Where Have Those Hymnals Gone?

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19 October, 2021




Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. . . . Ephesians 5:19a

In order to express myself more freely on a matter that lies very near to my heart, I shall waive the rather stilted editorial we and speak in the first person.

The matter I have in mind is the place of the hymnbook in the devotional life of the Christian. For purposes of inward devotion, there is only one book to be placed before the hymnal, and that of course is the Bible. I say without qualification, after the Sacred Scriptures, the next best companion for the soul is a good hymnal.

For the child of God, the Bible is the book of all books, to be reverenced, loved, pored over endlessly and feasted upon as living bread and manna for the soul. It is the first-best book, the only indispensable book. To ignore it or neglect it is to doom our minds to error and our hearts to starvation.

After the Bible, the hymn book is next. And remember, I do not say a songbook or a book of gospel songs, but a real hymnal containing the cream of the great Christian hymns left to us by the ages.


Have you used a hymnal lately — in church or at home? A good hymnal contains the musical heart-expressions that have survived the years and express the experience of believers through the centuries.


You have reminded me, Lord, of the devotional treasure nestled in the hymnal. Therein are songs to live by.