Nearer My God to Thee/Naher, mein Gott, zu Dir

This moving song was written first by Sisters, Sarah Flower Adams and Eliza Flower in 1841 based on  Genesis 28: 11-29.  I cannot find the tune Eliza composed for her sister's lines any where, but the song was originally written for a hymn book by William Johnson Fox with whom the sisters were well acquainted. The song, however, did not gain much popularity in the states until it was wedded with Lowell Mason's tune, Bethany. This is the tune most of you probably know. There are other tunes such as "Horbury", by John Bacchus Dykes, "Propior Deo" and "St. Edmund" by Arthur Sullivan, all of which are beautiful as well but for me. I like Mason's tune the best since I heard it first! It is also the most popular of all the tunes everywhere elsse  except in England, where "Horbury" is sung, and among the British Methodists who prefer "Propior Deo" . But "Bethany" has still found its way into the British hymnals!
 This song was also translated into German and I think it is just as beautiful in that tongue as it is in ours. So I will post two videos, one in German and one in English. Tell me what you think!


Näher, mein Gott, zu Dir,
Näher zu Dir!
Drückt mich auch Kummer hier,
Drohet man mir,
Soll doch trotz Kreuz und Pein,
Dies meine Losung sein:

Näher, mein Gott, zu Dir,
Näher zu Dir!

Bricht mir, wie Jakob dort,
Nacht auch herein,
Find ich zum Ruheort
Nur einen Stein,
Ist selbst im Traume hier
Mein Sehnen für und für:

Näher, mein Gott, zu Dir,
Näher zu Dir!

Geht auch die schmale Bahn,
Aufwärts gar steil,
Führt sie doch himmelan
Zu meinem Heil.
Engel so licht und schön
Winken aus sel'gen Höhn:

Näher, mein Gott, zu Dir,
Näher zu Dir!

Ist dann die Nacht vorbei,
Leuchtet die Sonn,
Weih ich mich Dir aufs neu
Vor Deinem Thron,
Baue mein Bethel Dir,
Und jauchz mit Freuden hier:

Näher, mein Gott, zu Dir,
Näher zu Dir!


Ist mir auch ganz verhüllt
Mein Weg allhier:
Wird nur mein Wunsch erfüllt
Näher zu dir!
Schließt dann mein Pilgerlauf,
Schwing ich mich selig auf

Näher, mein Gott, zu Dir,
Näher zu Dir!


They don't sing all the verses in the video, but you get the idea.



Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!

Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
Darkness be over me, my rest a stone.
Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God to Thee.
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!

There let the way appear, steps unto Heav’n;
All that Thou sendest me, in mercy given;
Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee.
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!

Then, with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise;
So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee.
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!

Or, if on joyful wing cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upward I’ll fly,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!
Enjoy! Tell me which one you prefer!

2 Responses
  1. Lisa Hellwig Says:

    Beautiful, my dear!
    However, they are both in English... I think you mentioned that one was in German. No worries, I like English better!
    Now, can you find one in French? ;-)


  2. Sorry about that! I fixed it. Now you can hear it in German!