The Story of Thomas O. Chisholm

The Story of Thomas O. Chisholm

Lily Topolski Music on Sep 8th 2022

Thomas Chisholm may or may not be a familiar name to you, but his most popular hymn is more than likely near the top of your list of favorites. This hymn, Great Is Thy Faithfulness, has been recorded many times by many artists and has been sung in countless churches over the last century.

Thomas O. Chisholm was born in 1866 in the state of Kentucky. He never went to high school, but became a school teacher at the young age of 16. Chisholm loved writing poems, and after his conversion to Christ at age 26 he started writing hymns. Some of these hymns were even sent to Fanny Crosby, who gave him much encouragement about his work.

As any writer knows, you must always be getting new ideas from somewhere for new songs. Some say they get their ideas from sermons, some from casual conversation with others, some from a Bible study, or some from all of the above and/or other sources. However, Thomas Chisholm was a different kind of writer. He took his ideas from mainly only one source: God's Word. He had resolved that he wanted his songs to have truth and meaning to them, not just empty words with no substance. Thus, he took his ideas from the best source he knew by either paraphrasing or using word for word verses from the Bible. In fact, you can see that his song Great Is Thy Faithfulness was written from Lamentations 3:22-23 (KJV) just from a glance at the verses:

It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.

Chisholm lived to be 93 years old and during his lifetime wrote very many hymns. His desire to bring others comfort through his songs by getting his influence from the Bible has certainly done just that. His songs have indeed comforted people of many ages and circumstances worldwide, especially Great Is Thy Faithfulness.

Information adapted from:

https://www.hymnologyarchive.com/thomas-chisholm

Photo taken from:

https://www.hymnologyarchive.com/thomas-chisholm