What is a Hymn?

The definition of a hymn from the Eerdmans Bible Dictionary is:

A sacred song; a song of praise or thanksgiving to God. The oldest collection of such songs in the Bible is the book of Psalms, but other religious songs are included as well: The Song of the Sea (Exo 15: 1-18), the Song of Moses (Deut 32: 1-43), The Song of Deborah (Judg 5), the Song of Hannah (1 Sam 2:1-10), the Magnificat of Mary (Lk 1:46-55), the Benedictus of Zechariah (Lk 1:68-79), and the Nunc Dimittis of Simeon (Lk 2:29-32). From 2 Chr 29:27-28 it appears that often the Hebrew Psalms were sung with accomapniment….

2 Chr 29:27-29 “And Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering upon the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the LORD began also with the trumpets, and with the instruments ordained by David king of Israel. And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished. And when they had made an end of offering, the king and all that were present with him bowed themselves, and worshipped.”

In the fourth century, St Augustine decribed a hymn as follows:

“Do you know what a hymn is? It is singing to the praise of God. If you praise God, and do not sing, you utter no hymn. If you sing and praise not God, you utter no hymn. If you praise anything which does not pertain to the praise of God, though in singing you praise, you utter no hymn.”

Is it wrong to sing hymns along with music accompaniment? I don’t think so. This website thus seeks to provide piano accompaniment for the singing of hymns. They are played in a conservative style, with an introduction and 3 repetitions for each hymn. Do sing along with these piano renditions, either out loud, or in your hearts to the Lord.

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2 Responses to “What is a Hymn?”

  1. BrotherBob says:

    Dear Brother Tan –

    Your work has been a blessing. I hold services at an assisted living facility, and I have no accompanyist. Your music has filled a real need. Thank you, and may God bless you and your work.

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