Search TAP

Eight Great Reformation Hymns

(Photo: DesignPics)

ONE EASY and obvious way to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation is by singing some of the great Reformation hymns. After all, congregational singing was one of the glorious gifts of the Reformation. Here are eight hymns from that era, which have long been favourites:

A mighty fortress    Martin Luther (1529) Paraphrase

is our God             of Ps.46 Tr. Thomas Carlyle (1831)

                            The tune EIN’ FESTE BURG was

                            composed by Luther.


All people that on   Wm Kethe (1560) Metrical version

earth do dwell        of Ps. 100. OLD HUNDREDTH


Ah, Holy Jesu,        Johann Heermann (1630) (Made

how hast thou        famous by Bach). Tr. Robert Bridges      offended           (1899) Good Friday hymn.

                            HERZLIEBSTER JESU


Now thank we all    Martin Rinkart (1636)

our God                Tr. Catherine Winkworth (C.W.)

                            (1858). NUN DANKET


Let us, with a         John Milton (1645) Paraphrase of

gladsome mind      Ps. 136. MONKLAND 


The Lord’s my        Scottish Psalter (1650) Metrical

shepherd, I’ll          version of Ps. 23. CRIMOND

not want


All my heart this      Paul Gerhardt (1656) Christmas

night rejoices          hymn. Tr. Catherine Winkworth

                            (1858). BONN


Praise to the Lord, Joachim Neander (1680)

the Almighty          Tr. Catherine Winkworth (1863).

                            LOBE DEN HERREN


“The monastic hymns, used for centuries, disappeared in Britain at the Reformation, along with the monasteries themselves. In English and Scottish worship they were replaced by the metrical psalms. These were beloved of Calvin in Geneva and by the English Protestants who had fled the country during the reign of Mary Tudor (1553-8). The accession of Elizabeth I in 1558 brought these exiles back in force, carrying their psalm-books with them.…

“Calvin’s exclusive reliance on metrical psalms contrasted with Luther’s love of hymns. The Lutheran church in Germany began a tradition of hymn-singing and hymn-writing that was, in the words of Catherine Winkworth (describing Luther’s hymns), ‘full of fire and strength, of clear Christian faith, and brave joyful trust in God.’ These hymns were translated in the nineteenth century by German scholars such as Winkworth…and others, including Thomas Carlyle.”   TAP

–An excerpt from An Annotated Anthology of Hymns edited with commentary by J.R. Watson Oxford University Press (2002)


Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.
Member Account Required
Comments can only be made by registered members of the TAP community. If you would like to be a member of TAP online, please go to our registration page.  If you're already a member and just haven't logged in yet... well, you know what to do.  God bless you!