O teach me what it meaneth

If there are any modern hymn writers who read this blog, could you write a new tune for this?

O teach me what it meaneth,
That cross uplifted high,
With One, the Man of Sorrows,
Condemned to bleed and die!
O teach me what it cost Thee
To make a sinner whole;
And teach me, Saviour, teach me
The value of a soul!

O teach me what it meaneth,
That sacred crimson tide,
The blood and water flowing
From Thine own wounded side.
Teach me that if none other
Had sinned, but I alone,
Yet still Thy blood, Lord Jesus,
Thine only, must atone.

O teach me what it meaneth,
Thy love beyond compare,
The love that reacheth deeper
Than depths of self-despair!
Yes, teach me, till there gloweth
In this cold heart of mine
Some feeble, pale reflection
Of that pure love of Thine.

O teach me what it meaneth,
For I am full of sin,
And grace alone can reach me,
And love alone can win.
O teach me, for I need Thee,
I have no hope beside—
The chief of all the sinners
For whom the Saviour died!

O teach me what it meaneth
The rest which Thou dost give
To all the heavy-laden
Who look to Thee and live.
Because I am a rebel
Thy pardon I receive
Because Thou dost command me,
I can, I do believe.

O infinite Redeemer!
I bring no other plea;
Because Thou dost invite me
I cast myself on Thee.
Because Thou dost accept me
I love and I adore;
Because Thy love constraineth,
I’ll praise Thee evermore!

Words: Lucy A. Bennett (1850-1927).

About neilrobbie

I am a 6'6" formerly ginger Scot, in a cross cultural marriage to my lovely Londoner wife. We've lived in SE Asia and since 2005, I have served as an Anglican minister in Wolverhampton and West Bromwich.
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10 Responses to O teach me what it meaneth

  1. James Oakley says:


    What a wonderful hymn. The meter is 76.76D (that’s to say, the first line has 7 syllables, then the second has 6, then 7, then 6, then “double” – i.e. do the 7676 again).

    A quick look at a metrical index suggests to me that this hymn would work well with Passion Chorale (a tune usually sung to “O Sacred Head, Sore Wounded”). Or you could try Aurelia (“The Church’s One Foundation”).

    But if you intention is not just to see this hymn sung, but to hear it sung to a new tune, then I am not your man. But let me know if you find anyone to write one!

    • baaron says:

      Our church back in Malaysia/Singapore has often sung this to Aurelia as James suggested — a more pensive, uplifting, melody. In fact I’m choosing this for this very Sunday. Blessings, all.

  2. Ros says:

    Sing it to any of the ‘O Jesus I Have Promised’ tunes. I like Thornbury.

  3. étrangère says:

    Yes, the traditional tune is a little dreary, isn’t it? I don’t know of any new ones though, unless Red Mountain Music has done one.

  4. neilrobbie says:

    Thanks for all the suggestions, I’ll give the metre and tunes a go.

    Does anyone know Keith Getty’s contact details?

  5. étrangère says:

    Keith doesn’t tend to put new tunes to pre-existing hymns – you’d be better encouraging the Red Mountain Music or Sovereign Grace people to give it a go. I do have an email address for him, but think it probably isn’t in use any more – I would’ve last used it around 2005/2006, if not before! Just use the webform.

    The tune I know to it, James, is Immanuel’s Land – you can have a listen here. I take it you’ve checked Praise! for alternative tunes, Neil? I’m at the office, so don’t have it with me.

  6. neilrobbie says:

    Hi Rosemary, thanks for the advice about Mr Getty. I wish I’d had your comment before sending him an email last night. Never mind. Will follow your suggestions.

  7. Heather says:

    “O Teach Me What It Meaneth” to a new tune is on the Sacred Music Services CD “Lift Up Your Voice”. Absolutely beautiful. The text is rearranged somewhat but basically the same. 1996 by the Music of Rushingbrook

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