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Jesus the Lord Said, "I Am the Bread"

Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

Based on the “I Am” sayings of Christ in the Gospel of John, this text lends itself to worship that is either quietly meditative or joyfully expressive – or both! 


Sing! A New Creation

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Before singing this song, consider reading Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 7, Question and Answer 20: “Only those are saved who through true faith are grafted into Christ and accept all his benefits.”


Additionally, Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 11, Question and Answer 30 says, “Either Jesus is not a perfect savior, or those who in true faith accept this savior have in him all they need for their salvation.”


Jesus the Lord Said, "I Am the Bread"


Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness
but will have the light of life.”
—from John 8:12, NIV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Jesus the Lord Said, "I Am the Bread"

Tune Information


Musical Suggestion

The melody can be accompanied or simply sung in unison. Each stanza could be sung by a solo voice singing the first lines freely, with all joining at the repetition of “Jesus the Lord…” If solo instruments are available, double the melody with different instruments and/or different organ stops on each stanza, either playing in unison or octaves. It is also effective with simple strums on a guitar (one for each half note). 

Jesus the Lord Said, "I Am the Bread"

Hymn Story/Background

I arranged "Jesus the Lord said..." for the Canadian Presbyterian Book of Praise (1997). Some of the many "global" selections in this book were presented in a manner true to their tradition: with percussion, ostinato or pedal tones. But some songs composed by non-Western composers are clothed, as it were, in Western garb. This song seemed to invite this kind of treatment, with somewhat jazzy piano harmonies. 
— Andrew Donaldson

Author Information

The translator of the first five stanzas of this text, Carl Dermott Monahan (b. South India, 1906; d. 1957), was born in South India, the son of a Wesleyan Methodist missionary. Educated at Kingswood School and Cambridge in England, he worked in education in the Hyderabad district of India from 1931-1944. He became principal of Andhra Union Theological College in 1946. This hymn is one of a number of his translations of Telegu and Urdu hymns. The source of the Indian melody is unknown. Bert Polman wrote two more stanzas based on similar passages in John. 

Bert Frederick Polman (b. Rozenburg, Zuid Holland, the Netherlands, 1945; d. Grand Rapids, Michigan, July 1, 2013) was chair of the Music Department at Calvin College and senior research fellow for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Dr. Bert studied at Dordt College (BA 1968), the University of Minnesota (MA 1969, PhD in musicology 1981), and the Institute for Christian Studies. Dr. Bert was a longtime is professor of music at Redeemer College in Ancaster, Ontario, and organist at Bethel Christian Reformed Church, Waterdown, Ontario. His teaching covered a wide range of courses in music theory, music history, music literature, and worship, and Canadian Native studies. His research specialty was Christian hymnody. He was also an organist, a frequent workshop leader at music and worship conferences, and contributor to journals such as The Hymn and Reformed Worship. Dr. Bert was co-editor of the Psalter Hymnal Handbook (1989), and served on the committees that prepared Songs for Life (1994) and Sing! A New Creation (2001), both published by CRC Publications.
— Emily Brink

Composer Information

Andrew Donaldson (b. 1951) is Worship Consultant to the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland, sent as a missionary from the United Methodist Church, USA. He and his wife, Wendy, live in Geneva. For many years before that he was music director at Beaches Presbyterian Church in Toronto.  He has written music for lyricists, lyrics for other composers, and his songs and hymns appear in many collections. He has given workshops on songs of the world church from eastern Poland to western Canada. He was co-editor of The Book of Praise for the Presbyterian Church in Canada, is a past-president of the Hymn Society in the US and Canada, and in 2007 received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Knox College, University of Toronto, for his work in congregational song.
— Andrew Donaldson

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