Tell Me the Old, Old Story

Open Hymnal

1. Tell me the old, old story,
Of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory,
Of Jesus and His love;
Tell me the story simply,
As to a little child,
For I am weak and weary,
And helpless and defiled.

Tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story,
Of Jesus and His love

2. Tell me the story slowly,
That I may take it in—
That wonderful redemption,
God’s remedy for sin;
Tell me the story often,
For I forget so soon,
The “early dew” of morning
Has passed away at noon.

3. Tell me the story softly,
With earnest tones and grave;
Remember I’m the sinner
Whom Jesus came to save;
Tell me the story always,
If you would really be,
In any time of trouble,
A comforter to me.

4. Tell me the same old story,
When you have cause to fear
That this world’s empty glory
Is costing me too dear;
And when the Lord’s bright glory
Is dawning on my soul,
Tell me the old, old story:
“Christ Jesus makes thee whole.”

By Katherine Hankey (1834-1911)
Text is in the public domain

  • Contemporary secular thinkers accuse Christians of child abuse for telling their children that they are sinners. One atheist man sued a Bible publisher for printing biblical texts that declared homosexuality to be sin. What does the hymnwriter think about the human condition? Where did she get that idea? Can you think of one or more Bible verses that underlie verse 1?
  • What is the old, old story the hymnwriter wants to hear?
  • Ms. Hankey wanted to hear the story slowly and often. What faith practice will enable every Christian to hear the story slowly and often? What common work of Christians is another way to hear the story often?
  • People who advocate abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, and the sale of body parts of dead babies resent any statements that accuse them of immorality. The writer of the hymn asked to be told when she had transgressed God’s law. What is the root of the difference in attitudes? Do you want to be told when you have sinned?
  • What do secularized Christians receive that orthodox Christians do not receive? How do secularized Christians justify views that conflict with the revealed truth in the Bible? What do secularized Christians lose when they modify their teachings to conform with the evolved principles of the culture? In the end, what is the important reason that the hymnwriter does not want the “old, old story” changed?

By Katherine Harms, author of Oceans of Love available for Kindle at

Image: Open Hymnal
License: CC BY-NC-SA