O Word of God incarnateAuthor: William Walsham How (1867)
Tune: MUNICH (Mendelssohn)
Published in 420 hymnals
Printable scores: PDF, SibeliusAudio files: MIDI, Recording
1 O Word of God incarnate,
O Wisdom from on high,
O Truth unchanged, unchanging,
O Light of our dark sky:
we praise you for the radiance
that from the Scripture's page,
a lantern to our footsteps,
shines on from age to age.
2 The church from you, dear Master,
received the gift divine;
and still that light is lifted
o'er all the earth to shine.
It is the chart and compass
that all life's voyage through,
mid mists and rocks and quicksands,
still guides, O Christ, to you.
3 O make your church, dear Savior,
a lamp of burnished gold
to bear before the nations
your true light as of old.
O teach your wandering pilgrims
by this our path to trace
till, clouds and darkness ended,
we see you face to face.
Source: Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #757
|First Line:||O Word of God incarnate|
|Title:||O Word of God Incarnate|
|Author:||William Walsham How (1867)|
st. 1 = Ps. 119:105, 130, John 1:1-14
st. 2 = 2 Tim. 3:15-17
st. 3 = Matt. 5:14-16, 1 Cor. 13:12
The prevalent image in this hymn is light: God is the Light; his Word is a light for our path; and we, the church, must be a light for the nations. The author, William W. How (b. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England, 1823; d. Leenane, County Mayo, Ireland, 1897), first published it with a subhead quotation from Proverbs 6:23: "For the commandment is a lamp: and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life" (KJV). Some hymnodists have stated that the song is based on Psalm 119:105, which contains nearly the same imagery: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." Using intriguing word play, the hymn praises Christ as the "Word of God incarnate" and as the "Light" who has given us Scripture (often referred to as God's Word) as a "light" ("lantern") to guide the church (st. 1-2) and to inspire it to be a "lamp" for shining God's "light" to all the world (st. 2-3). The text also includes travel imagery: "footsteps" (st. 1), "chart and compass," "voyage" (st. 2), and "pilgrims" (st. 3).
Singing this text, we pray that the church, the people of God, will always be led by the Scriptures to seek Christ, to whom the Scriptures point, and to bring the good news of his Word to the nations. This text was first published in the 1867 addition to Psalms and Hymns (1854), a supplementary collection How edited with Thomas B. Morrell.
How studied at Wadham College, Oxford, and Durham University and was ordained in the Church of England in 1847. He served various congregations and became Suffragan Bishop in east London in 1879 and Bishop of Wakefield in 1888. Called both the "poor man's bishop" and "the children's bishop," How was known for his work among the destitute in the London slums and among the factory workers in west Yorkshire. He wrote a number of theological works about controversies surrounding the Oxford Movement and attempted to reconcile biblical creation with the theory of evolution. He was joint editor of Psalms and Hymns (1854) and Church Hymns (1871). While rector in Whittington, How wrote some sixty hymns, including many for children. His collected Poems and Hymns were published in 1886.
