Story Behind the Hymn More About Jesus
Written by G Njuguna on February 4, 2024
This month we embark on stories behind hymns and today we look at more about Jesus.
Eliza Hewitt (1851-1920) wrote this song as she was studying the promises of God that had been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The more she studied, the more excited she became as she saw Scripture fulfilled in every aspect of the life of Jesus. All Scripture, she discovered, focused on Jesus Christ.
It is especially significant that Eliza was so faithfully seeking God at this point in her life. At the time, she was recovering from a severe spinal injury. A Philadelphia schoolteacher, Eliza had been struck in the back with a heavy slate by one of her students. She became a virtual shut-in for many years… but eventually was able to be involved in the ministries of her church, the Calvin Presbyterian Church.
Eliza was never able to go back to teaching in public schools, but she did continue to be involved in Sunday School; at one point, her class had as many as 200 children! There, she was able to combine the 2 great loves of her life: children and Jesus.
She wrote several hymns you have heard, “When We All Get to Heaven,” “Sunshine in My Soul,” “Will there be any Stars in My Crown?” and this hymn.
Lyricist Eliza E. Hewitt (1851–1920) and composer John R. Sweney (1837–1899) were lifelong residents of Philadelphia and the nearby communities of Chester and West Chester, Pennsylvania. Hewitt was trained as a teacher and spent most of her career working with church Sunday Schools, including Tabernacle (Presbyterian) Church in Philadelphia, Olivet Presbyterian Church, the Philadelphia Primary Union, and Calvin Presbyterian Church.
In support of her methods, she also wrote poems and songs. In the mid 1880s, her work came to the attention of Sweney, who at the time was an established musician, composer, songbook compiler, and fellow Presbyterian. For at least ten years, Sweney was in charge of the music at Bethany Presbyterian Church and Sunday School in Philadelphia. One of their first published collaborations was “More about Jesus,” which was included in Glad Hallelujahs (Philadelphia: Thos. T. Tasker, 1887