I Will Sing of My Redeemer with Lyrics by Fernando Ortega - Touching Story Behind the Song

Philip Paul Bliss (1838-1876), was a well known teacher, evangelist and soloist. He wrote many hymns, including Almost Persuaded, Let the Lower Lights Be Burning, and Wonderful Words of Life. He also composed the melody for Horatio Spafford's It Is Well with My Soul.

Bliss and his wife Lucy traveled extensively, spreading the Gospel in song. In December, 1876, they were taking a much needed break; spending Christmas Holidays with Bliss' parents, in Pennsylvania. On the 28th, after receiving a request by telegram from D.L. Moody, the couple left their two children with grandparents and traveled by train to attend an evangelistic meeting in Chicago.

While ministering at the meeting, Bliss spoke these words to the congregation: I may not pass this way again, after which he sang, I'm Going Home Tomorrow. His words and song would prove to be prophetic.

On the 29th of December, 1876, Bliss and his wife boarded a train back to Pennsylvania. The winter snow and ice made for dangerous travel. As their train was crossing over a river in Ashtabula, Ohio, the bridge suddenly gave way and all the carriages fell into the freezing waters below. Bliss escaped through a window, only to find that Lucy had somehow been left behind in the burning wreckage. Although he was advised against it, Bliss headed back into the fire, saying: "If I cannot save her, I will perish with her." The young couple did not survive.

Of the 160 passengers, only 68 survived the disaster which took the lives of Lucy and Philip Bliss. The few remains retrieved from the accident site were placed in a common grave marked by a monument, in the Ashtabula Cemetery. Another monument was erected in Pennsylvania, in memory of Philip and Lucy Bliss.

Among Bliss' belongings were the lyrics to I Will Sing of My Redeemer. In 1877, the hymn was set to music by composer and evangelist James McGranahan (1840 -1907), whose works included There Shall Be Showers of Blessing. That same year, singer and musician George Cole Stebbins (1846-1945), who composed many hymns, including Saved by Grace and Take Time To be Holy, made a recording of I Will Sing of My Redeemer - one of the first songs ever to be recorded on Thomas Edison's new invention, the phonograph.

I Will Sing of My Redeemer

I will sing of my Redeemer,
And His wondrous love to me;
On the cruel cross He suffered,
From the curse to set me free.

Sing, oh sing, of my Redeemer,
With His blood, He purchased me.
On the cross, He sealed my pardon,
Paid the debt, and made me free.

I will tell the wondrous story,
How my lost estate to save,
In His boundless love and mercy,
He the ransom freely gave.


I will praise my dear Redeemer,
His triumphant power I'll tell,
How the victory He giveth
Over sin, and death, and hell.


I will sing of my Redeemer,
And His heav'nly love to me;
He from death to life hath brought me,
Son of God with Him to be.