Isaac Watts and Joy to the World

The words for one of the most beloved Christmas songs was actually written more to express God’s deliverance rather than Jesus’s birth. In 1719, Isaac Watts’s hymnal, "Psalms of David Imitated," was published as “an imitation of David’s Psalms in New Testament language.”

"Joy to the World" is an imitation of the last part of Psalm 98: “Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills be joyful together” (KJV). Watts put this ancient Hebrew psalm of praise and deliverance into a song of rejoicing. It was George Frederick Handel, composer of the "Messiah," who may have inspired the music that, with Watts’s words, made "Joy to the World" one of the most enduring and endearing Christmas carols of all time!

Share

More Book Minute Features

September 21, 2020

Septembertestament

Martin Luther is best known for the 95 Theses written in 1517. But did you know he was the first to translate the Bible into an easy-to-read, everyday...
September 14, 2020

Zion National Park

Zion National Park is Utah’s first National Park. The official park tour guide explains how Zion Canyon got its name from the Bible, specifically Isai...
September 07, 2020

Ostrog Bible

Church Slavonic is the conservative Slavic liturgical language used by the Orthodox Church in Eastern European countries including Bulgaria, Russia, S...