Jump directly to the Content


One way to introduce a song with great words but difficult music is to sing it to a familiar tune. And likewise, familiar words can take on new meaning and power when placed in a new musical context.

This is why I rely on the metrical index, a feature in many of the better hymnals. Because likemetered hymns are virtually interchangeable, this can add freshness to congregational singing.

The following list represents just a few examples of the hundreds of possibilities a metrical index provides. The numerals indicate the number of syllables per line; the letter D stands for a doubled (repeated) metrical pattern.

Long Meter-8,8,8,8

All People (Old 100th)

Jesus Shall Reign

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

'Tis Midnight

Just As I Am

O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee


Short Meter-6,6,8,6

A Charge to Keep

Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart

Come We That Love the Lord

Blest Be the Tie

I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord

Breathe on Me

Short Meter Double-6,6,8,6D

Crown Him with Many Crowns

This Is My Father's World

Make Me a Captive, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

From Issue:Fall 1990: Assimilation
Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Pitchfork and Pentecostals
Pitchfork and Pentecostals
What do we lose when we control our worship too much?
From the Magazine
The Unearthed Conscience of Black Fundamentalism
The Unearthed Conscience of Black Fundamentalism
A hard racial line divided conservative white and Black Protestants 100 years ago. It didn’t have to be that way.
Editor's Pick
How to Fight Peer Pressure Culture in Our Churches
How to Fight Peer Pressure Culture in Our Churches
Recent examples of fallen ministries show us that conformity can be dangerous.