How Do I Find Titles of Hymns and Songs to Go with a Particular Biblical Text?

by Dean B. McIntyre

The United Methodist Church makes resources available to help worship planners find hymns and songs to go with particular biblical texts. Some resources are available from The United Methodist Publishing House and Abingdon Press, others through Discipleship Ministries and other church agencies. Most of these are available through the Cokesbury catalog or stores (toll-free telephone number: 1-800-672-1789; web site, A list of resources to help you find musical titles follows:
The United Methodist Hymnal (Nashville: The United Methodist Publishing House, 1989). There are two very useful indexes in the back of the hymnal. An Index of Scripture related to "Services, Psalter, Acts of Worship" is found on pages 923-924 and an Index of Scripture related to "Hymns, Canticles, Prayers & Poems" may be found on pages 924-926. Simply look up the Scripture text and find related hymns in the hymnal listed. Almost any major hymnal and many supplemental songbooks and collections will contain a similar index.

The new United Methodist Korean-English bilingual hymnal,Come, Let Us Worship (Nashville: The UM Publishing House, 2001), includes its index in Korean at pages 548-549 and in English at pages 550-551.

The Faith We Sing (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000). The Worship Planner Editionof this collection, purchased separately from the musical editions, contains a wealth of supplemental information and suggestions related to the hymns and songs of the collection. Pages 152-153 contain the Index of Scripture references.

The United Methodist Hymnal & The Faith We Sing On CD-ROM(Abingdon Press, 2001) is an invaluable resource for pastors, musicians, and worship planners. It contains the complete texts of both volumes and the Worship Planner Edition of The Faith We Sing. Along with articles, commentary, history, information, medley suggestions, modulation charts, copyright information, and so on, it also contains numerous indexes — including the "Index of Scripture." The entire contents may be searched in numerous ways, including Scripture and Topical reference.

Songs of Zion(Abingdon Press, 1981) is a collection of hymns, spirituals, and songs in the African-American tradition. A Scripture Index for this collection may be found in the companion volume, Come Sunday: The Liturgy of Zion, by William B. McClain (Abingdon Press, 1990), pages 167-168.

Musical Resources for the Revised Common Lectionary by Arthur Wenk (Metuchen, New Jersey: The Scarecrow Press, 1994) contains an unusually large Scriptural Index of Hymn Texts running 144 pages, indexing titles from a number of North American hymnals, including The United Methodist Hymnal.

United Methodist Music and Worship Planner, by David Bone and Mary Scifres suggests titles from The United Methodist Hymnal and The Faith We Sing for each Sunday of the year and lectionary passages.

Scriptural and Seasonal Indexes of The United Methodist Hymnal (Abingdon Press, 1992) by Robert D. Ingram.

"Hymns for the Lectionary" is a feature contained in each bimonthly issue of Worship Arts, the official publication of The Fellowship of United Methodists In Music and Worship Arts (FUMMWA). This publication is included with membership in FUMMWA. It includes titles and pages from The United Methodist Hymnal and The Faith We Sing related to Lectionary texts at least two months in advance. Contact The Fellowship by telephone at 1-800-952-8977, by e-mail at [email protected]; or visit the web site,

Another helpful web site for worship planners is The "Lectionary" section is a useful tool that allows you to choose a Sunday of the year, see the Revised Common Lectionary table for the day, and consider suggested hymns for use with the readings for the day.

Copyright © 2002 Discipleship Ministries, P.O. Box 340003, Nashville TN 37203-0003; telephone: 1-877-899-2780, ext. 7073; web site: This article may be reproduced and used by those involved in or studying worship planning and music selection without further permission, provided this entire copyright citation is included on each copy.

Dean B. McIntyre ([email protected]) is the Director of Music Resources for Discipleship Ministries.