hymn lyrics help needed

Hymn Lyrics Search (Please visit the new home page for more information on finding hymn lyrics).

This site hopes to reach out to hymn experts, hymnologists, or anyone with an appreciation for sacred music.

Back in the 1930's, the church I attend, the True Jesus Church (which was established in China) compiled its own internal hymnal of 310 hymns, in Chinese. Most of the hymn lyrics appear to have been directly adapted from English sources. For example, familiar hymn lyrics such as "Amazing Grace", "Bringing In The Sheaves", and "Holy, Holy, Holy" are in this hymnal.

Back in 1992, I was tasked with creating an English-language equivalent to this hymnal. Unfortunately, for about 36 of 310 hymns, we never did track down the original hymn music or hymn lyrics. Now in 2004, I'm tasked again with creating the second edition of this hymnal. One of my wishes is that when we publish this hymnal, we can include the "missing" hymns reunited with their original English hymn lyrics.

I have searched through many online resources and have spent many hours in theological libraries going through old hymnals. I'm just about at the end of my abilities, so this is where I hope to reach out to the Internet community.

I have placed on the next page all the information I have on each "Missing Hymn", including: possible topics of the hymn (based on the Chinese hymn lyrics), the incipit, and the MIDI (audio) file. As you can see, there has already been some great progress, thanks to the efforts of some wonderful people out there.

In thanks for your efforts, a cash reward will be given for the first person who locates each hymn and sends me the information listed below about that hymn. Or, if you prefer, a donation will be made to a 501(c)(3) organization (e.g. charitable, religious, educational organization) of choice:

A photocopy, FAX, or scan of the sheet music (e.g., hymnal page) that shows

  1. Hymn music
  2. Hymn lyrics
  3. Author/Composer

If you can, please post this URL to message boards you may come across that are frequented by Christian music experts, or please e-mail me with suggestions on where I might post to reach as many experts as possible. Thanks!

Are you ready? Then without further adieu, let's Name That Hymn!

God bless,
[email protected]


Some clues that may help you get started:

  1. If you are near a theological library, many have extensive hymnal collections.
  2. These hymns will most likely be in a hymnal published around 1920-1940.
  3. One strategy that has worked fairly well for me has been to find the melody in a Chinese or Japanese-language hymnal that may have circulated in China/Taiwan from 1920-1940. I could then cross-reference the author/composer/tune name to an English-language hymnal.
  4. From the tune, I'd guess that most (90-95%) were composed by Western composers, and a few (5-10%) by Asian composers.


1) Unless documentation for original tunes and lyrics are found, these hymns will remain copyright (c) 1977, 1992 by the True Jesus Church. If original hymns and documentation are found, copyright information will be gladly attributed to the proper source unless, of course, hymns are in the public domain).

2) Payment will be made by check or credit card once it is ascertained that the photocopy/FAX of the original hymn source is accurate and usable. I will have final discretion regarding this.