Choosing a Hymn Book

(For Home Use)

Church hymnal choices are many. A wide selection of hymn books (hymnals, hymnaries) is available to Christians. Some of these are denominationally oriented. Most of the ones described below have found a home in churches of many denominations.

Though we usually think of a hymn book as belonging in the church pew, it has value at home as well. The old tradition of family and friends singing around the piano should not be lost. And beyond that, we can be enriched simply by reading over the words of a hymn, as a part of our personal time of daily devotions.

Whether you are choosing a book for congregational or personal use, these are ones worth considering. See also: Choosing a Hymnal for Your Church.




The Celebration Hymnal , published in 1997, is the newest of the major evangelical hymnals. Included in its over 800 songs is a good selection of traditional hymns, as well as newer hymns and choruses.

The Worship & Service Hymnal was published in 1957. Other than the fact that it has none of the newer songs from the last 50 years, it is a fine book, containing a balanced compendium of 525 hymns. In spite of its age, it remains an excellent hymnal for church or personal use.

Great Hymns of the Faith came out in 1968. Its over 530 hymns provide a wide selection of familiar standards. Through the years, I have come to appreciate this book more and more.

Living Hymns came out in 1972. Published by Striving Together Publications. it contains over 850 selections. Some of these are songs composed by editor Alfred Smith. And while these are unfamiliar, Smith tended to write singable tunes that are not difficult to learn. This is a hymn book with a heart. Many of its selections focus on the Christian's devotional life.

Hymns for the Living Church was published in 1974. With over 570 selections, its strength lies in its inclusion of hymns from ancient times, and other sometimes neglected periods of church history.

Praise! Our Songs & Hymns, also edited by John Peterson, was produced in 1981. Its over 570 selections provide a good selection of hymns on various themes.

The Cyber Hymnal has been available on the Internet since 1996, and now contains over 7,600 selections. Dick Adams, the editor, not only gives us the words of the hymn (often including verses omitted in the standard hymnals). He also provides pictures of the author and composer, where these are available, and even plays the tune for us! If you own a computer, you should bookmark the Cyber Hymnal. Highly recommended! Check it out here: Cyber Hymnal.

If you have a question about a hymn book, or even a particular hymn, feel free to send it along!

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