What the Use of “My God” in the Psalms Teaches Us about Our Hymnody

July 7, 2020

The phrase “my God” occurs in Scripture 148 times in 137 verses in 32 books. A comparative evaluation of the frequency of the occurrence of this phrase in Psalms with its use in a modern hymnal reveals an important change that needs to be made in our hymnology.

Use in the Book of Psalms

Strikingly, the book of Psalms has the phrase 53x in 53 verses in 34 Psalms, which far exceeds its use in any other book of Scripture.

Because 34/150 Psalms have this phrase in them, we learn that 22.7% of the songs in the perfect hymnal of God use this expression. The significance of this frequency becomes clear when it is compared to the use of the phrase in a modern hymnal.

Use in a Modern Hymnal

Through an examination of more than 700 hymns in a modern hymnal, I discovered that the phrase “my God” occurs only 20 times in 13 songs in this hymnal! This data reveals that the entirety of the hymnal has the phrase in under 2% of the songs.

A Revealing Comparison

Comparing the less than 2% frequency of the songs that have the phrase in a modern hymnal to the 22.7% of the songs in the Psalms shows that the Psalms use this phrase more than ten times as often as this modern hymnal does. Because Psalms is an inspired hymnal, this data teaches us that we do not use this key phrase nearly as often as we should in our hymnody.

Application

Writers of sacred songs should allow the Psalms to shape every aspect of what they write. This study shows that we need to use the phrase “my God” much more often in our sacred songs today.

Rajesh

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