The Best Gospel Music Songs of All Time

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,

Here are the best gospel music songs of all time. This list was created by taking into consideration sales, radio airplay, and popularity.

Precious Lord, Take My Hand – Thomas A. Dorsey

“Precious Lord, Take My Hand” is a gospel song written by Thomas A. Dorsey and first published in 1932. Dorsey was inspired to write the song after his wife Nettie died during childbirth. The song has been recorded by many artists, but the most influential version was recorded by Mahalia Jackson in 1954. Jackson’s recording of the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

Amazing Grace – John Newton

“Amazing Grace” is a Christian hymn published in 1779, with words written by the English poet and hymnist John Newton (1725–1807). Newton wrote the words from personal experience. He grew up without any particular religious conviction, but his life’s path was formed by a variety of twists and coincidences that were often put into motion by his recalcitrant insubordination.

What a Friend We Have in Jesus – Joseph Scriven

This popular hymn was written by Joseph Scriven in 1855 as a way to comfort his mother back in Ireland after the death of his fiancée. The hymn quickly caught on, and has since been recorded by artists like Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, and Carrie Underwood.

Blessed Assurance – Fanny Crosby

“Blessed Assurance” is a Christian hymn written by Fanny Crosby in 1873. The hymn is based on Psalm 27:1, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” and tells of the author’s personal faith in Jesus Christ.

The song was first published in The Gospel Messenger, a publication of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in 1873. It became popular among evangelicals, and soon after was included in several hymnals. In 1912, it was recorded by the Edison Male Quartette, one of the earliest recordings of the song. The song has been recorded by many Christian artists over the years, including Mahalia Jackson, Marian Anderson, Bessie Smith, Aretha Franklin, Alison Krauss, Carrie Underwood and Stevie Wonder.

It Is Well With My Soul – Horatio Spafford

It Is Well With My Soul is a hymn written by Horatio Spafford and composed by Philip Bliss. First published in Gospel Songs No. 2 by Ira D. Sankey and Bliss (1876), it is possibly the best-known of the many works written by Spafford, a lawyer who suffered several personal tragedies, including the death of four of his children.

The lyrics of this hymn are based on Spafford’s experience of assurance and hope in the midst of personal tragedy. Despite all that he had been through, Spafford was able to say “It is well with my soul.” The hymn has been recorded by many artists over the years and has become a classic piece of gospel music.

Be Still, My Soul – Katharina von Schlegel

“Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He
Will direct thy paths.”

“Be Still, My Soul” is a Christian hymn, most likely written by Katharina von Schlegel in the early 18th century. The hymn’s text is based on Psalm 46:10, which reads, “Be still and know that I am God.”

The hymn first appeared in print in 1752 in a collection of hymns compiled by von Schlegel’s daughter-in-law. It quickly became popular among German Lutherans and soon spread to other Protestant denominations. Today, it is one of the most widely-known and beloved gospel music songs of all time.

Softly and Tenderly – Will L. Thompson

Softly and Tenderly is a much-loved gospel song written by Will L. Thompson in 1880. The song has been recorded by many artists over the years, but Thompson’s original version remains the most popular.

The lyrics of the song are simple and beautiful, and they expressThompson’s deep love for Jesus Christ. The first verse begins with the words, “Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling/ Calling for you and for me…” These opening lines are stunning in their simplicity, and they set the tone for the rest of the song.

The chorus of Softly and Tenderly is just as beautiful as the verses, and it captures the essence of Thompson’s message perfectly. The chorus goes like this: “Come home, come home/ You who are weary, come home/ Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling/ Calling, oh sinner, come home.”

There is no doubt that Softly and Tenderly is one of the most beautiful gospel songs ever written. It is a timeless classic that continues to touch the hearts of people all over the world.

In the Garden – C. Austin Miles

This 1911 classic by C. Austin Miles is still one of the most popular gospel songs of all time. The simple, elegant lyrics express the beauty and peace of being in nature, and the deep faith that God is always with us.

Jesus Loves Me – Anna B. Warner

Jesus Loves Me is a simple song with a powerful message. It has been a favorite of children and adults alike for over 150 years, and its popularity shows no signs of waning. The lyrics express the unconditional love of God for all people, and the tune is both catchy and easy to sing. Whether you are a long-time fan of gospel music or just discovering it for the first time, Jesus Loves Me is a must-hear song.

Rock of Ages – Augustus M. Toplady

Rock of Ages is a popular Christian hymn by Augustus M. Toplady written in 1763. It is based on Psalm 51, the penitential Psalm of David. The first two verses of the hymn describe the wretchedness of man and his utter dependence on the mercy of God for salvation. The third verse contains a prayer for forgiveness and cleansing, and the fourth verse is a statement of faith in God’s redeeming power. The fifth verse is an expression of hope in God’s continued care and protection.

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