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Lyrics to Amazing Grace

Updated on January 28, 2014

The Inspiration for the Lyrics to Amazing Grace

The waves crashed over and through the upper timbers of John's ship. If not for the fact that John Newton had tethered himself to the ship, he would surely have been washed overboard along with many of his shipmates.

The waves from the heavy storm had broken through the side of the ship. The captain had declared that they all would surely perish, but the crew scrambled feverishly to repair the damage and pump out the water that violently gushed in.

They kept up this torrid pace through the night and into the next morning. John and the rest of the crew were exhausted. He began passionatly praying to the God whom he had not even considered for many years.

John Newton's Early Years

John's mother was a devout believer in the one true God and taught John to worship God and to trust in Him. But when he was only six years old, his mother died from tuberculosis.

John's father, a wealthy and influential merchant ship captain, sent John to a boarding school. During that time, he forgot all that his mother had taught him.

At eleven years of age, John's father invited him to become a crew member on his ship to learn his trade. During the next few years, John made five voyages to the Mediterranean with his father.

Then John's father decided that his and his son's future were on land. He made no more voyages after this, but he arranged, with a friend, to have John employed on a plantation. John accepted the offer, but in the meantime, met a girl that he became very fond of. John stayed with her and her family for several weeks past the time he was supposed to begin his new position.

In anger, John's father sent him on a voyage to the Middle East as a common seaman. After one voyage, John's father secured an officer's position on another ship. But again, John overstayed a visit to his young lady friend and missed the opportunity.

This began a pattern for John. His father provided him opportunity after opportunity and each time John fouled them up. So it goes when an individual is provided opportunities that they don't deserve and haven't worked for. They never learn to value and appreciate what they are given. That was the state of John's character when he boarded the "Greyhound".

God's Amazing Grace Revealed

One night, while on board the "Greyhound", John was awakened by water gushing into his cabin. As John was climbing the stairs to go on deck, the Captain asked him to get a knife, so John turned back. The very next person to go on deck was washed into the sea by a large wave.

After nearly twenty-four hours of pumping water, patching holes, and repairing the ship, the storm subsided. Only then, did the crew realize that they were in danger of starvation, for most of their supplies had been destroyed by the storm waters.

To further complicate their chance of survival, the winds died down and their vessel sat still for some time. With their supplies running dry, the winds began again, but blew them off course.

They finally arrived on the northwestern coast of Ireland about four weeks after the storm damage they suffered.

Through this ordeal, John Newton came to full surrender to God's amazing grace.

John Newton's Reflections

My Gracious Lord, Thou hast preserved me to see another anniversary of that great, awful and merciful day, when I was upon the point of sinking with all my sins and blasphemies upon my head into the pit which has no bottom, and must have sunk, has not Thine eye pitied me, and preserved me in a manner which appears to me little less miraculous, than all the wonders Thou didst perform for Israel in Egypt and at the Red Sea.

O I have now cause to praise thee for that terrible storm, which first shook my infidelity, and made me apprehensive that death was not, as my corrupt heart had persuaded me, an eternal sleep.

I thank Thee, likewise, for the subsequent month, when we expected to be starved, or reduced to feed upon one another and it not been for this protected season of distress, my first impressions might have worn off, but Thou fixed and increased them, so that by the time we arrived in Ireland, I was no longer an infidel. Not one of my fellow sufferers was affected as I was. Well I might say with wonder and gratitude, Why me O Lord, Why me?

Original Lyrics to Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace Lyrics Authored

The words to the famous hymn were penned by John Newton in 1772, twenty-four years after the violent storm from which his life had been spared in 1748.

At that time, hymns were not sung, but rather chanted. The famous melody was not written by John Newton, but probably added in America years later, as the tune is from a traditional plantation melody entitled "Loving Lambs".

This famous last verse was written later by someone other than John Newton.

When we've been there ten thousand years,

Bright shining as the sun,

We've no less days to sing God's praise,

Than when we'd first begun.

Expressions of an African American

Although Wintley Phipps's history is not entirely accurate, it's a decent summary of the background of the song. His heartfelt story and magnificent rendition of how the African American feels about the song, Amazing Grace, is truly a moving experience.

Watch and listen to the video below.

As Performed by Wintley Phipps

Great Performances of the Hymn "Amazing Grace"

Amazing Grace has been performed by they finest musicians of all time. Here are a few of those performances.

The king Singing About The King

Mehalia Jackson

Leann Rimes

The Best of "Amazing Grace"

Grouped above are some of my favorite renditions of the song "Amazing Grace" that you can purchase at

Watch the videos to the right of several performances of the song by various artists. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Review of the Movie "Amazing Grace"

The 2006 movie "Amazing Grace" is neither about the song "Amazing Grace" nor it's writer, John Newton, although both are represented in the movie.

