Hymns are theological poetry put to music. Because of my passion for beauty in theology, it’s been my eager hope that hymn-writing will be a significant part of ministry. For this reason, I’m happy to share my first hymn: “Our Precious Faith (Glory to the Blessed Three in One).” This new hymn is written to praise the beauty of the Triune God. I enjoyed collaborating with my uncle, Philip Bishop, Minister of Music at Bowdon Baptist Church (Bowdon, GA), on the tune, which is named “G. I. Straub” in honor of my great-grandfather, an overseer and church planter.
Sheet Music and Piano Track
The sheet music and piano track are free for use.
The hymn is an exposition of the three articles of the Apostles’ Creed or Rule of Faith. The refrain is a slight adaptation of the Gloria Patri, an ancient Christian prayer of praise to the Triune God.
We praise the God who was and is to come,
The everlasting Father of the Son;
Almighty God, who made the earth and sky,
We stand in awe of what your hands have done.
O glory to the Father,
And glory to the Son,
And glory to the Spirit,
The blessed three in one;
As it was in the beginning,
Before the world began,
Is now and ever shall be,
A world without end.
And Jesus Christ our Lord, his only Son,
For us and our salvation he was born,
Descended to the dead to bring us life,
Then rose again, creation to transform.
One Spirit also gains our highest praise,
The Sanctifier of our precious faith,
Renewing man throughout the world to God,
Assuring us of all that yet awaits.
Through him we are empowered and made new,
Restored by grace to live and pray in love,
Until the holy church is raised again,
To greet the Savior coming from above.
Using the Hymn
While I hope that this hymn will be used for congregational worship, I wrote it with small group discipleship in mind. It will be included in the upcoming Holy Joys New Methodist Catechism. By singing it at the beginning of every baptism and church membership class, the Rule of Faith will be reinforced in the minds of catechumens through song.
- The everlasting Father of the Son — “Father” is perhaps the most misunderstood word in the Creed. This makes clear that “Father” refers, first and foremost, to God’s eternal relation to the Son.
- we stand in awe of what your hands have done — an allusion to Irenaeus’s metaphor of the Son and the Spirit as the two hands of the Father by which he creates and redeems (AH 4.20.1; 5.1.3; 5.6.1).
- for us and our salvation — cf. Nicene Creed.
- descended to the dead — An affirmation of the descensus but also a summary of Christ’s estate of humiliation.
- one Spirit also gains our highest praise — an allusion to the Nicene Creed, which establishes the equality of the Spirit in doxological terms: “the Holy Spirit … who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified.”
- the Sanctifier of our precious faith — the Spirit’s role as Sanctifier, the one who transforms the lives of the saints, is in focus. The song title is drawn from this line.
- renewing man throughout the world to God — also from Irenaeus. This depicts the Spirit as once again hovering over the face of the earth, recreating the world and making all things new. This is a common patristic image.
- assuring us of all that yet awaits — echoes Ephesians 1:3–14, where the Spirit’s role in the economy is as the seal of our redemption, “the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it.” “All that yet awaits” reflects the anticipatory posture of the Nicene Creed: “I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.”
- Through him we are empowered and made new — The final stanza was inspired by the anaphora of Basil the Great. After Basil worships “the One who is, Lord, God, Father, Almighty,” “the Lord Jesus Christ, the great God and Saviour,” and “the Holy Spirit … the pledge of the inheritance to come,” he concludes, “through whom every rational being is empowered, worships you, and ascribes to you the everlasting hymn of glory, because all things are your servant.” See John Behr’s comments in Origen xlii–xlv.
Edit: The following section was added on September 1, 2023.
Another Verse on Baptism
Since the hymn is intended for baptism, I am now including another verse (now verse 4 of 5) which summarizes the baptismal covenant (renunciation of evil, confession of faith, and pledge of obedience):
By water and the Spirit we are born,
To fight against the devil, world, and flesh,
Hold fast the faith of Father, Spirit, Son,
And do his will as long as we have breath.