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In the Beginning Was the Word Eternal

In the beginning was the Word eternal

Versifier: Bertus Frederick Polman (1985)
Published in 3 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, MusicXML
Audio files: MIDI
Representative text cannot be shown for this hymn due to copyright.

Versifier: Bertus Frederick Polman

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 orga… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: In the beginning was the Word eternal
Title: In the Beginning Was the Word Eternal
Versifier: Bertus Frederick Polman (1985)
Language: English
Copyright: © 1987, Faith Alive Christian Resources


Scripture References:
st. 1 = John 1:1-1
st. 2 = John 1:5, 9-11
st. 3 = John 1:12-13
st. 4= John 1:14, 17-18

In the prologue to his gospel account, John declares explicitly that Christ has been with God and is God from time eternal, and that Christ has been at work in creation and re-creation making known the true God. This profound passage is filled with theologically rich terms such as "Word," "light," "became flesh," and "full of grace and truth." "In the Beginning" is a setting of John 1:1-5, 9-14, 17-18, covering most of John's prologue.

Bert Polman (PHH 37) versified these passages in 1985 for use by Fellowship Christian Reformed Church, Rexdale, Ontario, where he was organist at the time. The versification is unrhymed in order to include many direct quotations from John 1.

Liturgical Use:
Advent; Christmas; Epiphany; a sung confession of faith as an alternate to the Apostles' or Nicene Creed.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook



Polman wrote the text with the Israeli folk tune LINDESFARNE in mind. The tune was published in its current arrangement in the Oxford children's hymnal Their Words My Thoughts (1983). A charming tune in minor tonality, LINDESFARNE features a striking climax at the end of the second line that creates…

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VIOLA (Huffman)

Hughes M. Huffman (PHH 123) composed VIOLA in 1976. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship first published the tune in Hymns II (1976) and used it widely at the 1976 IVCF Urbana Conference as a setting for E. Margaret Clarkson's text "Our God Is Mighty." A strong tune with a bold harmonization that suits…

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Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #218
  • Full Score (PDF, XML)
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF)
With Heart and Voice: songs for all God's children #39
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF)
  • Full Score (PDF, XML)


Instances (1 - 3 of 3)
Text InfoTune InfoScoreAudio

Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #218

Singing the New Testament #3


With Heart and Voice #39

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