I am the song leader in my church. I am not very proficient as a musician or a choral director. I pray that, someday soon, God will send someone more capable, to take this ministry from me. But for the time being it is my responsibility to select the music and lead the congregation in the singing every week.

I take that responsibility seriously. The hymns and songs that I select must be doctrinally sound, they must be appropriate for worship with a God-centered worldview, and, withing those parameters, I try to select music that will reinforce and, support the text and subject of my pastor’s messages.

Some of us have been singing the hymns for years; the words roll off our lips but the messages often don't engage our minds or penetrate our hearts. With the apostle Paul, I want the congregation to "sing with understanding."

So for the past couple years, it has been my practice to select one hymn each week, research it, and then highlight it with a short introductory commentary so that the congregation will be more informed regarding the origin, the author's testimony, or the doctrinal significance of the hymns we sing.

It is my intention here with this blog, to archive these hymn commentaries for my reference and to make them freely available to other church song leaders. For ease of reference, all the hymn commentaries in this blog will be titled IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. Other posts (which will be music ministry related opinion pieces) will be printed in lower case letters.

I know that some of the comments contain traces of my unique style, but please feel free to adapt them and use the content any way you can for the edification of your congregation and to the glory of God.

All I ask is that you leave a little comment should you find something helpful.

Ralph M. Petersen

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Friday, March 18, 2016


All sales are final.

We don’t use the words “redeem” or “redemption” much in our ordinary speech today, but those were common words in day-to-day life in the ancient world. 

The terms were used to describe commercial transactions in the local market. There are several different Greek words translated "redeem" or "redemption" over 150 times in Bible texts.

Image result for rhino money1) One of those words was used in regard to making a purchase in the market.  It is applied spiritually to the work of Christ in saving us. “You were bought with a price (I Cor. 6:20).  In other words, we have been purchased by God, in the slave market of sin.

2) In another sense, it meant to buy out of the market, as used in Gal. 3:13 “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law” (Gal. 3:13).  It has the sense that the purchased item is permanently removed from any further sale.  The transaction is final; there are no returns.

3) A third word for "redeem" means, to loose and set free.  We see that in Titus 2:14 where Christ “gave Himself that He might redeem us.”  And again in 1 Pet. 1:18-19 which says, “You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, …but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”   

In the slave market of sin, Jesus purchased our freedom with His own life.

This redemption was foreshadowed in the deliverance of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt through the blood of the Passover Lamb and in the Old Testament sacrificial system in general when the innocent sacrifice died in place of the guilty sinner.  The fulfillment of all that is found in Christ, our Redeemer.   It is through the love and “infinite mercy” of God, that we are “Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.”


Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed through His infinite mercy,
His child and forever I am.

Redeemed, and so happy in Jesus,
No language my rapture can tell;
I know that the light of His presence
With me doth continually dwell.

I think of my blessed Redeemer,
I think of Him all the day long:
I sing, for I cannot be silent;
His love is the theme of my song.

I know I shall see in His beauty
The King in whose law I delight;
Who lovingly guardeth my footsteps,
And giveth me songs in the night.

Redeemed, redeemed, 
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.  
Redeemed, redeemed,
His child and forever I am.


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