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  • Writer's pictureDr. Roger D Duke



"How Firm a Foundation" is a Christian hymn published in 1787 by John Rippon—a Baptist minister. The obvious theme of this hymn is the firm foundation that God provides to us in a turbulent world. Rippon rejoices in the fact that no matter what circumstances where we find ourselves, we can rely upon the solid foundation of the Lord to keep us calm and encouraged. “Most hymnals simply list the author of this hymn as ‘K” because he wanted to remain anonymous. While the author remained a mystery for a while, most musicologists now agree that . . . Rippon’s assistant, Robert Keene, was probably the author.”

“The title of the hymn [as it appeared in the hymnal] was ‘Scripture Promises,’ and . . . the words of 2 Peter 1: 4 were printed about the first stanza: ‘Exceeding great and precious promises’ (KJV). Each stanza of the hymn emphasizes a different promise of God’s Word, with the great climax coming in the last verse, ‘The soul that on Jesus still leans for repose . . . I’ll never, no never, never forsake.’” [1] [2]

Verse One

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent Word! What more can He say than to you He hath said, who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?

Verse Two

"In every condition, in sickness, in health, in poverty's vale, or abounding in wealth, at home and abroad, on the land, on the sea, as days may demand, shall thy strength ever be."

Verse Three

"Fear not, I am with thee; O be not dismayed, for I am thy God and will still give thee aid. I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand."

Verse Four

"When through the deep waters I call thee to go, the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow; for I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless, and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress."

Verse Five

"When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply. The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine."

Verse Six

"The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose I will not, I will not desert to his foes; that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I'll never, no never, no never forsake!"

Source: Hymns to the Living God #241 / Internet address:

[1] Robert K. Brown and Mark R. Norton, eds., “How Firm a Foundation,” in The One Year Book of Hymns: 365 Devotional Readings Based on Great Hymns of the Faith (Wheaton: Tyndale Publishers, 1995), February 9.

Note: The blog-poster edited and crafted the article from the sources above.

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