Origin of the Hymn: “Jesus Paid it All”

Written by on January 30, 2022

“How long Pastor’s prayer is this morning,” thought Elvina Hall.

Sitting in the choir loft, Elvina’s mind turned to our need for salvation and the price Jesus paid for it. Words began to form themselves. She had to get them down. But she had no paper. Well, that wasn’t quite true…

Scribbling on the flyleaf of her hymnbook, she wrote:

I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

Not bad. Not bad at all. After service, she handed the words to her pastor. Did his face crease into a little smile at this evidence of her “naughty” behavior? We may never know.

But we do know that an extraordinary “coincidence” took place that day at the Monument Street Methodist Church of Baltimore. Organist John Grape had recently written a new tune and given it to the pastor. The pastor saw that the tune and the poem fit together extremely well. So he united them. In that way, one of the most beloved hymns of the church came into being.

Elvina Hall was 45 at that time. Born on this day, June 4, 1820, she was married first to Richard Hall and then after his death, to a Methodist minister, Thomas Meyers. She died in 1899.

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