We sang this hymn in church recently and I was reminded of how much I love it. Maybe resonates so strongly with Lutherans, because it appeals to our attachment to Martin Luther’s first sola — “Sola Scriptura” (Scripture Alone). If you are not familiar with the lyrics, it exalts the Word of God.
First published in 1787 in a hymnbook edited by John Rippon entitled A Selection of Hymns from the Best Authors, the name of the author is a mystery. In the hymnbook, it was attributed only to “K—.” This is thought by many to be a reference to Robert Keene, who was a friend of John Rippon’s and was the leader of music at the Carter Lane Baptist Church in London when Rippon was the pastor. However, this is cannot be known positively.
Despite the anonymity of its origins, for over 230 years How Firm a Foundation has brought comfort and encouragement to countless believers. It was sung at the death bead of President Andrew Jackson and at the funerals of Robert E. Lee and Theodore Roosevelt.