Hymn Story

Above All

Hymn lists by book of Bible

The song, “Above All,” celebrates the way that Christ is above the things that the world calls great—kings, thrones, and treasures.

This song had its beginning when Paul Baloche (born 1962) was reflecting on how much greater Christ is than the things that the world counts as great.  The words for this song came easily to him, and he wrote them down.  However, the song had no chorus, and so he put it aside.

Then one day Baloche got together with Lenny LeBlanc (born 1951), with whom he had collaborated in writing songs.  He played a number of possibilities for LeBlanc, but “Above All” was the only one that captured LeBlanc’s attention.

When Baloche noted that the song had no chorus, LeBlanc decided to sleep on it to see what might happen.  What happened was that he came up with words for a chorus that contrasted dramatically with the words to the verse.  The verse talks about how much greater Christ is than anything else, but the chorus talks in graphic terms about Jesus’ crucifixion and burial.

The key to this song is that it was Christ’s willingness to give up his exalted nature so that he could come to live among us, minister to us, and die for us.  As Paul expressed it in his letter to the Philippians:

Therefore God also highly exalted him,

and gave to him the name which is above every name;

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

of those in heaven, those on earth, and those under the earth,

and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.(Philippians 2:9-11).

Both Baloche and LaBlanc have had highly successful careers, both as song writers and as performers.  Baloche serves as a worship leader in a church, but his most significant contribution has been his song writing.  He wrote “Open the Eyes of My Heart,” “Hosanna,” and “Your Name.”  His songs have been performed by Michael W. Smith and other A-list Christian recording artists.  LaBlanc had a significant career as a performer before becoming a Christian in 1980.  Since that time, he has focused his work on Christian themes.

Scripture quotations from the World English Bible.

Copyright 2014, Richard Niell Donovan