Behind The Hymn – Amazing Grace

John Newton was the captain of a slave ship before converting to Christianity and penning one of the most well known, well loved hymns. His conversion is said to have happened during a violent storm out at sea.

Which bring me to the second stanza,
“‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.”
Specifically, the last two lines. Grace is a universal Christian concept, but when you put the lyrics in context, they become even more interesting. Here he was, in the midst of a raging storm, finally acknowledging God, of whom he was taught at a young age. It feels almost like it was a surprise he survived, but in those moments of clarity during the storm he saw that he could die, but by the grace of God, he survived.

Next I want to talk about this line in the fifth stanza,
“I shall possess within the veil”
Because it’s not contingent on knowing anything of the author, but of Christianity. There’s beauty in the language of Christianity that is so poetic that I believe you don’t have to be a Christian to appreciate it.

“The veil,” is in reference to the veil that was an ornate object inside of the tabernacle. It hung between God, who dwelled above the mercy seat, and sinful man. When John Newton wrote, “I shall posses within the veil,” he referred to a place with God that will come after physical death.

Amazing Grace-

Amazing grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil
A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.

5 thoughts on “Behind The Hymn – Amazing Grace

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