Sing of His Love

As David selected a few choice stones for battle, so pastors select a few choice songs each week he and his congregation can hurl against the kingdom of darkness. He needs songs sharp in truth and strong in melody. One valuable weapon-like melody is Samuel Trevor Francis’ “O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus.” In three short verses Francis manages to visualize the immense love of Christ for His church—a love which bought His people and beat the Devil.

When Crossing the Thames

Francis was born on November 19, 1834, in a village north of London. Having a artist for a father meant Francis developed early on a love and gift in poetry. In time he came to love music and joined the church choir at the age of nine. Yet, just like so many throughout the ages, Francis proceeded to spiritually wander through his teenage years.

One day, as he later wrote, “I was on my way home from work and had to cross Hungerford Bridge to the south of the Thames. During the winter’s night of wind and rain and in the loneliness of that walk, I cried to God to have mercy on me. I stayed for a moment to look at the dark waters flowing under the bridge, and the temptation was whispered to me: ‘Make an end of all this misery.’ I drew back from the evil thought, and suddenly a message was borne into my very soul: ‘You do believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?’ I at once answered, ‘I do believe,’ and I put my whole trust in Him as my Savior.”

Samuel Francis cultivated a deep, deep love for the Savior, joining a local body of believers, preaching the gospel at revivals, and leading worship. He later went on to write this powerful hymn, and he continued to fight the good fight, finishing well the race set before him—after ninety-two years.

A Moving Melody

“O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus,” Francis’ most famous hymn, is set to an appropriately rolling melody called “Ton-Y-Botel” (“Tune in a Bottle”) because of a legend that it was found in a bottle along the Welsh coast. It was actually composed by Thomas J. Williams and first appeared in a 1890 Welsh hymnal entitled Llawlyfn Moliant.

Here are three different recordings of the great hymn—one with the traditional melody, the other with a more contemplative arrangement by Bob Kauflin.


Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In its fullness over me
Underneath me, all around me
Is the current of Your love
Leading onward, leading homeward
To Your glorious rest above

CHORUS (Kauflin arrangement)
Oh the deep, deep love
All I need and trust
Is the deep, deep love of Jesus

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Spread His praise from shore to shore
How He came to pay our ransom
Through the saving cross He bore
How He watches o’er His loved ones
Those He died to make His own
How for them He’s interceding
Pleading now before the throne

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Far surpassing all the rest
It’s an ocean full of blessing
In the midst of every test
Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Mighty Savior, precious Friend
You will bring us home to glory
Where Your love will never end