Systematic theology at its best will result in praise. It is appropriate therefore at the end of each chapter to include a hymn related to the subject of that chapter. In a classroom setting, the hymn can be sung together at the beginning or end of class. Alternatively, an individual reader can sing it privately or simply meditate quietly on the words.
NIV niv—New International Version RSV rsv—Revised Standard Version NASB nasb—New American Standard Bible
For almost every chapter the words of the hymns were found in Trinity Hymnal (Philadelphia: Great Commission Publications, 1990),13 the hymnal of the Presbyterian Church in America and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, but most of them are found in many other common hymnals. Unless otherwise noted,14 the words of these hymns are now in public domain and no longer subject to copyright restrictions: therefore they may be freely copied for overhead projector use or photocopied.
Why have I used so many old hymns? Although I personally like many of the more recent worship songs that have come into wide use, when I began to select hymns that would correspond to the great doctrines of the Christian faith, I realized that the great hymns of the church throughout history have a doctrinal richness and breadth that is still unequaled. For several of the chapters in this book, I know of no modern worship song that covers the same subject in an extended way—perhaps this can be a challenge to modern songwriters to study these chapters and then write songs reflecting the teaching of Scripture on the respective subjects.15
For this chapter, however, I found no hymn ancient or modern that thanked God for the privilege of studying systematic theology from the pages of Scripture. Therefore I have selected a hymn of general praise, which is always appropriate.
"O FOR A THOUSAND TONGUES TO SING" This hymn by Charles Wesley (1707-88) begins by wishing for "a thousand tongues" to sing God's praise. Verse 2 is a prayer that God would "assist me" in singing his praise throughout the earth. The remaining verses give praise to Jesus (vv. 3-6) and to God the Father (v. 7). O for a thousand tongues to sing My great Redeemer's praise, The glories of my God and King, The triumphs of His grace. My gracious Master and my God, Assist me to proclaim, To spread through all the earth abroad, The honors of Thy name. Jesus! the name that charms our fears, That bids our sorrows cease; 'Tis music in the sinner's ears, 'Tis life and health and peace. He breaks the pow'r of reigning sin, He sets the prisoner free; His blood can make the foulest clean; His blood availed for me. He speaks and, list'ning to His voice, New life the dead receive; The mournful, broken hearts rejoice; The humble poor believe.
13 13. This hymn book is completely revised from a similar hymnal of the same title published by the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in 1961.
14 14. Copyright restrictions still apply to the hymns in chapters 21, 37, and 51, and these may not be reproduced without permission from the owner of the copyright.
15 15. In appendix 3 (pp. 1221-22) I have listed the first lines of contemporary worship songs that correspond to twenty-six of the fifty-seven chapters in this book.
Hear him, ye deaf; his praise, ye dumb, Your loosened tongues employ, Ye blind, behold your Savior come; And leap, ye lame, for joy. Glory to God and praise and love Be ever, ever giv'n By saints below and saints above— The church in earth and heav'n. Author: Charles Wesley, 1739, alt.
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