Jesus Loves Me
The history of one the world's most beloved children's hymns "Jesus Loves Me".
Pictures of Anna Bartlett Warner and her sister Susan Warner
Anna Bartlett Warner (1827 – 1915) and her sister Susan were the daughters of a well-known New York lawyer who lost his wealth during the 1837 depression. [show pictures of Anna & Susan] After their father moved the family to an old house across the Hudson River from the West Point military academy, the sisters opened their home to the cadets (cadets are military students) and held Sunday school classes. Anna loved writing hymns and she wrote a new one each month for her students.
The sisters wanted to help their family’s income, so they turned to writing novels and children's books to make money. Among the 18 books that they wrote together there was one particular one (“Say and Seal”) wherein the story one of the characters comforted a dying child by singing a song that was written by Anna. The song went like this:
Jesus loves me! This I know For the Bible tells me so Little ones to Him belong They are weak, but He is strong.
This was the first time “Jesus Loves Me” appeared anywhere. Later, Anna published "Jesus Loves Me" as a hymn in her first hymnbook called “Original Hymns”.
In 1862, William B. Bradbury, a music composer of gospel hymns, stumbled across the song's words and wrote the tune as we sing it today. He also added his own chorus: "Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes Jesus loves me, The Bible tells me so." Within months, this song raced across North America, and eventually all the continents of the world.
After over a century of evolution (because other people contributed to the other versus is the song), "Jesus Loves Me" became the number one spiritual song in the world. It has been translated into more languages than any other song. Missionaries favor its simple and easy-to-remember chorus as a means of explaining the gospel in a clear, simple way.
So, I just wanted to tell you the story of how “Jesus Loves Me” started out as a poem from a novel and is now one of the best-known hymns in the world.
If you enjoy music & history, you ought to pick out a song you like from a hymn book and research it in the library or on the Internet to find out how it came to be, like I did for this one.
Prayer: Dear Lord, we thank you for using people like Anna Warner to help spread the word of the gospel through songs.