"Amazing Grace" is about William Wilberforce and his campaign to abolish slave trading in the early 1800's. Newton serves as an advisor and encouragement to Wilberforce in his campaign, but is not directly involved in the fight.

This is an enlightening and thought provoking rendition. Although not entirely accurate, historically, the dramatic effects that were added don't take away from the deeper purpose of the characters.

Amazing Grace Movie Trailer

Purchase Amazing Grace Movie and CD's

Amazing Grace is Everyone's Favorite Hymn

People of all ages have claimed Amazing Grace to be a favorite hymn. Besides being sung by various well know artists, it is also sung in churches and homes around the world.

Watch this cute video of a talented 3 year-old singing this favorite.

Lyrics to Amazing Grace

Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That sav'd a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev'd;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ'd!
Thro' many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promis'd good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures
Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the vail,
A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call'd me here below, 
Will be for ever mine.


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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      It never fails to move anyone, when sung so beautiful on its own, how i love meryl streeps version so beautiful, so inspirational, it regained my faith in God.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very interesting read! This is my favorite song of all time!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      The song "Amazing Grace" since I first heard it many years ago has always given me chills and brought tears to my eyes. I have just this year, found God! I beleive that song was written with so much love and sincerity that when it is sung the Holy Spirit radiates from the singer touching those who hear the melody. I congradulate you on this hub. Your comment "If even one life might be is worth the effort". My friend, you have!

      I thank God for this blessing.

    • thecatholicexpert profile image


      9 years ago

      Awesome hub thanks for sharing it with all us. I especially enjoyed the video of the little girl singing amazing grace it was funny. God Bless!

    • jjmyles profile image


      9 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Wonderful hub! It touches my heart To learn the story behind this beautiful song because I have experienced so much of God's amazing Grace in my own life.

    • joshuachlim profile image

      joshua chin hong lim 

      10 years ago from Penang, Malaysia

      good research

    • met4a profile image


      10 years ago from usa

      Nice work! Keep it up!!

    • aceofhearts552000 profile image

      Scott Buchanan 

      10 years ago from Ocala,Fl.

      Awesome post Amazing Grace is my favorite Biblical song. I can relate to that song so much.

    • Mike Dennis profile image

      Mike Dennis 

      10 years ago

      a song that will live forever.

      Praise God.

      love to be fans and share hubs and comments.


    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      10 years ago

      Very nice,

      Wonderfully written and presented!

      Wonderful variations of "Amazing Grace."


    • Ebower profile image

      Erin Bower 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      Wonderful, informative hub! Classic song with a great message! :)

    • profile image

      Kim Garcia 

      10 years ago

      Absolutely wonderful Hub!! I have heard this story before, but you have expressed it in such a touching way. Thank you for this post as well as the memorable and unforgettable classic recordings!! peace ~ K "Elvis always gets to me." = )

    • Pastor_Walt profile image


      10 years ago from Jefferson City, Tennessee

      Great hub - Thumbs up from a new fan. This is also one of my favorites!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Amazing Grace is and will always be the most powerful hymn in all of Christianity! Amen Love the liitle girl!

    • cces profile image


      10 years ago from New Jersey

      Hymns always mean so much more when you know the story behind them and a little bit more about the writer's story. Thanks!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      There's no mention in the history about John being a slave ship captain and that his conversion came after he realized what he was doing. As I understand it the lyrics emphasize his enormous gratitude for God's grace given what he had done for a living.

    • profile image

      Dian Febrina  

      11 years ago


    • Seek profile image


      11 years ago from Singapore

      This is a great hub! This hymn never fails to touch my heart whenever I worship Jesus with it.

    • ohohdon profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Yakima

      Yes, of course. It's on the soundtrack for the movie. I understand that he was very uncomfortable adding his verse to the song. As it turns out, it was a great addition and flowed very well with the rest of the song. "My Chains are Gone, I've been set free..."

      I love the arrangement, as well. I've been in several worship services with Chris Tomlin and have always been fond of his style and heart, so I may have a little bias.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Have you seen or heard the version of Amazing Grace by Chris Tomlin? Tomlin added a chorus and his recorded version uses the original ending verse and anohter verse with which I was also not familiar. I am glad to learn of the other verses and to hear it in a modern recording.

    • commentonthis7 profile image


      11 years ago

      Great Hub Great Song i like how Leann Rimes sing the song

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Any idea of any singers that have done a recording of the ORIGINAL and complete Amazing Grace as it was written by John Newton?

    • ohohdon profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Yakima

      I just added a video of a young, talented child singing Amazing Grace.

    • WeddingConsultant profile image


      11 years ago from DC Metro Area

      ohohdon, I know it's been said before, but again what a wonderfully touching hub. There are a TON of stories out there behind the popular hymns sung in many churches today. It's always touching to revisit them and acknowledge the hand of Someone at work...

