Understanding “Come Thou Fount”
Updated: Mar 6
Kwong Wai Cheng
About the Songs We Sing
Throughout the Bible, we read about people enjoying God through songs of praise. Indeed, music coupled with meaningful words, goes a long way to soothe our weary hearts, refresh our souls and help us connect with God again. Through this series, I hope to share my findings and reflections about some of the hymns we sing in church. Perhaps it will also help you to enjoy God better, just as it has helped me.
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Written by Robert Robinson (1757)
To me, the hymn writer's life is a good example of God’s sense of humour.
Born in Norfolk, England, Robert Robinson was a naughty boy growing up who never quite outgrow his penchant for mischief. After his mother sent him off for an apprenticeship when he was only 14, his life got worse. He got into drinking, gambling and carousing with bad company. It was during this time that Robert and his friends decided to go to an evangelistic meeting one night just to heckle the preacher.
Ironically, sitting in that meeting, Robert felt as if the preacher’s words were meant specifically for him. I’m sure we've had similar experiences before too! Instead of shaming the preacher and disrupting the service, Robert left feeling he needed to give his life to God! (Side note: When you try to mess with God, the joke will be on you!)
He entered the Christian ministry at age 20 and wrote the song “Come Thou Fount,” as a reflection of his own spiritual journey – the story of a mischievous, wandering heart that became captivated by God’s redeeming love.
The other thing that I like about Robert is that (as one website described him) he was “a man open to other viewpoints and tolerant – perhaps to a fault.” He was sympathetic towards activists defending religious and civil rights; he believed in the “freedom of conscience, rather than doctrinal statements”; he was “friendly with political and theological radicals” of his time; and he “wanted to appeal only to the Bible and not to any statements of faith or creeds”.
I’m not advocating radicalism. I just like an open mind that searches for answers from the Bible. Like the song says, we are all “prone to wander”, and I think there is nothing wrong about questioning, reflecting and ‘checking out the competition’ so to speak, as long as the Bible remains our focus.
Jesus will seek us out, but we must also do our part to be found. I believe everyone needs to learn in our own melodious songs of praise and gain our own personal convictions about God (not borrowed faith) to live a real, amazing Christian life.
I leave you now with this version of “Come Thou Fount” by Chris Tomlin. His rendition includes a little improvisation that further expounds this idea of Jesus seeking us out when we (His sheep) have wandered from His fold:
“How Your kindness yet pursues me
How Your mercy never fails me
Till the day that death shall loose me
I will sing, oh I will sing…”
Let’s sing our blessings today!
Kwong Wai Cheng
Wai Cheng is fascinated with words, especially the Word. Her life has always been revolving around words/Word, in one way or another. And she hopes to always hold fast to the Word, to draw strength and gain wisdom, to do the right things in God's sight.