A Hymn for Meditation

Amazing Grace

By John Newton

  1. Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
    that saved a wretch like me!
    I once was lost, but now am found;
    was blind, but now I see.
  2. ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
    and grace my fears relieved;
    how precious did that grace appear
    the hour I first believed.
  3. Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
    I have already come;
    ’tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
    and grace will lead me home.
  4. The Lord has promised good to me,
    his word my hope secures;
    he will my shield and portion be,
    as long as life endures.

Text in the public domain
From http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh378.sht

  • Secular thinkers and even some Christians are deeply offended by the use of the word wretch in this hymn. Why did the writer use this word? Do you think the word is offensive? Why or why not?
  • How do you explain that grace taught the hymn writer to fear? What did learn to fear? What did that fear have to do with the hour of belief?
  • What dangers lie in wait for a Christian on the path to “home?”
  • What is the source of the hymn writer’s hope? How long does Christian life endure
  • How could you use this hymn to explain your faith to a secular thinker?

2 thoughts on “A Hymn for Meditation”

  1. I think the hymn writer, John Newton, used the word wretch here to convey his realization or belief that a human, at least he himself, is powerless to save himself because of his sinful condition. He realized that sinfulness is a very grave condition and that man cannot reconcile himself to God but needs and accepts Christ’s reconciling ourselves to God through His dying for our sins. It is the writer’s belief that it is only through this gift of grace that we can be saved. The word wretch is not offensive here because it is so appropriate.


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