    • ohohdon profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Yakima

      Thank you all for the very kind words. I've always loved the song, but after doing the research to write this hub, I've grown to appreciate it even more deeply.

    • MarloByDesign profile image


      12 years ago from United States

      This song always brings tears to my eyes.... What a wonderful opportunity to come across your Hub and see that you spent the time to capture the history of the song, examples of the song sung by different artists, and the lyrics.

      Thank you - a great experience to read and listen! Well done.

    • MrMarmalade profile image


      12 years ago from Sydney


      Thro' many dangers, toils and snares,I have already come;'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,And grace will lead me home.

      I thank God everyday for his grace. Have always loved the beautiful hymn. You have created a magic hub with a lot of research. Thank you for you time and effort

    • cgull8m profile image


      12 years ago from North Carolina

      Well done, much better than the Wikipedia article, how adversity has created such a masterpiece. Cheers.

    • ohohdon profile imageAUTHOR


      12 years ago from Yakima

      Thank you, Doghouse and ripplemaker, for your comments. I try to take a lot of pride in my work and not put out anything that will not be a satisfying experience for those who read it. This one took me about a week to prepare - partly because I'm not that fast, and partly because I don't want to put out any junk.

      The reality is that I thoroughly enjoyed doing the research and putting it on "paper". What a fun hub to write!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      12 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Woh, its wonderful to know the story behind a song. I so love this song and the knowledge you imparted here brings a deeper meaning to it. Thank YOu very Much.

    • In The Doghouse profile image

      In The Doghouse 

      12 years ago from California


      Clearly one of the best HUBS I have read in a long time. Thank you for your well thought out, thoroughly researched, artistic production of this amazing song. Thumbs up for sure.

    • ohohdon profile imageAUTHOR


      12 years ago from Yakima

      SirDent, Yes, I sort of slipped that verse in just to the left of the original hymn lyrics. It was written later by someone other than John Newton, but, it has become one of the more popular verses of the hymn.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Great hub for sure. It seems there is one more stanza that isn't mentioned. Could have been added later by another person I suppose.

      When we’ve been there ten thousand years,

      Bright shining as the sun,

      We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise

      Than when we’d first begun.

      A big thumbs up from me.

    • singingmommy profile image

      Candace Green 

      12 years ago from OKLAHOMA

      Your most welcome. That sort of attitude will take you far!

    • ohohdon profile imageAUTHOR


      12 years ago from Yakima

      SingingMommy, Thank you so much. That means so much to me, especially coming from an expert hubber. I'm pleased that it moved you so. I too was moved quite deeply while researching the topic. It's an incredible story of God's life changing grace. If even one life might be changed as a result of my efforts, then it's worth all the time and energy I could put into such a project.

    • Singing Lessons profile image

      Singing Lessons 

      12 years ago

    • singingmommy profile image

      Candace Green 

      12 years ago from OKLAHOMA

      I have got to say that is ranked one of the greatest hubs A+. I was completely touched, I cried. The timeless song " Amazing Grace " is a testimony of millions and an invitation to all who havn't yet believed. The hub was very well designed and written as well. I am proud of you, keep writing hubs like these, you just might change someones life:.)

    • ohohdon profile imageAUTHOR


      12 years ago from Yakima

      Mark, Thanks for the suggestion, and it's a good idea. I can easily add a couple of the pictures that I've come across in my research that might accomplish that.

      Patty, interesting story about the whales. I'll have to research that a little more. Maybe it will be a future hub if there is anything to the story. Also, it's been a long time since I've seen any of the Star Trek movies. I've probably seen Star Trek IV but my memory fades. I'll have to pull it out of archives and review it.

      Bob and Mary, Thanks for the kind words

    • profile image

      Marye Audet 

      12 years ago

      Very nice. Keep up the good work

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Interesting Hub--

      There was oceanography research in the mid-1990s in which scientists disocovered that certain whales were humming the melody of Amazing Grace among their other communcations. These men decided that the slaves likely sung while they rowed the slave ships  and whales swam bseide the boats and picked up the tune and passed it down their generatons. Some records say that the tune to Amazing Grace was in part from a song brought over from Africa by the slaves in the 1600s and from their it was expanded on the plantations.

      Did you aee The Voyage Home (Star Trek IV), the whale story, btw?


    • bobw profile image


      12 years ago from Laurel, DE

      Nice looking hub page with excellent information!

    • Mark Knowles profile image

      Mark Knowles 

      12 years ago

      Nice - Well researched and more information than I would have thought exsisted for this subject. Well written and nicely laid out - but I would break the text block at the top up a little with a video or photo, I think - it's a bit much in one swallow - I won't be upset if you delete this comment, I was just responding.



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