"Man of Sorrows," What a Name

Representative Text

1 Man of sorrows what a name
for the Son of God, who came
ruined sinners to reclaim:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

2 Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
in my place condemned he stood,
sealed my pardon with his blood:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

3 Guilty, helpless, lost were we;
blameless Lamb of God was he,
sacrificed to set us free:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

4 He was lifted up to die;
"It is finished" was his cry;
now in heaven exalted high:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

5 When he comes, our glorious King,
all his ransomed home to bring,
then anew this song we'll sing:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Psalter Hymnal, (Gray), 1987

Author: P. P. Bliss

Bliss, Philip, b. at Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, July 9, 1838. In 1864 he went to Chicago in the employ of Dr. George F. Root, the musician, where he was engaged in conducting musical Institutes, and in composing Sunday School melodies. Originally a Methodist, he became, about 1871, a choirman of the First Congregational Church, Chicago, and the Superintendent of its Sunday Schools. In 1874 he joined D. W. Whittle in evangelical work. To this cause he gave (although a poor man) the royalty of his Gospel Songs, which was worth some thirty thousand dollars. His death was sudden. It occurred in the railway disaster at Ashtabula, Ohio, Dec. 30, 1876. ... Some of his verses have obtained wide popularity in most English-speaking countries. T… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: "Man of sorrows," what a name
Title: "Man of Sorrows," What a Name
Author: P. P. Bliss (1875)
Language: English
Liturgical Use: Communion Songs


Scripture References: st. 1 = Isa. 53:3-6 st. 4 = John 19:30 Philip P. Bliss (b. Clearfield County, PA, 1838; d. Ashtabula, OH, 1876) wrote both text and tune of this hymn that was published in The International Lessons Monthly of 1875 with the title “Redemption.” "Man of Sorrows" is a reference to the prophet Isaiah's depiction of the "suffering servant" (Isa. 52: 13-53: 12). The full text draws on that prophetic vision and on the gospel narratives of Christ's crucifixion and atoning death. While much of the text affirms objectively the redemptive work of Christ, stanza 2 makes a very personal confession (like 386): "in my place condemned he stood, sealed my pardon with his blood." Stanzas 4 and 5 move from Christ's death to his exaltation at the right hand of God and to his return as "glorious King." Each stanza concludes with an "alleluia" to so great a Savior. Bliss left home as a young boy to make a living by working on farms and in lumber camps, all while trying to continue his schooling. He was converted at a revival meeting at age twelve. Bliss became an itinerant music teacher, making house calls on horseback during the winter, and during the summer attending the Normal Academy of Music in Genesco, New York. His first song was published in 1864, and in 1868 Dwight L. Moody advised him to become a singing evangelist. For the last two years of his life Bliss traveled with Major D. W. Whittle and led the music at revival meetings in the Midwest and Southern United States. Bliss and Ira D. Sankey (PHH 73) published a popular series of hymn collections entitled Gospel Hymns. The first book of the series, Gospel Songs, was published in 1874. The story of Bliss's tragic death at the age of thirty-eight is told at PHH 479. Liturgical Use: A hymn of redemption useful on many occasions of worship; Lord's Supper; Lent; because of the "Hallelujah" refrain avoid using during Holy Week (so as not to "steal the thunder" of the Easter "alleluias"). --Psalter Hymnal Handbook


[Man of Sorrows, what a name]

HALLELUJAH! WHAT A SAVIOR, composed by Bliss, is sometimes called GETHSEMANE. This strong tune is characterized by repeated tones and by rhythmic interest in the final phrase. Sing stanzas 1-4 in harmony in fairly strict rhythm. Sing stanza 5 in unison with some rhythmic freedom on the final phrase.…

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