Song Devotional: What a Beautiful Name

Today’s Devotional is an examination of the song “What a Beautiful Name” from Hillsong Worship. If you’re not familiar with the song, check out the video linked at the bottom of the devotional.

First an examination of the verses.
Verse 1: “You were the Word at the beginning, one with God the Lord Most High. Your hidden glory in creation, now revealed in You Our Christ.” This seems fine theologically, as it is the same statement as the book of John:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 

Verse 2: “You didn’t want heaven without us. So Jesus You brought heaven down. My sin was great, Your love was greater. What could separate us now?” This is the verse that gives some people a hard time. I think we can allow the poetic license of “didn’t want heaven without us” to be a paraphrase of John 3:16.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

But “brought heaven down” is the part that confuses some people. Still, this phrase can be found represented in Jesus own language in telling the Pharisees that the “kingdom of God” (heaven) is “in the midst of you” (himself, Jesus).

Luke 17:20-21 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”

A multitude of verses cover “my sin was great, your love was greater”. We’ll take this one:

Romans 5:8 But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

And the final line of verse 2 is “What could separate us now”:

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? …

The Chorus of the song is modified slightly each time it is sung. It boils down to “What a beautiful/wonderful/powerful Name it is…The Name of Jesus Christ my King…nothing compares to this”. Superlatives aside, this aligns with:

Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

That leaves us the slightly long bridge. Let’s look at it this way:

Death could not hold You, the veil tore before YouMatthew 27:51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.
You silenced the boast of sin and grave1 Corinthians 15:55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
The heavens are roaring, the praise of Your gloryRevelations 4,5,7, etc.
For You are raised to life a-gainEphesians 1:20 That he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead 
You have no rival, You have no equalJohn 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Now and for-ever God you reignPsalm 90:2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
Yours is the Kingdom, Yours is the gloryA widely accepted ending to the Lord’s Prayer, Matthew 6:9-13 
Yours is the Name above all namesPhilippians 2:9-11 
A breakdown of all the phrases from the bridge of “What a Beautiful Name”.

This is why this song resonates so much with many churches. Each line has scripture as a foundation. Very little of this is contested theologically. This is sound teaching that all Christians can get behind, and a song that worship leaders can be confident introducing to their church.


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