How to Study and Appreciate Hymns
Hymns are an important part of musical and spiritual history, connecting us to faith and culture through their melodies and lyrics. There's a lot to learn from these old songs, and this guide will show you how to dig deeper into hymns and get more out of them.

Understanding the Context: What Was Happening When the Hymn Was Written?

To really get a hymn, you need to know what was going on when it was written. Think about:
  1. What was happening in history at the time?
  2. What was the culture like?
  3. What was going on in churches and religion?
  4. What was the songwriter's life like?
Knowing these things helps you understand why the hymn was written and what it means.

Example: "Amazing Grace" by John Newton

John Newton used to be a slave trader but became a Christian and fought against slavery. Knowing this helps us see why he wrote about being lost and then found, and why grace was so amazing to him.

Looking at the Lyrics: What Do the Words Really Mean?

The words in hymns are packed with meaning. To understand them better:
  1. Read each verse carefully and think about what it's saying
  2. Look for repeated ideas or symbols
  3. See if you can spot any Bible references
  4. Think about the main message of the whole song
Doing this helps you find deeper meanings you might have missed before.

Example: "How Great Thou Art" by Carl Boberg

This hymn talks about how awesome God's creation is. When you really look at the words (like the words "awestruck" and "wonder"), you can see how it's trying to make you feel amazed at God's power and goodness.

Listening to the Music: More Than Just a Nice Tune

The music in hymns is important too. It helps create feelings and adds to the message. Try to:
  1. Pay attention to the melody and how the harmonies work
  2. Notice how the music fits with the words
  3. Listen to different versions of the same hymn
  4. Look at how the song is put together
This can help you appreciate the skill that went into writing the music.

Learning the History: The Story Behind the Song

Every hymn has a backstory. To learn more:
  1. Read about the people who wrote the hymns
  2. Find out what inspired them to write
  3. Look into why certain hymns became popular
  4. See how hymns have changed over time
Knowing the history can make hymns more interesting and meaningful to you.

Reflecting on the Hymn: Making It Personal

Studying hymns isn't just about learning facts. It's also about connecting with your faith. Try:
  1. Thinking quietly about what the hymn means to you
  2. Letting the words sink in and affect how you feel
  3. Singing or playing the hymn yourself
  4. Using hymns as part of your personal worship time

Wrapping Up: Getting the Most Out of Hymns

Studying hymns involves looking at history, words, music, and your own thoughts and feelings. By taking the time to really explore hymns, you can learn a lot about faith, culture, and how people have expressed their beliefs over time.Give it a try with hymns you like. You might be surprised at how much more meaningful they become when you dig a little deeper.

Want to get your kids more involved in a practical way to do a Hymn of the Month type study? Check out the Hymn a Month freebie (for now! until it gets added to the Classical Collective Membership).


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