Hymn Story

Come, Christians, Join to Sing

Hymn lists
by book of Bible

This hymn, “Come, Christians, Join to Sing,” was written originally for children and was entitled, “Come Children Join to Sing.”  It was written by Christian Henry Bateman, who also wrote a number of other children’s hymns.  He published them in a children’s hymnal entitled The Sacred Song Book, which was very popular in Scotland and sold more than six million copies.  Over time, adults found that they enjoyed singing this hymn, and changed the title to “Come, Christians, Join to Sing.”

Christian Henry Bateman was originally ordained as a Moravian pastor in Scotland.  Then, at age 30, he changed to the Congregational Church—and finally at age 56 was ordained in the Church of England.  It was while he was a Congregationalist that he wrote this hymn.

“Come, Christians, Join to Sing” is a call to singing—joyful singing—singing in praise of Christ our King.  It repeats a pair of words, “Alleluia! Amen!” three times in each verse.  Alleluia (or Hallelujah) comes from the Hebrew and means “Praise God.” “Amen!” is Greek and means “Truly.”  So this hymn calls us to praise God truly!

The hymn tune usually sung with this hymn is known as “Spanish Melody.”  Benjamin Carr, a Philadelphia music publisher, put the tune together with Bateman’s words.  One of the reasons the hymn has been so popular for nearly two centuries is that the tune has the same vigorous, joyful character as the words.  It is fun to sing!!!

Copyright 2007, Richard Niell Donovan