From the Album Getty Kids Hymnal – Hymns from Home

Lyrics

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch; like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

The Lord hath promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.

Song Story

As a little boy, John Newton’s mother would sing hymns, teach Scripture verses and tell Bible stories to him. But she died when he was little and as he grew up he walked away from the Lord Jesus. When he was only eleven he joined his sailor father on a ship to learn how to be a sailor too. This was a few hundred years ago and to sail the seas in those days was often very dangerous work. He shared many stories of dangers at sea. One, in particular, happened in March 1748 that marked the beginning of his learning how to follow the Lord.

John Newton wrote about his struggles with many sins. His language was often rude, he mistreated others, he let people down. He was for many years a slave trader, sinning against the Lord by buying and selling people to make money. He later wrote in a famous pamphlet that when he thinks about what he did his “heart now shudders.” He asked the Lord for forgiveness and the Lord forgave him. He said, ‘Although my memory's fading, I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.’ The Lord saved Him from sin but He also saved Him TO wonderful things in His kingdom - great work as a pastor and a hymn writer and an important voice in the fight against slavery.

He wrote this hymn to help explain a sermon he was giving on New Years Day in 1773. The melody we most often sing with it is called ‘New Britain’ and was written in 1835 by William Walker. He did not write the last verse here but it was written in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s classic book ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’. It is one of the most famous hymns ever written. Some have said it is sung over 10 million times around the world every year.