Posted by: rcottrill | June 6, 2018

Tell Me the Old, Old Story

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Words: Arabella Katherine Hankey (b. Jan. 12, 1834; d. May 9, 1911)
Music: Evangel, by William Howard Doane (b. Feb. 3, 1832; d. Dec. 23, 1915)

Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Katherine Hankey was a dedicated Christian, a Sunday School teacher, and a supporter of missionary work. When she went through a time of severe illness and convalescence, she decided to try writing an account of the life of Christ in verse. From her long poem, “The Old, Old Story,” have come two of our hymns, Tell Me the Old, Old Story, and I Love to Tell the Story.

We likely all enjoy a good story. But let’s think about that word a bit. A “story” is a narrative or record of events or experiences. It can be made-up, or true.

Some stories, such as Lord of the Rings, or Treasure Island, are fictional. But others are true accounts about things that actually happened, for example, there’s The Story of Canada (by Janet Lunn and Christopher Moore), a 2017 book published to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the nation’s founding.

The only way the word story is used in the Bible (in the New King James Version) is to refer to the stories of a building. But other related words are found there–words such as: history (Gen. 2:4); narrative (Lk. 1:1); and record (Ezra 6:2). The word report is quite common (Gen. 29:13; I Cor. 14:25), and many times, dealing with events in the lives of Israel’s kings, the word chronicles is used (I Kgs. 14:19).

The term parable is found dozens of times, especially in the teachings of Jesus (Lk. 15:3). But that’s something different. The parables are made-up stories to illustrate a spiritual truth. Evangelical Christians don’t put the historical records concerning the nation of Israel, the life of Jesus, or the apostolic church, in that category. The Bible isn’t a book of fictional parables, myths, and legends, but of reliable facts.

Time and again skeptics have ridiculed biblical history, claiming there was no such person, people, place or event. You’d think they’d learn. Eventually, archeology catches up, and reveals the accuracy of the Scriptures, and the naysayers are forced to retreat. For instance, the Bible mentions a people called the Hittites dozens of times. Did they exist? It wasn’t until the early twentieth century that concrete evidence was unearthed confirming not only their existence but their empire’s great power.

The Bible insists upon its divine authorship.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God [literally, it is God-breathed], and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Tim. 3:16).

Those who gave it to us wrote under the supervision of the Spirit of God, insuring its accuracy.

“Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (II Pet. 1:21), so what they wrote is completely reliable and trustworthy.

We can be assured this is so regarding what we’re told of the life of Christ. Luke, one of the four Gospel writers, was both a medical doctor and a careful historian. When he investigated, and reported the story of the earthly life of the Lord Jesus to a man named Theophilus (likely a Roman official), he began the record with these words:

“Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect [complete] understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed” (Lk. 1:1-4).

Katherine Hankey (1834-1911) believed the record of the Gospels. And as she begins Tell Me the Old, Old Story, she reported she was speaking of herself as “weak and weary,” alluding to her own illness and physical struggles.

CH-1) Tell me the old, old story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
Tell me the story simply, as to a little child,
For I am weak and weary, and helpless and defiled.

Tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story,
Of Jesus and His love.

CH-2) Tell me the story slowly, that I may take it in,
That wonderful redemption, God’s remedy for sin.
Tell me the story often, for I forget so soon;
The early dew of morning has passed away at noon.

CH-4) Tell me the same old story when you have cause to fear
That this world’s empty glory is costing me too dear.
Yes, and when that world’s glory is dawning on my soul,
Tell me the old, old story: “Christ Jesus makes thee whole.”

1) Why does the gospel story need to be told “simply,” “slowly,” and “often”?

2) What are the basics of the gospel that you would be ready to share with others?

Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal


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