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I Knew Not

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Daniel Webster Whittle (1840-1901) was a Gospel song lyricist, evangelist, and Bible teacher. He marched with Sherman and was wounded at the Battle of Vicksburg. He mostly wrote under the pseudonym “El Nathan.”

He was widely known for the hymn, “moment by moment” and today’s topic “I know whom I have believed.”

It is wonderful to have a song whose entire chorus is a quote of Pauline Scripture, in this case, 2 Timothy 1:12. Yet in contrast to Paul’s statement of “knowing” who he had believed, the author Mr. Whittle writes the preceding verse as “not knowing.”

God tells us that He would not have us to be ignorant (Romans 11:25) and has made know His manifold wisdom (Ephesians 3:10). A single letter change makes a major doctrinal difference.

Instead of “I know not,” it now reads, “I knew not” and “but now I know,” as well as some other doctrinal changes made as you will see.

We will keep the wonderful tune by James McGranahan (1840-1907) written with Whittle in 1883.

I Know Whom I Have Believed

1. I knew not why God’s wondrous grace to all

He hath made known, nor how, unworthy

Christ in love- Redeemed us for His own.

2. I knew not how His righteousness to me,

He did impart, nor how through faith in God’s shed blood,

Wrought peace with-in my heart.

3. I knew not how the Spirit places us in Christ’s death for sin,

Nor how I could be crucified with Him,

Never my works to build again.

4. I knew not how my Lord may come to meet us in the air,

Nor where I could spend eternity,

Forever reigning with Him there.

Chorus: But I know whom I have believed,

And am persuaded that He is able,

To keep that which I’ve committed

Unto Him against that day.

You can know too! Acts 16:30-31

Sing as unto the Lord

(Psalm 104:31-35)

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