How Sweet The Sound

Overview

From generation to generation, Christianity is passed down not only through words that are spoken but also through words that are sung. The church's life and vitality has often been profoundly shaped by the great hymns of the faith.

But there is more to hymns than classic melodies and stately lyrics. Embodied and preserved in our hymns are the key doctrines of Christian belief. When we think of God's character and attributes, we speak of him as a mighty fortress, a bulwark never...

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Overview

From generation to generation, Christianity is passed down not only through words that are spoken but also through words that are sung. The church's life and vitality has often been profoundly shaped by the great hymns of the faith.

But there is more to hymns than classic melodies and stately lyrics. Embodied and preserved in our hymns are the key doctrines of Christian belief. When we think of God's character and attributes, we speak of him as a mighty fortress, a bulwark never failing. When we consider his goodness to us, we remember that great is his faithfulness. And when we think of God's life-transforming power, we sing of amazing grace, how sweet the sound.

Musician and preacher Richard Allen Farmer explores the messages of twenty-five of the greatest hymns of the Christian faith. With careful exposition and thoughtful reflection, he shows how biblical truths are encapsulated in a hymn's lyrics, stanza by stanza or even in a single line of a single verse. His consideration of familiar texts uncovers fresh meaning and new significance for the Christian journey.

Rediscover the profound insights of Christian hymnody. You will never sing these hymns the same way again.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Nearly everyone has heard the story of John Newton, a slave trader who, in the midst of a furious storm at sea, called out for mercy to a God he didn't really believe in. Convinced by his own survival, he converted, became a celebrated preacher and wrote Christendom's most famous hymn, "Amazing Grace." Tales like this populate a host of recently published hymn-story books. These volumes are plain in diction and pious in tone-not theologically deep, but not harmful, either: chicken soup for the church musician's soul. This book fits right into the genre. A pastor and musician, Farmer looks at 25 spiritually nourishing hymns to explore their meaning for the Christian journey. Each three- to four-page essay contains, in a homiletic style, some exposition of the hymn text, a bit of background information, a few illustrative stories and other supporting material. Sometimes Farmer offers helpful information or insights-for example, a nice explanatory turn on the word "Ebenezer" raised in the hymn "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." But given the theological depth and complexity of these hymn texts (including standards such as "A Mighty Fortress," "How Firm a Foundation" and "For All the Saints"), the simplicity of his treatments is somewhat disappointing. Sometimes he tackles only a small portion of the text, and sometimes the hymn is simply the jumping-off point for what feels like a practiced spiel. Still, one could do far worse, devotionally, than to start with these well-chosen hymns, read Farmer's commentary and then return to the hymns themselves. (Jan.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830832408
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 12/5/2003
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 1,213,280
  • Product dimensions: 0.44 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Farmer (M.Div., Princeton Theological Seminary) is a classically trained pianist, concert artist and Bible expositor whose itinerant music and preaching ministry has taken him to hundreds of churches and dozens of countries. Prior to his present ministry he served as a senior pastor and as dean of the chapel at both Gordon College and Taylor University. He has been awarded the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by Gordon College (1996) and the honorary Doctor of Sacred Theology degree by Houghton College (1999).
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Table of Contents

Section 1: About God
1. Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing: Inviting God In
2. A Mighty Fortress: A Celebration of Strength
3. Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise: A Focused View of God
4. Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah: A Pilgrim's Plea
5. How Firm A Foundation: Goodbye to Quicksand
6. Holy, Holy, Holy: A God Like No Other
7. Great Is Thy Faithfulness: A Portrait of God's TrustworthinessSection 2: About Christ
8. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel: Imagining a Pre-Christian Condition
9. And Can It Be? Overwhelmed by Wonder
10. Amazing Grace: When God Reaches Down
11. All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name: A Global Call to Worship
12. Fairest Lord Jesus: Going Beyond the Beautiful Scenery
13. In the Garden: An Invitation to an Emotional Experience
14. In the Cross of Christ I Glory: A Symbol That Changes Us
15. Christ the Lord Is Risen Today: The Song of the Empty Tomb
16. O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go: Locked Up and FreeSection 3: About the Church
17. Blest Be the Tie That Binds: Celebrating the Family of God
18. Soldiers of Christ, Arise: A Call to Appropriate Militarism
19. We Gather Together: Daring to Approach
20. For All the Saints: A Reminder About Our Current Status
21. Rescue the Perishing: A Duty Toward the Pre-ChristianSection 4: About Worship
22. O Come, All Ye Faithful: An Invitation to Worship
23. It Is Well: To Serve God Even Though . . .
24. Breathe on Me, Breath of God: Claiming the Energizing Wind
25. Angels We Have Heard on High: A Song for All Seasons
Epilogue: On the Playing, Singing and Place of Hymns
Notes
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