Text: Jonathan Friedrich Bahnmaier (1774-1841)
Music: Johann Anastasius Freylinghausen (1670-1739)
Tune name: LÜBECK
Bahnmaier, a German educator, published two volumes of hymns. This text, privately printed in 1827, is one of the first early nineteenth-century Lutheran hymns to move away from individualistic Pietism toward a more outward, world-embracing faith.
1. Spread, O spread, thou mighty word,
spread the kingdom of the Lord,
that to earth’s remotest bound
men may heed the joyful sound;
2. Word of how the Father’s will
made the world, and keeps it, still;
how his only Son he gave,
Man from sin and death to save;
3. Word of how the Saviour’s love
Earth’s sore burden doth remove;
how for ever, in its need,
through his death the world is freed;
4. Mighty word God’s Spirit gave,
Man for heav’nly life to save;
word through whose all-holy might
Man can will and do the right;
5. Word of life, most pure and strong,
word for which the nations long,
spread abroad, until from night
all the world awakes to light.
Freylinghausen in considered the leading poet and hymnodist of the Pietist movement, a theological and practical movement that influenced John Wesley’s life leading to the rise of Methodism. Best known for his texts, he also wrote and arranged a number of melodies.
Below is Andrew Remillard’s rendition of this hymn on piano.