Tag Archives: How Firm a Foundation

Hymn Meditation


Open HymnalHow Firm a Foundation

  1. “How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
    is laid for your faith in his excellent word!
    What more can he say than to you he hath said,
    to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?2. “Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
    for I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
    I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
    upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

    3. “When through deep waters I call thee to go,
    the rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
    for I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
    and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

    4. “When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
    my grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply;
    the flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
    thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.


The United Methodist Hymnal Number 529
Text: ‘K’ in Rippon’s A Selection of Hymns
Music: Early USA melody; harm. from Tabor


Source:  http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh529.sht
Text: ‘K’ in Rippon’s A Selection of Hymns


  • Christians are universally advised to “practice” prayer and Bible study daily in order to grow and mature in the faith. Why?
  • This hymn celebrates the value of the Bible to every believer. What important truth is confessed in verse 1?
  • What important event in the life of Jesus includes the important promise in verse 2? What other bBible stories include that promise? Why do we need that promise right now? Today?
  • Current events in the USA feel very threatening. Just this week a woman in Mississippi resigned her job rather than act in conflict with her Christian convictions about marriage. How does verse 3 describe the value of the Bible in that situation?
  • In Iran a pastor is serving a prison sentence for acting on his faith in Christ. In Syria, children have been executed because they are Christians. In Laos, Christians are evicted from their homes and accused of being a danger to the community because they refuse to worship the local gods. What does verse 4 say to Christians in these situations? The promises of verse 4 are all found in the Bible. If you needed to read those words, where in the Bible would you find them?
  • What do you feel led to do when you sing this hymn?


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

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


A Hymn for Meditation

How Firm a Foundation 

How firm a foundation,
O saints of the Lord, 

is laid for your faith
In his excellent Word!
What more can he say
than to you he has said
who unto the Savior
for refuge have fled?

 Fear not, I am with you,
oh, be not dismayed,

for I am your God

and will still give you aid;
I’ll strengthen you, help you,
and cause you to stand

upheld by my righteous,

omnipotent hand.

 When through fiery trials
your pathway shall lie,
my grace, all-sufficient,
shall be your supply.
The flames shall not hurt you;
I only design
your dross to consume 
and your gold to refine. 

Throughout all their lifetime
my people shall prove

my sov’reign, eternal,

unchangeable love;
and then, when gray hairs
shall their temples adorn,

like lambs they shall still
in my bosom be borne.

                     J. Rippen

Questions for thought and meditation 

·         I think of two references when I see the phrase “excellent Word” in this hymn. To whom or what does the hymnwriter refer?

 ·         What Bible verses come to mind as you read or sing this hymn? Do these teachings have any value for you today in a specific way?

 ·         Can you think of a situation in which you felt as if you were going through a fiery trial? Do you recall a Bible story that included a fiery trial?

 ·         Have you had an experience that felt like proof of God’s love? Have you shared this experience with someone who doesn’t believe God loves him?

 ·         We often say that Christians should memorize Bible verses in order to be able to recall them when they are in a crisis. Have you considered that hymns might have the same value? Do you know this hymn by heart?