I Know Not Why God's Wondrous Grace

I know not why God's wondrous grace To me He hath made known

Author: D. W. Whittle (1883)
Tune: EL NATHAN
Published in 207 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, Sibelius
Audio files: MIDI, Recording

Full Text

1 I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.

Refrain:
But “I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”

2 I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart. [Refrain]

3 I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing men of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him. [Refrain]

I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.

4 I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air. [Refrain]

Hymns for His Praise: Number 2 Revised, 1906 (Timeless Truths)

Author: D. W. Whittle

[Also published under the pseudonym El Nathan.] Daniel W. Whittle was born in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, on November 22, 1840. At the age of twenty-one he joined the 72nd Illinois Infantry, enlisting in Company B as a Second Lieutenant. Later he rose to the rank of Major on General O.O. Howard's staff. He was with General Sherman on his march to the sea and was later wounded at the battle of Vicksburg. Upon his recovery and return home, he met the noted evangelist, D.L. Moody. His relationship with Moody changed the course of Whittle's life. After a rather brief time in business with the Elgin Watch Company, whose treasurer he became, he was persuaded by Moody to enter full-time evangelistic work. Soon he became known as one of the l… Go to person page >

Text Information

Notes

Scripture References:
ref. = 2 Tim. 1:12

American evangelist Daniel Webster Whittle (b. Chicopee Falls, MA, 1840; d. Northfield, MA, 1901) wrote this text based on 2 Timothy 1:12, which is quoted in the refrain (King James Version). It was published with EL NATHAN in Gospel Hymns No.4 (1883).

The text contrasts the "I know not" stanzas with the certainty of the "I know" refrain We cannot understand God's saving grace to us (st. 1); we cannot explain our spiritual birth (st. 2); we are unable to comprehend the work of God's Spirit (st. 3); and we do not perceive clearly the future of our earthly lives (st. 4). But we do know by faith that God is true to his word!

Whittle was a bank cashier, Civil War soldier, and company treasurer before he became an evangelist. Earning the title of major during his military career, he was called Major Whittle throughout his life. Because of the influence of Dwight L. Moody whom he met during the war, Whittle became an itinerant evangelist in 1873. He conducted evangelistic campaigns in North America and Great Britain, often accompanied by popular gospel singers such as Philip P. Bliss (PHH 482), James McGranab and George Stebbins (PHH 63). These men not only sang at Whittle’s evangelistic meetings but also set to music many of his two hundred hymn texts (which he usually wrote under the pseudonym "El Nathan").

Liturgical Use:
As a hymn of response to preaching; for times of renewal; profession of faith; other testimonial services.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune

EL NATHAN

James McGranahan (PHH 99), Whittle's song leader, composed EL NATHAN. The tunes title is a pseudonym used by Whittle. A typical gospel hymn tune, EL NATHAN is constructed with a few melodic lines and a very simple harmony, but it is marked by some rhythmic interest. The tune is easily sung in parts.…

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Timeline

Media

Baptist Hymnal 1991 #337
The Cyber Hymnal #2865
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #495
Timeless Truths #578
  • I_Know_Whom_I_Have_Believed.sib (SIB, Scorch)
The United Methodist Hymnal #714
Worship and Rejoice #407

Instances

Instances (17)TextImageAudioScoreFlexscore
Baptist Hymnal 1991 #337TextImageAudioScore
Baptist Hymnal 2008 #353TextImage
Celebrating Grace Hymnal #588Image
Celebration Hymnal #527Image
Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #577
Complete Mission Praise #279
Hymns of Faith #229TextImage
Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #690Image
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #495TextImageAudioScore
Revival Hymns and Choruses #87Audio
Sing Joyfully #310TextImage
The Covenant Hymnal: a worshipbook #440
The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration #409
The United Methodist Hymnal #714TextImageAudioScore
The Worshiping Church #493TextImage
Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #705TextImage
Worship and Rejoice #407TextImageAudioScore