As a sung prayer for illumination and for the preservation and mission of the church.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1988
O Word of God Incarnate. Bishop W. W. How. [Holy Scriptures.] Written for and first published in the 1867 Supplement to Morrell and How's Psalms & Hymns. It has been repeated in a large number of hymn-books in Great Britain and America, and is one of the author's most popular hymns. It is usually given unaltered and unabridged as in Church Hymns, 1871.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
|Instances (1 - 38 of 38)||First Line||Title||Tune||Tune Key||Author||Meter||Scripture||Date||Subject||Source|
|Ambassador Hymnal: for Lutheran worship #263||O Word of God incarnate||O Word of God Incarnate||MUNICH||William W. How, 1823-1897||76 76 D||1994||Guidance | ; Word of God ||
|Ancient and Modern: Hymns and Songs for Refreshing Worship #384||O Christ the Word incarnate||ELLACOMBE||William Walsham How (1823-1867)||76 76 D||Psalm 119:105; Matthew 5:14-16; 1 Corinthians 1:30-31||2013||Church | ministry; Church | nature of; Future hope | ; Light | ; Pilgrimage | ; Scripture | ; The Word of God ||
|Chalice Hymnal #322||O Word of God incarnate||O Word of God Incarnate||MUNICH||William W. How||76.76D||1995||The Church at Worship | The Bible; God's Church | The Church at Worship: The Bible; Bible | ; Jesus Christ: Teaching ||
|Christian Worship: a Lutheran hymnal #279||O word of God incarnate||O Word of God Incarnate||MUNICH||William W. How, 1823-97||76 76 D||1993||Word of God ||
|Common Praise: A new edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern #531||O Christ the word incarnate||BENTLEY||W. Walsham How, 1823-1897||76 76 D||1 Corinthians 1:24; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 1 Corinthians 13:12; James 1:17; John 1:14; Psalm 119:14; Revelation 1:20||2000|
|Complete Mission Praise #527||O Word of God incarnate||76 76 D||2000|
|Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary #171||O Word of God incarnate||O Word of God Incarnate||MUNICH||W. W. How, 1823-97||76 76 D||1996||Jesus, Savior of Gentiles ||
|Evangelical Lutheran Worship #514||O Word of God incarnate||O Word of God Incarnate||MUNICH||William W. How, 1823-1897||7 6 7 6 D||2006||Expanded Images for God | ; Word of God | ; Journey, Pilgrimage ||
|Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal #459||O Word of God incarnate||O Word of God Incarnate||MUNICH||William Walsham How||22.214.171.124.D||Psalm 119:105; Psalm 119:130; Psalm 119:160; Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 5:16; Mark 13:31; John 1:1-5; John 1:14; John 5:39; 1 Corinthians 13:12; 2 Peter 1:19; Revelation 1:3||2013||The Church | ; Incarnation | ; Scripture | ; The Word ||
|Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church #632||O Christ, the Word Incarnate||MUNICH||William Walsham How, 1823-1897||76. 76. D||1985|
|Hymns and Psalms - 1983 #478a||O Word of God incarnate||O Word of God incarnate||BENTLEY||William W. How||1983|
|Hymns and Psalms - 1983 #478b||O Word of God incarnate||O Word of God incarnate||NYLAND||William W. How||1983|
|Hymns for a Pilgrim People: a congregational hymnal #252||O Word of God incarnate||MUNICH||William W. How, 1823-1897||126.96.36.199 D||Psalm 119:130||2007||Guidance | ; Mission | ; Word of God ||
|Hymns of Faith #110||O Word of God incarnate||O Word of God Incarnate||[O Word of God incarnate]||William W. How||Psalm 119:105; Psalm 119:130; John 1:14; 1 Corinthians 13:12||1980||Christ | Light; Christ | Teacher; Praise | of Christ|
|Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #757||O Word of God incarnate||O Word of God Incarnate||MUNICH||William W. How||188.8.131.52 D||Matthew 5:14-16; John 1:1-14; 1 Corinthians 13:12; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Psalm 119:105; Psalm 119:130||2013||Mission | ; Praise of Christ | ; Testimony/Witness | ; Unity of the Church | ; War and Revolution | ; Elements of Worship | Hearing the Word|
|Lutheran Service Book #523||O Word of God incarnate||O Word of God Incarnate||MUNICH||William W. How, 1823-97||76 76 D||John 1:14; 2 Samuel 22:29-33; Psalm 119:105; Revelation 1:20||2006||Redeemer ||
