12 Greatest Christian Hymn Songs Of All Time

12 of the Best Christian Hymn Songs

I’m partial to hymns even though many of our modern church services worship with contemporary or gospel music. For those of us who grew up singing hymns and watching tears roll down from the eyes of our elders—our souls were marked forever. The twelve hymns I’ve listed are those that have moved me from childhood throughout my life:  

#1) Amazing Grace (John Newton)

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1).

John Newton’s Amazing Grace is globally known for the believers as well as the unbelievers. It’s amazing that God would His only Son to die for us when we weren’t even looking for Him. His unmerited favor to the most wretched—which is all of us sinners—reveals the lovingkindness and desire of God for all people to come to Christ.

#2) Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross (Fanny J. Crosby)

“But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds” (Psalm 73:28)

There’s something about singing this song during times of trial that magnifies the presence of God in my spirit. When it gets difficult to see my way, Jesus pulls me near the cross. I find comfort and peace even though the storms rage around me.

#3) Holy, Holy, Holy (Reginald Heber)

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 4:8).

The holiness of God is difficult for us to comprehend in the day-to-day responsibilities of our lives. However, the acknowledgment of His holiness can bring us immediately to our knees. God is holy and we are to be holy—set apart just as He is.

#4) How Great Thou Art (Stuart H. Kine)

“For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods” (Psalm 95:3).

The combination of the beauty of nature with the worship of God brings the reality of His greatness. No matter how much we accomplish in this lifetime—it’s a mere drop in the puddle of what God has done, is doing, and will do in the lives of the redeemed. The Lord is great and worthy of our praise as well as adoration.

#5) I Need Thee Every Hour (Annie S. Hawks)

“For in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

It’s the foolishness of men and women to think that they don’t need God every single hour of the day. Our dependence on Him is most evident when the trials and tragedies of life leave us paralyzed with inaction and awe. We need the Lord for the everyday and mundane activities as well as for the life-changing events.

#6) The Old Rugged Cross (George Bennard)

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24).

When we come to the realization that our sins will never be wiped away unless we put our trust in Jesus, we will make that journey to the cross regularly. Only Jesus was without sin, the rest of us will struggle with our sin nature until the day we die. Yet there is hope in Christ, as we are accepted by God based on the sacrifice of Jesus.

#7) Great is Thy Faithfulness (Thomas O. Chisholm)

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

The faithfulness of God is evident every time we wake up and there’s a new morning…a new day. He remains faithful even when we are faithless in our words and actions. The enormity of His faithfulness to the world is beyond our ability to measure or fathom.

#8) Because He Lives (Gloria Gaither)

“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said” (Matthew 28:6).

Every time we want to have a pity party over the disappointments of life, we must remember that it will be alright because the Lord lives. Jesus rose up from the grave with all power in His hand. Satan was disarmed and the grave lost its victory. Because He lives, we can move forward in faith trusting in the Lord’s hand.

#9) It Is Well With My Soul (Horatio G. Spafford)

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16).

The peace that passes all understanding is available to God’s children in the day of tragedy. Our eternal souls aren’t locked into the temporary things of this world. We can have peace, joy, and grace even when everything appears on the surface to be lost.

#10) What a Friend We Have in Jesus (Joseph Scriven)

“But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).

Jesus is the best friend any believer could ever have. He’s always available, he’s never too busy, and he’s always looking out for His church. Our friendship with Christ builds over the years as we trust in His word and pray to him faithfully.

#11) In The Garden (C. Austin Miles)

“After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19:12).

Have you ever felt the presence of God in your life? While man makes attempts to leave his mark on this world with the flashiness of worldliness and sensuality, it will all fade away. The simplicity of hearing God’s voice comes through the reflection and meditation of His word. This beauty lasts throughout eternity.

#12) Just As I Am (Charlotte Elliot)

“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:17).

It is the Lord’s will that no one perishes in eternal agony of hell, yet many choose that way by ignoring the plea of the Spirit to “come”. The thirstiness of purpose and significance is only found in the water of life given by Jesus Christ. We are beckoned by the Lord to come in and have fellowship with Him.

Hymn Songs for the Soul

This list is partial as there are thousands of Christian hymns that speak the truth, inspire peace, or cultivate a powerful awakening of God’s presence. Hymns are a wonderful addition to your time of prayer and Bible study even if you don’t know the melody. Begin to search through hymnals to find the top 12 that speak to your heart.

Article by Crystal McDowell

Crystal McDowell is a writer, speaker, and teacher with a passion to encourage believers to know and grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ through practical application of God’s word.  

Crystal and her husband, Marshall, raise their five children in Bloomington, IL. As a freelance writer and editor for over 13 years, Crystal has published numerous Christian curriculums for Sunday School and VBS as well as many articles dealing with marriage, motherhood, and relationships. She’s a weekly staff writer for www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com.