“The 50 Greatest Hymns of All Time”

Categories: Hymn Theory, M. W. Bassford

I generated this list using three criteria:

  1. DOCTRINAL DEPTH.  Does the hymn have something spiritually meaningful to say?  Is its meaning profound or superficial?
  2. CONGREGATIONAL SUITABILITY.  Is the hymn simple enough that an average a-cappella congregation (80 in attendance on Sunday morning) can sing it easily?
  3. CONGREGATIONAL APPEAL.  Do worshipers enjoy singing this hymn?  Is it widely used?

Additionally, I did not consider (and will not include) any hymn written by me or by anyone I know to avoid introducing bias. 

There are many worthy hymns that did not make the Top-50 cut.  If you think an omitted hymn should be on the list, leave a comment identifying both it and the hymn that you think it should replace.  You may change my mind!


Abide with Me (1847)

All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name (1779)

All People That on Earth Do Dwell (1560)

Be Still, My Soul (1752)

Be with Me, Lord (1935)

Footprints of Jesus (1871)

For the Beauty of the Earth (1864)

Give Me the Bible (1883)

Great Is Thy Faithfulness (1923)

Hallelujah!  Praise Jehovah! (1893?)

Hallelujah!  What a Savior (1875)

He Hideth My Soul (1890)

Higher Ground (1892)

How Deep the Father’s Love (1995)

How Firm a Foundation (1787)

I Am Thine, O Lord (1875)

I Need Thee Every Hour (1872)

In Christ Alone (2001)

In the Hour of Trial (1834)

It Is Well with My Soul (1873)

Jesus, Draw Me Ever Nearer (2001)

Just As I Am (1834)

Lord, We Come Before Thee Now (1745)

My Jesus, I Love Thee (1862)

Nearer, My God, to Thee (1840)

Nearer, Still Nearer (1898)

O Worship the King (1833)

On Zion’s Glorious Summit (1803)

Only in Thee (1905)

Our God, He Is Alive (1966)

Purer in Heart, O God (1877)

Something for Thee (1862)

Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus (1858)

Sun of My Soul (1820)

Sweet By and By (1867)

Sweet Hour of Prayer! (1845)

Take Time to Be Holy (1874)

Teach Me Thy Way (1919)

The Battle Belongs to the Lord (1985)

The Last Mile of the Way (1908)

The Solid Rock (1836)

There Is a Habitation (1882)

This World Is Not My Home (1919)

Though Your Sins Be as Scarlet (1887)

‘Tis Midnight, and on Olive’s Brow (1822)

Trust and Obey (1887)

Victory in Jesus (1939)

We Saw Thee Not (1834)

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (1707)

Why Did My Savior Come to Earth? (1892)