone (Ps 86:10).

Yes, Christ left Heaven to be born as a man, a sinless man, to give his life as the only worthy sacrifice for lost man, man that he created. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Phil 2:6-8). Luke 19:10 says For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.  How wondrous!  He did it for me! Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul (Ps 66:16).

This blog does not have enough pages for me to list all the wondrous works of God from infinity to infinity; most I do not know of yet, but I will tell of them, sing of them. I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O LORD: That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works (Ps 26:6-7).  Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works (Ps 105:2).

Christ performs a wondrous work in keeping me and all that have placed their trust in Him in His saving love. For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day (2 Tom 1:12).  I still have one of His wondrous works in my life to come when He will take me lovingly from this life to my Heavenly home. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord (2 Cor 5:1,8). In Heaven Christians will praise His wondrous works for ever. After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever (Rev 7: 9-12).

I Will Sing the Wondrous Story was penned by Francis H. Rowley in 1886.  Cyber Hymnal gives this quote from Mr. Rowley:

“I was min­is­ter of the First Bap­tist Church of North Adams [Mass­a­chu­setts] at the time the hymn was written in 1886, as nearly as I can remember. The church and the com­mun­i­ty were ex­per­i­enc­ing a per­i­od of un­u­su­al in­ter­est in re­li­gious mat­ters, and I was as­sist­ed by a re­mark­a­ble young sing­er named // Pe­ter Bil­horn. One night af­ter the close of the ser­vice he said, “Why don’t you write a hymn for me to set to mu­sic?” Dur­ing the night these most un­pre­ten­tious and whol­ly un­wor­thy vers­es came to me. Some years ago as I was go­ing down a Lon­don street one night about ele­ven o’clock, I dis­cov­ered ahead of me a group of Sal­va­tion Ar­my peo­ple hold­ing a ser­vice, and as I came near­er to them it oc­curred to me that the hymn they were sing­ing was fa­mil­iar. Then it dawned up­on me that it was this one.”

Mr. Rowley’s orig­in­al lyr­ics read, “Can’t you sing the won­drous sto­ry…” but Ira Sank­ey changed the words to “I will sing the wondrous story…” be­fore pub­lish­ing the song in the 1887 edi­tion of his Sac­red Songs and So­los.  While Peter P. Bilhorn wrote the musical tune for Rowley’s lyrics, sometimes they are sang to the alternate tune Hyfrydol written by Row­land H. Pri­chard in 1830.  Hyfrydol is the tune used with the hymn Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners written by John Wilber Chapman.  I personally prefer the tune written by Peter Bilhorn for I Will Sing the Wondrous Story (hear song).

I will sing the wondrous story
Of the Christ Who died for me.
How He left His home in glory
For the cross of Calvary.

Chorus: Yes, I’ll sing the wondrous story
Of the Christ Who died for me,
Sing it with the saints in glory,
Gathered by the crystal sea.

I was lost, but Jesus found me,
Found the sheep that went astray,
Threw His loving arms around me,
Drew me back into His way.


I was bruised, but Jesus healed me,
Faint was I from many a fall,
Sight was gone, and fears possessed me,
But He freed me from them all.


Days of darkness still come o’er me,
Sorrow’s path I often tread,
But His presence still is with me;
By His guiding hand I’m led.


He will keep me till the river
Rolls its waters at my feet;
Then He’ll bear me safely over,
Where the loved ones I shall meet.

Sources: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/i/w/iwilsing.htm, King James Version of the Holy Bible

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