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Read the Story and Listen to "God Be with You Till We Meet Again" Choral Arrangement by Daniel Carter

Updated on February 14, 2016

A "Christian Farewell" Song

Jeremiah E. Rankin, author of the lyric of "God Be with You Till We Meet Again" said that his only purpose in writing such a hymn was to provide a "goodbye song" for Christians. The universal phrase which first came to mind that suited his idea was God Be with You Till We Meet Again.

Jeremiah E. Rankin Wrote the Lyric

The Words to the Hymn

Text: Jeremiah E. Rankin, 1828–1904
Music: William G. Tomer, 1833–1896

1. God be with you till we meet again;
by his counsels guide, uphold you,
with his sheep securely fold you;
God be with you till we meet again.
Till we meet, till we meet,
till we meet at Jesus' feet;
till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.

2. God be with you till we meet again;
neath his wings securely hide you,
daily manna still provide you;
God be with you till we meet again.

3. God be with you till we meet again;
when life's perils thick confound you,
put his arms unfailing round you;
God be with you till we meet again.

4. God be with you till we meet again;
keep love's banner floating o'er you,
smite death's threatening wave before you;
God be with you till we meet again.

Brief History of Jeremiah E. Rankin

Jeremiah Rankin was born January 2, 1828 in Thornton, New Hampshire. Working in the ministry attracted him from a fairly early age. He studied for the ministry at Andover Theological Seminary in Newtonville, Massachusetts. After his ordination, he served as pastor all along the east coast, churning out numerous hymn texts. But then came the idea for a "goodbye song" for Christian services. One might think there was a special story behind God Be with You till We Meet Again, but there really wasn't.

In Rankin's own words, he said:
"Written…as a Christian good-bye, it was called forth by no per­son or oc­ca­sion, but was de­lib­er­ate­ly com­posed as a Christ­ian hymn on the ba­sis of the ety­mol­o­gy of “good-bye,” which is “God be with you.” The first stan­za was writ­ten and sent to two com­pos­ers—one of un­u­su­al note, the other whol­ly un­known and not tho­rough­ly ed­u­cat­ed in mu­sic. I se­lect­ed the com­po­si­tion of the lat­ter, sub­mit­ted it to J. W. Bischoff—the mu­sic­al di­rect­or of a lit­tle book we were pre­par­ing—who ap­proved of it, but made some cri­ti­cisms, which were adopt­ed. It was sung for the first time one ev­en­ing in the First Con­gre­ga­tion­al Church in Wash­ing­ton, of which I was then the pas­tor and Mr. Bis­choff the org­an­ist. I at­trib­ut­ed its pop­u­lar­i­ty in no lit­tle part to the mu­sic to which it was set. It was a wed­ding of words and mu­sic, at which it was my func­tion to pre­side; but Mr. To­mer should have his full share of the fam­i­ly hon­or."

The hymn was published, in 1882, by Rankin, who at the time, was pastor of the First Congregational Church of Washington D.C. The poem that Rankin originally wrote had eight verses. However, only three or four of those verses are commonly used today, which most often include the second, fourth and seventh.

Rankin also wrote Tell it to Jesus, which is almost as popular as God Be with You.

William G. Tomer

Little is known of the composer, William Gould Tomer. He was born on October 5, 1833. He served in the Union Army during the Civil War and then became a public school teacher in New Jersey. Serving as music director at the Grace Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington D.C., he was contacted by Ranking who sent him the text of the hymn, and Tomer set the tune as we sing it today. Later Tomer returned to New Jersey, where he spent the remainder of his life teaching school. His beloved hymn was sung at his own funeral, in 1896.

Vocal solo version is included in this popular collection.
Vocal solo version is included in this popular collection. | Source

Vocal Solo Version

Sheet music is available in both choral and vocal solo arrangements.

The vocal solo is included in a collection of arrangements of timeless classics, such as How Can I Keep from Singing? (with flute obbligato) and Amazing Grace (with violin obbligatto). All Creatures of Our God and King, and I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go, as well as God Be with You Till We Meet Again, and more. Order Hymns for Solo Voice 2 here.


Choral Version

The single vocal solo and choral version of God Be With You Till We Meet Again are available at


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    • profile image

      KAH from Branson 3 years ago

      Love this! I think you must be a musical genius.

    • Daniel Carter profile image

      Daniel Carter 7 years ago from Western US

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for introducing this beautiful hymn and information about their lives.