Our Hymn Writers and Their Hymns, by Faith Cook (Darlington, England: Evangelical Press: 2005), 400 pp., paper $10.99

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The stories behind our Christian hymns and the lives of the hymn writers have long fascinated me. Our Hymn Writers is perhaps the finest book I have read on this topic. Faith Cook has carefully researched her subject and provided her reader with a wealth of information which will not only enlighten but encourage the child of God.

Cook begins with a chapter of short clips dealing with hymn writers in ancient times, such as Ambrose, Luther, Milton and Baxter. The final two chapters are similar in that she briefly details the lives and works of lesser known and more recent writers of Christian verse. The other thirteen chapters each describe in more detail the lives and hymns of one individual. These include: Watts, Newton, Cowper, Montgomery, Lyte, Bonan, Havergal and Crosby.

Unlike most Christian songs being written today, many of the hymns of the past were written due to circumstances, many difficult and sorrowful, or as aids to teaching and remembering biblical truths. Reading about the hymn writers lives and the words they subsequently wrote will move the hearts of God’s people closer to His. I highly recommend this book.

Reviewed by Gary E. Gilley, Pastor-teacher, Southern View Chapel

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