|Moravian Book of Worship #505||O word of God incarnate||O Word of God Incarnate||MUNICH||William Walsham How||184.108.40.206.D.||Psalm 119:105-112; Psalm 119:130; John 1:1-14; Romans 15:1-13; Colossians 3:12-17; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21||1995||The Scriptures | ; Christ--Guidance | ; Scriptures ||
|Presbyterian Hymnal: hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs #327||O Word of God incarnate||O Word of God Incarnate||MUNICH (Mendelssohn)||William Walsham How||220.127.116.11 D||Psalm 119:105; Psalm 119:130; John 1:14||1990||<i>Psalter Hymnal</i>, 1987, as in|
|Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #279||O Word of God incarnate||O Word of God Incarnate||MUNICH||William Walsham How||76 76 D||Psalm 119:105-130; John 1:1-14; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Philippians 2:16; Titus 2:14; 2 Timothy 3:17||1987||Illumination | ; Word of God ||
|Rejoice in the Lord #387||O Word of God Incarnate||O Word of God Incarnate||MUNICH||Willaim Walsham How||18.104.22.168 D||Matthew 5:16; Psalm 119:105||1985||Jesus Christ | Master; Pilgrimage and Conflict | ; God | Revelation||<i>Lutheran Book of Worship</i> (1978) (chiefly from)|
|Renew! #97||O Word of God incarnate||O Word of God Incarnate||MUNICH||William W. How||22.214.171.124.D.||1995||Service of the Word | Songs of Illumination; The Service of the Word | Songs of Illumination|
|Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal #274||O Word of God Incarnate, O Wisdom from on high||MUNICH||1985|
|Sing Joyfully #180||O Word of God incarnate||O Word of God Incarnate||[O Word of God incarnate]||William W. How||1989|
|Small Church Music #728||O Word of God Incarnate||Munich||MUNICH||William Walsham How||126.96.36.199.D|
|Small Church Music #1621||O Word of God Incarnate||Nyland||NYLAND||William Walsham How|
|The Celebration Hymnal: songs and hymns for worship #414||O Word of God incarnate||O Word of God Incarnate||MUNICH||William W. How||188.8.131.52.D.||1997||The Living Church | The Word of God|
|The Christian Life Hymnal #230||O Word of God incarnate, O wisdom from on high||Munich||2006|
|The Covenant Hymnal: a worshipbook #523||O Word of God incarnate||O Word of God Incarnate||MUNICH||William W. How, 1823-1897||184.108.40.206.D.||Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 6:23; Isaiah 40:8; John 1:1-5; John 1:14||1996||Body of Christ | ; Pilgrimage | ; Word and Teaching ||
|The Cyber Hymnal #5534||O Word of God incarnate||O Word of God Incarnate||MUNICH||William W. How||76.76 D|
|The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration #269||O Word of God incarnate||O Word of God Incarnate||MUNICH||William W. How||220.127.116.11.D.||1986||Christian Education | ; Word of God ||
|The New Century Hymnal #315||O Word of God incarnate||O Word of God Incarnate||MUNICH||William W. How||18.104.22.168.d.||Psalm 119:105||1995||Church | Mission in the World; Hymns About the Bible | ; Thanksgiving ||
|The United Methodist Hymnal #598||O Word of God incarnate||O Word of God Incarnate||MUNICH||William W. How||76.76 D||1989|
|The United Methodist Hymnal Music Supplement #243||[O Word of God incarnate]||MUNICH||1991|
|The Worshiping Church #310||O Word of God incarnate||O Word of God Incarnate||MUNICH||William W. How||22.214.171.124.D.||1 Corinthians 13:12; John 1:14; Psalm 119:105; Psalm 119:130||1990|
|Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #140||O Word of God incarnate||O Word of God Incarnate||MUNICH||William Walsham How||126.96.36.199.D.||Philippians 2:16; Titus 2:14; 2 Timothy 3:17; Psalm 119:130; Philippians 2:15-16||1990||God's Word | The Holy Scriptures; Christ | The Word; Church | Work of|
|Voices United: The Hymn and Worship Book of The United Church of Canada #499||O Christ, the Word incarnate||O Christ, the Word Incarnate||MUNICH||Willaim Walsham How; R. Gerald Hobbs||7 6 7 6 D||1996||The Church at Worship | Scripture; Bible | ; Advent 2 | Year A; Christmas Day 2 | Year A; Epiphany 4 | Year A; Lent 3 | Year B; Proper 15 | Year B; Proper 23 | Year B; Proper 24 | Year C|
|Welsh and English Hymns and Anthems #70b||O! The Word of God Incarnate||WHITFORD||William W. How||M.9. (7.6.D.)||1979|
|Worship and Rejoice #670||O Word of God incarnate||O Word of God Incarnate||MUNICH||William W. How, 1823-1897||188.8.131.52.D.||John 1:14; 1 Peter 2:9-10; Matthew 5:14-16; James 1:17; Isaiah 9:2; 1 Corinthians 13:12; Psalm 119:130; Acts 13:47; Psalm 119:105||2001|