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What are some facts about the history of hymns?

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Quick Answer

The Bible reports that Jesus and the disciples sang hymns. Isaac Watts wrote the lyrics to many English hymns in the 18th century, including "Joy to the World" and "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross." St. Francis of Assisi wrote as many as 60 hymns including "All Creatures of Our God and King," which he wrote in 1225.

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Full Answer

Ephesians 5:19 states that hymns and psalms are different things. In the sixth century, Benedict of Nursia adapted many ancient hymns into Gregorian chants in Latin. In the 16th century musicians began to translate those hymns into common languages, using rhyme to facilitate memorization.

Also in the 16th century, Martin Luther wrote "A Mighty Fortress is Our God." The hymn remains popular in the 21st century. Many of Luther's hymns did not come directly from scripture.

Charles Wesley wrote many hymns in the 18th century, including "O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing," "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing," and "Christ the Lord is Risen Today." Wesley work first grew popular in the Methodist church before spreading to popular use among many denominations.

Another hymn lyricist, Robert Robinson, wrote the words to "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" in 1758 at the age of 23. Musicians put Robinson's words to music in 1813. Robinson's contemporary, John Newton, wrote "Amazing Grace" for a New Year's Day sermon in 1773. "Amazing Grace" did not grow popular until the 1800s.

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