February 26

Songs for the Lent II: Nothing but the Blood of Jesus

 One of the three popular hymns about Jesus’ redeeming blood, “Nothing but the Blood of Jesus” also incorporates an upbeat rhythm.

Hence, it’s good for the heart to sing along with the bluegrass rendition of this widely sang hymn of the 1950’s!

(Song begins at 0:16.)

“Nothing but the blood of Jesus” feat. The Shiloh Singers

A hymn in banjo, fiddle, mandolin, bass, Dobro, and guitar? Totally love it!

And yes, only Christ’s blood can purify us.

Songs for the Lent II: Nothing but the Blood of Jesus 1
Song’s Anatomy

The hymn was written in 1876 and first published in “Gospel Hymns.”

Quoted underneath the title was Hebrews 9:22. The scripture reference adds weight to the song’s theme. Both pertained to mankind’s redemption through the finish work of Christ on the cross, with the necessity of the “shedding of the blood.” His blood is said to have the power to cleanse and cover “multitude of sins” committed from the past, present, and future.

This would be best sang in a congregation. Traditionally, the musical accompaniment used were piano and organs. For smaller groups, a guitar would do.

Every verse uses a call-and-response style. For example, one will sing the first part of the line, “What can wash away my sing?” And the rest will respond, “Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

During Holy Week, today’s hymn is usually picked for the Tuesday lectionary, especially to reinforce the reading in John 12:20-36.

The Songwriter
Songs for the Lent II: Nothing but the Blood of Jesus 2Robert Lowry (1826-1899)

He was an educator and a preacher who pastored Baptist churches in Pennsylvania, New York City, Brooklyn, and Plainfield, New Jersey. While serving in Brooklyn, he collaborated with William H. Doane in producing Sunday school music. That was when he became known for his gospel songs.

He wrote “Nothing but the Blood of Jesus” after he decided to settle as a pastor in New Jersey.

(Stay tuned for more ‘Songs for the Lent.’)


bluegrass, gospel, hymn

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