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Hymnology: All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name

Recently, I had worked through an arrangement of “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” for worship.  A couple of the upcoming Sundays were calling for a song with this particular emphasis, but I wanted to make it palatable for all types of backgrounds.

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Here is the story behind the hymn:

Edward Perronet, the son of an Anglican vicar, originally introduced “All Hail The Power Of Jesus’ Name.” His family was closely associated with John Wesley of the Anglican Church. The verses written by Perronet have been called “The Coronation Hymn.” The lyrics affirm the kingship of Christ and His authority. Much of the imagery used is from the Book of Revelation and from Jeremiah. The music sounds particularly beautiful when played by a violin. One of the more famous stories surrounding “All Hail The Power Of Jesus’ Name” involves the use of a violin.

A missionary to India named E. P. Scott learned of a wild mountain tribe that had never been introduced to the message of Christ. Since they had never been presented with the gospel, he decided to visit that tribe. When he reached their mountain home, he discovered a group of savages on a war expedition. They took him back to camp and threatened to kill him. He closed his eyes and starting playing ” All Hail The Power Of Jesus’ Name” on his ever-present violin. The natives were so overcome; they dropped their spears and invited Rev. Scott to stay with them. He lived among them for over two years, converting many to Christianity.

In addition to making some chord changes, some dynamic builders, and a key change, we also incorporated a simple chorus to the song.  As the main line of the song focuses on Jesus being “crowned Lord of all,” I wanted to use that line (lyrically and melodically) to bring the old and the new together.  The simple refrain is: “Every knee will bow, every tongue confess, that Jesus You alone, are crowned as Lord of all.”

I absolutely love this hymn!  It gets me so excited because of the deep meaning, the problem is that so many people don’t understand that meaning because some of the dated language in it.  I have often heard that young people don’t know these words, but I have had older people who have sung this song their entire lives say they don’t know what some of the words mean – so here goes a mini-glossary:

Word Meanings:

  • hail – call out to someone to attract attention
  • prostrate – lying stretched out on the ground with one’s face downward
  • diadem – a jeweled crown or headband worn as a symbol of sovereignty
  • chosen seed – selected by God to be his children
  • kindred – one’s family and relations
  • terrestrial – of, on, or relating to the earth
  • yonder – at some distance in the direction indicated
  • throng – a large, densely packed crowd of people

Lyrics (now with an even deeper meaning!):

(1) All hail the power of Jesus’ name!
Let angels prostrate fall,
Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him,
crown Him, crown Him, crown Him,
And crown Him Lord of all.
 
(2) Ye chosen seed of Israel’s race,
Ye ransomed from the fall,
Ye ransomed from the fall;
Hail Him who saves you by His grace,
And crown Him,
crown Him, crown Him, crown Him,
And crown Him Lord of all.
 
(3) Let every kindred, every tribe,
On this terrestrial ball,
On this terrestrial ball,
To Him all majesty ascribe,
And crown Him,
crown him, crown him, crown him,
And crown Him Lord of all.
 
(4) O that with yonder sacred throng
We at His feet may fall,
We at His feet may fall!
We’ll join the everlasting song,
And crown Him,
crown him, crown him, crown him,
And crown Him Lord of all.