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"This is Amazing Grace" lyric confusion

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  • "This is Amazing Grace" lyric confusion

    Every time I lead "This is Amazing Grace" in worship, I wrestle with the lyric confusion. One version (Wickham) has "you laid down your life" in the chorus, and "the king of glory, the king of glory" midway through verse 2; while the other version (Bethel/Riddle) has "you would lay down your life" and "the king of glory, the king above all kings".

    Aaaaghhh!!! It's the "Your Grace is Enough" conundrum all over again!!!!

    So, I search out the writers, thinking I'll just go with the original, and guess what? It's written by Phil Wickham AND Jeremy Riddle. So, apparently they wrote it together, but each has chosen to record it with slightly different lyrics.

    What's a poor worship leader to do?

    Anybody else encounter this?

    (I'm not really that upset, but it does puzzle me, especially as a worship leader torn between two sets of lyrics)

  • #2
    I just pick one, and always do the same. Except for when I don't.

    Comment


    • #3
      Sing the one that fits theologically. Jesus did lay down his life, so there's not need to say "would."

      Comment


      • Mike on Bass
        Mike on Bass commented
        Editing a comment
        And this is where we can get into hair-splitting. Yes Jesus did lay down his life. But one could also argue that talking to Jesus in the first person and saying amazing grace and unfailing love is the fact He *would* do all this stuff, and at the end of the verse, brings it to completion with "all that you've *done* for me".

        The structure of the verse as seen below:

        This is amazing grace
        This is unfailing love
        That You would take my place
        That You would bear my cross
        You would lay down Your life
        That I would be set free
        Jesus, I sing for
        All that You've done for me"

        Using "would" keeps the tense of the phrasing consistent, and groups it together with a "done" at the end.

        Point being, saying "you laid down your life" is theologically accurate, but the other way isn't necessarily inaccurate. It's artistic preference. But if we do past tense with one part of the verse, why not do it with all?

        This is amazing grace
        This is unfailing love
        That You took my place
        That You bore my cross
        You laid down Your life
        So that I was set free
        Jesus, I sing for
        All that You've done for me

        So- where does the hair splitting stop?

        Admittedly I'm being a bit facetious. But it's only to make a point to not get too caught up in it. Either way you do it, the message is the same. We collectively have bigger fish to fry than getting hung up on a word here or there.

    • #4
      Technically, "would" is a form of the past tense of "to will", in spite of how it is often used, so the line as worded means "You willed that You laid down Your life". In that sense, "You laid down Your life" is about what Jesus did, & "You would lay down Your life" is about what He willed to do, & either is theologically correct.

      When choosing between songs like this, I always choose the most popular version of a songs lyrics/melody, unless there is a doctrinal issue I know would conflict with the statement of faith for the church I'm leading. Then I go to the next most popular version. This is simply because the more familiar it is the more easy it will be for our congregation to engage.

      I used to be a "hair splitter." It was exhausting. I put that down.

      Comment


      • Mike on Bass
        Mike on Bass commented
        Editing a comment
        Yep- I was there too. An old friend called it 'majoring in the minors'.

    • #5
      I agree that in this case the different is really hair-splitting, so I'm probably with you on this song, ShannonTWC. I find "you would lay down your life" seems to flow better lyrically, and it's how I first learned it so it's what I tend to sing automatically if I'm not paying attention.

      I do find it odd that even the two co-writers of the song chose to record it with different lyrics, and - from a congregational worship perspective - I find that a bit frustrating and puzzling. I'm not sure why they did that.

      Comment


      • Mike on Bass
        Mike on Bass commented
        Editing a comment
        Sometimes that happens. It could be a personal preference or to deflect a distraction over the wording. Kind of like how Crowder reworded the McMillan 'Sloppy Wet Kiss" into the "Unforeseen Kiss" (which generated a lot of discussion in the Christian community at the time and still to this day causes the occasional flare-up in some circles since Jesus Culture used McMillan's version).

        Go with what works best for you. Jesus won't kick you out of Heaven for using one over the other.
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