I Need Thee, Precious Jesus

Representative Text

1 I need thee, precious Jesus,
for I am full of sin;
my soul is dark and guilty,
my heart is dead within.
I need the cleansing fountain
where I can always flee,
the blood of Christ most precious,
the sinner's perfect plea.

2 I need thee, precious Jesus,
for I am very poor;
a stranger and a pilgrim,
I have no earthly store.
I need the love of Jesus
to cheer me on my way,
to guide my doubting footsteps,
to be my strength and stay.

3 I need thee, precious Jesus,
and hope to see thee soon,
encircled with the rainbow
and seated on thy throne.
There, with thy blood-bought children,
my joy shall ever be,
to sing my Jesus' praises,
to gaze, O Lord, on thee.

Source: Trinity Psalter Hymnal #455

Author: Frederick Whitfield

Whitfield, Frederick, B.A., son of H. Whitfield, was born at Threapwood, Shropshire, Jan. 7, 1829, and educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where he took his B.A. in 1859. On taking Holy Orders, he was successively curate of Otley, vicar of Kirby-Ravensworth, senior curate of Greenwich, and Vicar of Stanza John's, Bexley. In 1875 he was preferred to St. Mary's, Hastings. Mr. Whitfield's works in prose and verse number upwards of thirty, including Spiritual unfolding from the Word of Life; Voices from the Valley Testifying of Jesus; The Word Unveiled; Gleanings from Scripture, &c. Several of his hymns appeared in his Sacred Poems and Prose, 1861, 2nd Series, 1864; The Casket, and Quiet Hours in the Sanctuary. The hymn by which he is most wid… Go to person page >

Text Information


I need Thee, precious Jesus. F. Whitfield. [Longing for Jesus.] This hymn first appeared as a hymn-sheet in 1855, in 6 stanzas of 4 double lines. It was then included in the author's Sacred Poems and Prose. On the publication of this volume in 1861, the author found that his first stanza, which began,
"I need Thee, precious Jesus, for I am full of sin,"
was omitted without his sanction, and the hymn began with stanza ii.:—
"I need Thee, precious Jesu, for I am very poor."
Although the author at once reprinted the full text in self-defence, the mutilated hymn
came into common use, and was generally received as the original. Both it and the original (usually in 4 stanzas) are in extensive use in all English-speaking countries. In a more or less complete form it has also been translated into numerous languages, including French, Dutch, German, Arabic, &c. The author specially desires that his original text may be followed, as in Bishop Kyle's Hymns for the Church, 1860.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



Composed by Samuel S. Wesley (PHH 206), AURELIA (meaning "golden") was published as a setting for “Jerusalem the Golden” in Selection of Psalms and Hymns, which was compiled by Charles Kemble and Wesley in 1864. Though opinions vary concerning the tune's merits (Henry J. Gauntlett once condemned…

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Instances (1 - 6 of 6)

Ambassador Hymnal #489

Praise y Adoración #318a

The Baptist Hymnal #315


The Cyber Hymnal #2968

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Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #497

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Trinity Psalter Hymnal #455

Include 294 pre-1979 instances
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