Hymn Writers

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#242: “Hymn Writers”
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18: A Time of Discovery
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Psalm 96:1-2

11 Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. 2Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.

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Hymn Writers

“Hymn Writers” is episode #242 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written and directed by Phil Lollar, and originally aired on September 4, 1993.


Kids' Radio tells the inspiring stories behind popular hymns written by Christian greats Martin Luther, Philip Bliss and Fanny Crosby.



Another Kids Radio program called "A Moment in Time" is premiering, and it looks at important historical events. Whit, the host, informs us that the topic of this program is hymns. The guests are three people who wrote some of the greatest and best-loved hymns.

First, we go to Wittenberg, Germany, in the year 1517. There, we meet the author of the hymn "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" Martin Luther. The hymn was an anthem for the Reformation, which was brought about when Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church at Wittenberg, one of the most significant events in church history.

Next, we go to Ashtabula, Ohio, in the year 1876 to visit a remarkable musician named Philip Bliss. He wrote some of the church's most memorable hymns. Bliss was a contemporary of the great preacher D. L. Moody and wrote many of his hymns for Moody's evangelistic crusades. We hear the story behind perhaps his most famous hymn, "My Redeemer."

Finally, we move to Connecticut in the year 1915 to visit with the most prolific hymnist ever, a lady known as "the Queen of Hymns," and "the Happiest Creature in all the World," Fanny J. Crosby. Fanny shares snatches of just a few of her more than 8,000 hymns. She wrote classics such as "All the Way My Savior Leads Me," "Rescue the Perishing," and "Blessed Assurance." As "A Moment in Time" concludes, we understand why the Bible says we should speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.

This plot section is too short and should be expanded. »

Discussion Questions

  1. Why did Martin Luther nail the 95 theses to the church door at Wittenberg?
  2. Why was Fanny J. Crosby known as “the Happiest Creature in All the World”?
  3. Why is it important for us to sing hymns? Do you sing them in your church?
  4. Is there a difference between Hymns and just "Christian songs"?
  5. Do you have a favorite Hymn?
    • Why is it your favorite?


Role Voice Actor
Major Daniel Whittle Nathan Carlson
Fanny Crosby Flo Di Re
Jenny Roberts Natalie Babbitt
John Whittaker Hal Smith
Lawrence Hodges Gabriel Encarnacion
Lucy Cunningham-Schultz Genni Long
Martin Luther Scott Rummel
Philip Bliss Nathan Carlson
Father Tetzel Nathan Carlson


  • This episode is very unique in that it includes no incidental music. Other than the opening and closing theme, the only musical cues heard during the episode are piano-accompanied hymns.
  • The chorus singing hymns throughout this episode seems to include Phil Lollar, whose voice can be heard singing harmony.
  • In a nice bit of continuity, Nathan Carlson reprises his portrayal of Philip Bliss in this episode after first voicing the character in another hymn-centric episode earlier in the year, #221: “It Is Well”.
  • The scene at Wittenberg contains some goofs (or at least some out of order events)—most of them because they had to cram about 20 years of history into five minutes. The two big ones were firstly that Father Tetzel wasn't Pastor at Wittenberg, rather Luther was; and second, the two men never met face to face.


Fanny Crosby: Listen, before you go I have a little something special for you.
Jenny Roberts: Really?
Fanny Crosby: Yes. It's a poem I wrote when I was eight years old. "Oh what a happy soul am I. Although I cannot see. I am resolved that in this world contented I will be. How many blessings I enjoy that other people don't. To weep and sigh because I'm blind, I cannot and I won't."