Christ Is the World's True Light

Author: G. W. Briggs

George Wallace Briggs is a Canon of Worcester Cathedral and one of the most distinguished British hymn writers and hymnologists of today. Six of his hymns appear in the Episcopal Hymnal of 1940 (American). Another hymn on the Bible entitled "Word of the living God" was written for the 25th Anniversary of the British Bible Reading Fellowship and was sung in Westminster Abbey on June 5, 1947. It has been widely used since that time. Canon Briggs is a leading member of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland. He is also the composer of several hymn times, six of which have appeared in British hymnals. In addition to his work as a clergy man of the Church of England and an hymnologist, he has interest himself actively in the field of reli… Go to person page >


Scripture References:
st. 1 = John 8:12, John 12:46, 2 Pet. 1:19
st. 2 = Isa. 2:4, Mic. 4:1-5, Gal. 3:28
st. 3 = Isa. 9:5-7, 1 John 2:2, Rom. 8:19-23

George W. Briggs (PHH 308) wrote this text as a "missionary hymn" to emphasize one of the concepts of modern missions: “In Christ all races meet.” The text was published in the Advent section of Oxford's Songs of Praise (1931) and in Briggs's Songs of Faith (1945), in which it was entitled "The Light of the World."

The text begins by affirming Christ's own saying, "I am the Light of the world" (John 8: 12). Christ is the light and daystar who brings his people salvation from the darkness of sin. Borrowing one of Paul's memorable teachings in Galatians 3:28 and Jesus' prayer for unity in John 17, the text confesses the essential unity of all humanity and especially the oneness of the family of God. Only when the nations and all peoples submit to Christ's reign will our "groaning" world experience true peace and redemption.

Liturgical Use:
Worldwide communion; ecumenical and missions services; Advent; Epiphany; many other occasions of worship.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1988



Also known as: WAS FRAG ICH NACH DER WELT O GOTT DU FROMMER GOTT Composed by Ahasuerus Fritsch (b. Mücheln on the Geissel, near Merseburg, Germany, 1629; d. Rudolstadt, Germany, 1701), DARMSTADT first appeared in his Himmels-Lust und Welt-Unlust (1679). The melody was altered when it was publishe…

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Percy E. B. Coller (b. Liverpool, England, 1895; d. unknown) composed ST. JOAN and submitted it anonymously for publication in The Hymnal 1940, where it was set to Briggs's text. Coller must have enjoyed the companionship of a saintly wife because he named this tune in her honor. As a boy chorister…

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Instances (1 - 20 of 20)Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
Ancient and Modern: hymns and songs for refreshing worship #610
Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #501
Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #456Page Scan
Common Praise: A new edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern #396Page Scan
Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #102
Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church #542
Hymns Ancient & Modern, New Standard Edition #346
Hymns and Psalms: a Methodist and ecumenical hymn book #456
Hymns for a Pilgrim People: a congregational hymnal #78
Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #323
Hymns Old and New: New Anglican #78
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #600Text InfoTune InfoAudio
Rejoice in the Lord #181
Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal #345
Sing Glory: Hymns, Psalms and Songs for a New Century #432
Small Church Music #1070Audio
Small Church Music #2780Audio
Small Church Music #3305Audio
The New English Hymnal #494
Together in Song: Australian hymn book II #238
Include 21 pre-1979 instances