709

Jesus Loves Me

Full Text

1 Jesus loves me! This I know,
for the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to him belong;
they are weak, but he is strong.

Refrain:
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

2 Jesus loves me– he who died
heaven's gate to open wide.
He will wash away my sin,
let his little child come in. [Refrain]

3 Jesus loves me, this I know,
as he loved so long ago,
taking children on his knee,
saying, "Let them come to me." [Refrain]

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Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

“Jesus loves me” weaves together some of the most basic truths of the childlike Christian s experience with the Lord: Jesus loves me, Jesus saves me, and Jesus invites me to come to him. The refrain simply emphasizes that we know Jesus' love from the Bible.

 

Bert Polman, Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

The Catechism says that those who know Christ’s forgiveness are “to thank God for such deliverance” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 2). As a result, “With our whole lives we may show that we are thankful to God for his benefits, so that he may be praised through us, and that we may be assured of our faith by its fruits, and so that by our godly living our neighbors may be won over to Christ” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 32, Question and Answer 86).

709

Jesus Loves Me

Additional Prayers

A Prayer of Acclamation
O Lord Jesus Christ, you blessed babies and made them a model for us all. You blessed babies who cannot do anything for themselves. You made them our teachers, because they simply receive nourishment and love. So now our hearts are as open as the mouth of a baby. Pour in nourishment and love. We know you love us. The Bible tells us so. Amen.
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
709

Jesus Loves Me

Hymn Story/Background

Anna B. Warner wrote the first two stanzas of this beloved children's hymn text in 1859. It was published in Say and Seal (1860), a novel Warner wrote in collaboration with her sister Susan, author of another popular children's hymn, “Jesus Bids Us Shine.” In this now-forgotten novel a dying boy, Johnny Fax, is comforted by his church school teacher, who sings to him the four original stanzas of this hymn.
 
Both Anna and Susan Warner's writings are marked by what some judge to be "undistinguished religious sentimentality." But those who are critical of the text's simplicity may do well to remember what the great theologian Karl Barth once said when asked about his most profound theological discovery:
Jesus loves me, this I know,
for the Bible tells me so.
 
The text has been translated into many other languages. The version in Lift Up Your Hearts includes the original stanzas 1 and 2 and adds a stanza derived from David R. McGuire's rewriting of the text, which he prepared for the hymnal for the Anglican Church of Canada and the United Church of Canada, entitled Hymn Book (1971).
 
“Jesus loves me” weaves together some of the most basic truths of the childlike Christian s experience with the Lord: Jesus loves me, Jesus saves me, and Jesus invites me to come to him. The refrain simply emphasizes that we know Jesus' love from the Bible.
 
William B. Bradbury added a refrain line to Warner's stanzas and wrote the tune JESUS LOVES ME in 1861. The hymn was published in Bradbury's church school collection The Golden Shower (1862). The tune is also known as CHINA in some hymnals, presumably because of its popularity among missionaries to that land.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Anna B. Warner (b. Long Island, NY, 1827; d. Constitution Island, near West Point, NY, 1915) and her sister Susan wrote popular novels under the pen names Amy Lothrop and Elizabeth Wetherell. They also taught Bible classes for the cadets at West Point, who were ferried to the Warner home on Constitution Island. After she died, Warner was buried with military honors at West Point in honor of this service. She wrote devotional poetry and compiled two collections: Hymns of the Church Militant (1858) and Wayfaring Hymns, Original and Translated (1869).
— Bert Polman

David R. McGuire (b. St. Catharines, ON, Canada, 1929; d. Richmond Hill, ON, Canada, 1971) was educated at University College and Wycliffe College, both at the University of Toronto. Ordained in the Anglican Church, he served four congregations in Ontario including Church of Christ the King in Etobicoke, Toronto (1959-1969). McGuire was strongly interested in hymnody and was on the committee that produced The Hymn Book (1971), published by two Canadian denominations—the Anglican Church and the United Church. He also edited a collection of contemporary folk hymns, Sing 1 (1972).
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

William B. Bradbury (b. York, ME, 1816; d. Montclair, NJ, 1868) came from a musical family who encouraged him from an early age to learn to play various musical instruments. In 1830 his family moved to Boston. There he studied singing with Lowell Mason and sang in Mason's Bowdoin Street Church choir. In 1841 Bradbury moved to Brooklyn, New York, and became the organist at the Baptist Tabernacle in New York City. He organized children's singing classes, which developed into annual singing festivals and stimulated the teaching of music in the New York public schools. In 1854 William joined his brother Edward and a German piano maker to begin a piano firm, which became the Bradbury Piano Company. Bradbury wrote or edited sixty collections of popular music and edited and published numerous song books, including The Psalmodist (1844) and Golden Shower of Sunday School Melodies (1862). He is sometimes known as "the father of Sunday school hymnody."
— Bert Polman
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