What A Friend We Have In Jesus

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“What a Friend We Have in Jesus ” is a Christian hymn originally written by Joseph M. Scriven as a poem in 1855 to comfort his mother who was living in Ireland while he was in Canada. Scriven originally published the poem anonymously, and only received full credit for it in the 1880s. The tune to the hymn was composed by Charles Crozat Converse in 1868. William Bolcom composed a setting of the hymn. The hymn also has many versions with different lyrics in multiple languages, such as the Japanese version “Itsukushimi Fukaki” (_______?, lit. “Deep Affection”), or a version sung during World War I with the line “When this bloody war is over” in place of the original title. The Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal notes, “In spite of the fact that this hymn, with its tune, has been criticized as being too much on the order of the sentimental gospel type, its popularity remains strong, and the hymn retains a place in modern hymnals.”

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