by Frederick Lehman, 1917 (stanza 3, Unknown)



Truth #4: For God so loved the word that He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to pay the price for our sin so that whoever believes in Him will have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

See last month's hymn.

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Writing While Working

Frederick M. Lehman was born in Germany but began to follow Christ in Iowa, where he spent most of his childhood.

Lehman’s career spanned from being a pastor and businessman to working at a California packing house.

One day while packing oranges and lemons, he began to write a hymn in his mind beginning with the words, "The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell . . ."

After two stanzas and a refrain, he was at a loss for words until he returned home to compose the melody.


Remembering a poem he had previously written on a small card he was using as a bookmark, he pulled the card out and realized the poem fit perfectly as a third stanza.

It began, "Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the sky of parchment made . . . "

Then he saw the note written beneath the poem:

“These words were found written on a cell wall in a prison some 200 years ago. It is not known why the prisoner was incarcerated; neither is it known if the words were original or if he had heard them somewhere and had decided to put them in a place where he could be reminded of the greatness of God’s love.

Whatever the circumstances, he wrote them on the wall of his prison cell. In due time, he died and the men who had the job of repainting his cell were impressed by the words.

Before their paint brushes had obliterated them, one of the men jotted them down and thus they were preserved.‚ÄĚ

The name of the prisoner was never discovered, but historians later found that it was originally a Hebrew poem composed by a Jewish rabbi living in Germany around the year 1,000 A.D.

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Hymn Outline


Great (Stanza 1)

Strong (Refrain)

Forever (Stanza 2)

Limitless (Stanza 3)

Read & Relate

The Love of God
by Frederick Lehman, 1917 (Stanza 3, Unknown)

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

Psalm 36:5; John 15:13; John 3:16; Gen. 3:6; 1 John 3:1

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure ‚ÄĒ
The saints' and angels' song!

Romans 8:38-39; Psalm 18:1; Rev. 5:9-10

When years of time shall pass away
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God's love so sure shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam's race ‚ÄĒ
The saints' and angels' song.

Isa. 54:10; Luke 23:28-30; Jer. 31:3; Rom. 5:7-8

Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Tho' stretched from sky to sky.

1 John 4:8; Eph. 3:17-19; Ps. 100:5; Rom. 5:5; 2 Thess. 2:16

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Discover God's Plan for Hymns

When was the last time a hymn entered your mind, causing you to remember and apply the powerful truths of Scripture?

That was Colossians 3:16 in action and is just one small example of the ways God uses hymnody in the spiritual lives of His people.

Surprisingly, there aren't a lot of resources designed to help you be intentional in hymn study.

Enter Hymns Illustrated. Whether you buy a stand-alone hymn study pack to aid you in your family worship time, personal devotional time or in a homeschool setting or better yet, become a member, you can be sure of one thing:

Hymns Make Scripture Sticky.