Blest Be The Tie That Binds: A Hymn Study

Blest Be The Tie That Binds: A Hymn Study

Though this old standard is most often used as a closing song, it is much more. Published by
John Fawcett in 1792 with a collection of other songs, it is believed, however, to have been
written about 1772. For nine years Fawcett had been preaching for two small congregations in
rural England, composed primarily of farmers and shepherds. He was offered, and initially
accepted an invitation to work in a large London church. However, after packing many of his
family’s goods, he refused to leave his beloved brethren. Though his present salary was
meager, hardly enough to provide for his own family, he could not leave those making up the
congregations whom he loved. Though this story is never told on his own writings, it is believed
that Blest Be the Tie That Binds was written shortly after his decision to stay.

Some words to consider:
1. Kindred—similar nature or character
2. Ardent—devoted, zealous, passionate
3. Asunder—torn into parts, separated from each other

Verse One
We as Christians are bound together like no other group of people in the world. No school
spirit, no civic club, not political party, not business partnership…nothing can match the
closeness we should feel, for we are bound by the love of Christ, and in Him we have full joy in
fellowship with Him. “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also
may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus
Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full,” I John 1:3-4. Regardless
of the differences we might have in worldly matters, we share ‘kindred minds’ that Jesus is the
ultimate authority (All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth,” Matthew 28:18), and it
is by Him that we do all things, II Timothy 3:16-17.

Verse Two
When we offer prayer to God, publicly or privately, they should be heart-felt, passionate
request (“We pour our ardent prayers”), not merely the repetition of ‘holy’ sounding phrases.
In this song we remind ourselves that there are areas in which we can and should pray.
1. “Our fears”. David, in Psalm 23:4, reminds himself that “I will fear no evil, for Thou art
with me.”

2. “Our hopes”, the things for which we are waiting with eager expectation. “For the grace
of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying
ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this
present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great
god and our Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from
all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works,” Titus2:11-
14. See also Titus 3:5-7, and I Thessalonians 5:8-9.

3. “Our aims” should be the aims of our LORD and Savior, namely, to bring salvation to all
men, ‘For the Son if man is come to seek and to save that which is lost,” Luke 11:10. It
was also understood by many as the purpose of the apostles, “There men are the
servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation,” Acts 16:17b.

4. “Our comforts and our cares.” I urge you to use your concordance and examine the
words pray and prayer; look up the references to remind yourself of things for which we
should pray. Here are just a few. Jesus instructed us to pray for physical needs, Matthew
6:11. Pray for deliverance from temptation, Matthew 2:41; for your enemies, Matthew
6:28; for those who teach and preach the gospel, Luke 10:2; for the strengthening of our
faith, Luke 22:32; for the salvation of others, Romans 10:1 and Colossians 4:3; for
forgiveness of our sins, Acts 8:22; for our Christian brethren, Acts 12:5 and John 17:20;
for whatever your cares may be, Philippians 4:6 and Mark 11:24.

Verse Three
This special bond we have should indeed draw us together. IF we truly consider ourselves to be
children of God, we are siblings, and siblings care for each other. We share problems that
others cannot understand, and we can help each other through tough times in areas both
personal and spiritual. Who better understands our struggles in this life and who likely give
better advice than those who realize out dependence on, and our foundation in the Word of
God than fellow Christians? If you do not have a friend in Christ, with whom you can talk about
your deepest feelings or in times of extreme distress, you are missing one of the great blessings
in Christ on this earth.

Verse Four
Many things separate us in this life. Our jobs may cause us to leave one place for another,
children move away from their parents, campers and counselors may weep when camp is over;
we can be geographically divided for various reasons. Regardless of the occasion, sorrow
usually accompanies a separation of this manner. Even more painful is the death of loved ones,
for we have no means of contact. But in every separation, we long for the day when we can
spend eternity together in Heaven with all of God’s children.

Rock of Ages: A Hymn Study

Rock of Ages: A Hymn Study

The lyrics of this old, familiar song are attributed to Augustus Toplady, circa 1775. Toplady was at one time a very close friend of John Wesley. However, he disagreed strongly with Wesley’s Calvinistic doctrine, and their relationship degenerated to the point of open criticism and public opposition. He wrote an article for a London-based religious paper, in which he attempted to calculate the number of sins a man could commit in a lifetime. The thrust of the article was the impossibility of repaying God for our salvation. Though the exact title phrase, “Rock of Ages” is not to be found in the King James Bible, the concept of Jesus the Christ being our source of strength, protection and salvation is conveyed in Isaiah 26:4, “Trust ye in the LORD forever; for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.” In the NJKV translation, the last phrase is rendered, “For in God the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.” First, we look at few words for clarification:
  • Cleft—a space or opening, a split.
  • Languor—a state of being lazy or lethargic.
  • Atone—to reconcile for an offense, in this case, sin.


Just as David hid from the evil intentions of King Saul in the cave of Adullam (I Samuel 22:1), and fled to the hill country in the wilderness of Ziph (I Samuel 23:14), so too, can we find protection in the cleft of our Rock, the LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ. As we sing verse one, we acknowledge the total dependency we have on Jesus, and proclaim his saving power, by our remembrance of the shedding of His precious blood at the hand of those cruel executioners. ”But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water,“ John 19:34. This outpouring of blood completed the offering of the ultimate, perfect sacrifice for the sins of mankind for all ages. This blood is truly a double cure. It can save us from the wrath of God, as Paul writes in Romans 5:9, “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” It also makes us pure; Paul wrote of Jesus who “gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works”, Titus 2:14.


As we sing this verse, we admit the helpless situation we find ourselves in without the saving power of the cross. When we sin, we are guilty of violating God’s law; when we are guilty, we deserve punishment; the punishment established by the law of God is everlasting death, Romans 6:23. In my work as a teacher in high school, I have seen students nearly flood the room with tears when reprimanded for some type of misbehavior. Some of these tears, I am convinced, were tears of true remorse, or at least of the fear of punishment. Others, I am equally convinced, were tears-on-demand, contrived, attempting to obtain leniency from the one sitting in judgement. Tears of any kind will not, however, diminish God’s view of any sin, or His judgment on the sinner. Even though we sincerely and feverishly work in this work for the cause of the LORD from before daylight breaks until after darkness falls, we still cannot work off the guilt of, or earn the forgiveness for one sin. Romans 5:18, “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” We can pay fines for overdue library books and parking tickets; we can donate land for meeting houses to be erected, give money to those truly in need, or for any other good cause, but we do not have enough of anything material to pay the penalty when we sin: forgiveness of sins is a gift of grace, unmerited favor. The only way for grace to be grasped is through our obedience to the Gospel, Romans 5:1-2.


In this final stanza, we take ourselves to the closing view of our life here on this earth. As we leave this world in physical death, and rise to the heavenly scene, we see the Christ sitting on His throne. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God,” Hebrews 12:2. We must affirm as Peter did in Matthew 16:16, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” This statement, being the rock-solid foundation of our belief, reflects our thrust that it is by and through Him, our Everlasting Rock, that we have our hope of eternal life. Article by Hugh Bozeman (2018)