Amazing Grace: The Scripture Texts


77818   

1chron17vv16 17


 Olney Church


John Newton based his hymn Amazing Grace on this chapter in the Bible: 1 Chronicles 17.

He took his 3 sermon points for the New Year from this passage of Scripture:

  • look back

  • look around

  • look forward

     

1.  Look back

The Lord reminded David what he had been, I took thee … from following the sheep (verse 7). David marvels that God has brought him from such a lowly position, Who am I, O Lord God?  (verse 16) In the same way, Newton expresses his own wonder:

    Amazing grace…
    that saved a wretch like me.

 

2.  Look around

The Lord tells David, I have been with thee whithersoever thou hast walked, and cut off all thine enemies from before thee… (verse 8). David considers how the Lord hast brought me hitherto (verse 16). So Newton reflects on his life:

    Through many dangers, toils and snares,
    I have already come.
    ‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far…

 

3.  Look forward

The Lord promises I will build thee a house I will raise up thy seedI will establish his throne for ever (verses 10-12). David is overawed that God has spoken of thy servant’s house for a great while to come… thou... hast promised this goodness unto thy servant (verses 17, 26). So Newton rejoices in the Lord's promises:

    The Lord has promised good to me,
    His word my hope secures;
    He will my shield and portion be,
    As long as life endures.

    … God who called me here below,
    Will be forever mine.


The more you read 1 Chronicles 17, the more clues you will find for the words of Amazing Grace, for instance:

some of Newton's matching Scripture and hymn verses:

v7 ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep...' Amazing grace…
that saved a wretch like me.
v8 'and I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you' Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come
v9 'And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more...' Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
v10 'And I will subdue all your enemies.' He will my shield and portion be
v16 'Who am I, O Lord God...?' That saved a wretch like me!
v16 '...that you have brought me thus far?' 'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far
v17 'You have also spoken ... for a great while to come' As long as life endures
v23 And now, O Lord, let the word that you have spoken concerning your servant ... be established forever, and do as you have spoken His word my hope secures
v26 ...you have promised this good thing to your servant The Lord has promised good to me
v12
v14
v22
v23
v24
v27
 (the word occurs eight times!)
 

"... for ever"

Will be forever mine.

Amazing grace!  (how sweet the sound)
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.          

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace those fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believed!             

Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.

 
John Newton, Olney Hymns, 1779, Book 1, Hymn 41
 

Marylynn Rouse, 02/01/2014