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  • Writer's pictureClint Holden

Why I Love Hymns and Why Some People Don't

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

I have several "favorite hymns," but hymns have waned in our day and age in the church and now get as bad of a wrap as they once received admiration. I feel this is mostly related to "style" because people prefer the contemporary sound to something old and stodgy. However, it may be more so because the words don't make sense, often... at least without some study ... and just don't appeal to a pop culture that wants simple, easy, and "lite." ​​In most cases, hymns are not "lite." In most cases hymns make you think, which make you either squirm to comprehend, or just plain squirm, period --- likely because it is just not fun to sing that of which you have little clue as to the meaning. ​ ​However, many hymns are rich with doctrine and, in my opinion this makes people squirm because they are confounded. They have no intention to understand the origin of words or phrases found in this lyrics, as much as they have had little desire to search out scripture's true connection to them. Hymns are not scripture, but often contain much of it. In a day and age when Bible ownership in America remains steady year to year, Bible reading, learning, and consumption is in decline (is that any surprise?) [1]. When serious and significant study of the Word is not paramount in a person's life, how can it ever be expected that being taught doctrine is important, either. Loving hymns is not a badge of honor and does not give me any sense of superiority. However, understanding the words, phrases, and meanings of some of these masterpieces, does inspire me significantly more than many "praise" choruses that, to me, are typically shallow and lack much substance at all. The hymns I love the most are quite the opposite.

[1] The number of Bibles owned has stayed relatively consistent since 2011. Adults who read the Bible daily account for 16% of the total adult population, followed by 14% who read several times a week, 7% do so once a week, 7% about once a month, and 6% read it three to four times a year. Nearly one-third of adults say they never read, listen to or pray with the Bible (32%), a five-percentage point increase over 2016. One in ten adults (10%) read the Bible less than once a year and 8% read it once or twice a year. Fewer adults rated themselves as moderately knowledgeable or somewhat knowledgeable in 2017 and slightly more adults admitted they were not too or not at all knowledgeable. (American Bible Society | State of the Bible, 2017)

© Clint Holden. All rights reserved.


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