O HOW I LOVE JESUS
Frederick Whitfield, 1829–1904
We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
This simply stated, lilting musical testimony has been another of the Sunday school favorites since it was first published in leaflet form in 1855. It has since been translated into various languages and has been included in numerous evangelical hymnals.
The words express so well the response of believers of any age as we reflect on all that Christ has done and continues to do for us daily. Indirectly, the hymn also exalts the written Word, for it is only through the study of the revealed written Word that we gain a true knowledge of the Living Word.
The text originally included eight stanzas. Several interesting verses not found in present hymnals include these words:
It tells me of a Father’s smile that beams upon His child.
It cheers me through this little while, through deserts waste and wild.
It bids my trembling soul rejoice, and dries each rising tear.
It tells me in a still small voice, to trust and not to fear.
The author, Frederick Whitfield, was an Anglican church clergyman. He is credited with more than 30 books of religious verse. The anonymous tune is a typical 19th century American folk song used in the campground meetings of that time.
Even a century after they were written, these ageless words are still appropriate for expressing our love and devotion for Christ:
There is a name I love to hear; I love to sing its worth; it sounds like music in mine ear, the sweetest name on earth.
It tells me of a Savior’s love, who died to set me free; it tells me of His precious blood, the sinner’s perfect plea.
It tells me what my Father hath in store for ev’ry day, and, tho I tread a darksome path, yields sunshine all the way.
It tells of One whose loving heart can feel my deepest woe, who in each sorrow bears a part that none can bear below.
Chorus: O how I love Jesus, O how I love Jesus, O how I love Jesus—because He first loved me!
For Today: John 14:23; Philippians 2:9–11; 1 Peter 1:8; 1 John 4:7–21; Jude 21
Breathe a prayer expressing your love to Christ for all that He means to you. Thank Him for initiating His love on your behalf. Thank Him also for the daily sunshine He gives. Carry this little musical nugget with you throughout the day—
Osbeck, K. W.
- Jesus answered, and said unto him, If any man love me, he will keep my word, and my father will love him, and we will come unto him, and will dwell with him. John 14:23
- Wherefore God hath also highly exalted him, and given him a name above every name. That at the Name of Jesus should every knee bow, both of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord, unto the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9–11
- Whom ye have not seen, and yet love him, in whom now, though ye see him not, yet do not belive, and rejoice with [joy] unspeakable and glorious. 1 Peter 1:8
- Beloved, let us love one another: for love cometh of God, and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not god, for God is love. Herein was that love of God made manifest amongst us, because God sent that his only begotten Son into this world, that we might live through him. Herein is that love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be a reconciliation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time, If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfect in us. Hereby know we, that we dwell in him, and he in us: because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen, and do testify, that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whosoever confesseth that Jesus is the Son of God, in him dwelleth God, and he in God. And we have known, and believed the love that God hath in us, God is love, and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is that love perfect in us, that we should have boldness in the day of judgment: for as he is, even so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear: for fear hath painfulness: and he that feareth, is not perfect in love. We love him, because he loved us first. If any man say, i love God, and hate his brother, he is a liar: for how can he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, love God, whom he hath never seen? And this commandment have we of him, that he that loveth God, should love his brother also. 1 John 4:7–21
- And keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto eternal life. Jude 21