O WORD OF GOD INCARNATE
William W. How, 1823–1897
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17)
Everyone has a basic premise for his life’s convictions. The Christian begins with Jesus Christ, who came to earth to reveal God to man. The Christian also believes in the absolute historicity of Jesus as recorded in the Scriptures, the only authentic record of our Lord’s life and works. For God’s people, then, the Bible is the most important book in life. Though written by forty different writers from Moses to John over a period of 1600 years, there is a perfect harmony throughout all 66 books. This is proof that the book is truly “God-breathed” and that the real author was the Holy Spirit.
The writer of this hymn text, William W. How, was a bishop of the Anglican church in London, England. He was known as an outstanding hymnist, the composer of sixty excellent hymns of which 25 are still in use.
In the first stanza of this hymn, Bishop How affirms that the Bible is God’s Truth revealed and is a light from one age to another. In the second stanza, he states that Christ has entrusted His Holy Word to the Church so that it might be revealed as a light to all the world. Then he describes the Bible in picturesque language in stanza three and closes the hymn with a prayer that the Church may always continue to bear God’s revealed truth to all people everywhere.
O Word of God Incarnate, O Wisdom from on high, O Truth unchanged, unchanging, O Light of our dark sky: We praise Thee for the radiance that from the hallowed page, a lantern to our footsteps, shines on from age to age.
The Church from her dear Master, received the gift divine, and still that light she lifteth o’er all the earth to shine. It is the sacred casket, where gems of truth are stored; it is the heav’n-drawn picture of Thee, the living Word.
It floateth like a banner before God’s host unfurled; it shineth like a beacon above the dark’ning world. It is the chart and compass that o’er life’s surging sea, ’mid mists and rocks and quick sands, still guides, O Christ, to Thee.
O make Thy Church, dear Savior, a lamp of purest gold, to bear before the nations Thy true light as of old. O teach Thy wandering pilgrims by this their path to trace, till, clouds and darkness ended, they see Thee face to face.
For Today: Psalm 60:4; 119:105, 130, 160; Mark 13:31; John 1:1, 2
Breathe a prayer of thanks to God for the Bible—our guide for this life and our road map for heaven. Reflect on this musical truth as you go—