The Unusual Story Behind “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus”

Dudley Tyng
LISTEN Stand Up Stand Up for Jesus (pop) LISTEN Stand Up Stand Up for Jesus (orchestrated)

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I’ve just arranged the hymn Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus and sometimes like to research the history of the music. This one has quite a story.

Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus was a hymn inspired by the dying message of Dudley Tyng, a young preacher in Philadelphia who was forced to resign from his Episcopal church pastorate for speaking out against slavery in the mid 1800s.

In addition to starting a new church, Tyng and other ministers preached revival meetings at the local YMCA during lunch and soon began to attract thousands (this revival period is known as “The Work of God in Philadelphia.”) In March of 1858 Tyng preached a rousing sermon to 5,000 young men at the YMCA and over 1,000 made a profession of faith. During his sermon he supposedly said “I would rather that this right arm were amputated at the trunk than that I should come short of my duty to you in delivering God’s message.”

Only a few days later Tyng left the study of his country home to visit his barn where a mule was harnessed to a machine that was shelling corn. When he patted the mule his sleeve was caught in the cogs of the wheel and his arm was badly maimed. He passed away the following week from the injury.

Before he died, he was asked if he had a message for the ministers at the revival and he replied “Tell them, ‘Let us all stand up for Jesus.'” His friend and fellow preacher, Dr. George Duffield, was touched by the words and wrote the hymn Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus. Duffield concluded his sermon the following Sunday by reading the lyrics as a tribute to his friend.

Duffield’s Sunday School superintendant printed copies of the poem, the lyrics soon found their way into a Baptist newspaper and the hymn spread from there.

Several melodies have been written for Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus. The one used in most hymnals was written by George Webb, founder of the Boston Academy of Music. He wrote the tune in 1837 originally for “Tis Dawn, the Lark is Singing,” a song in a secular musical.

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31 Comments. Leave new

  • Darrell Beck
    July 28, 2015 2:08 pm

    And now we all feel a little more squeamish when we sing “The arm of flesh will fail you.”

  • Abhiele Maria
    July 20, 2016 9:00 am

    I will stand up for Jesus for me to live is Christ.

  • This hymn always touches my heart and bring tears to my eyes. Thanks for publishing the story of it.

  • We had some 20-year-old young men come to our church to lead children and youth in a Day Camp for the city. They politely asked me (a 78-year-old grandmother) what song from the hymnal was my favorite. I answered “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus.” They had never heard it! I gave my testimony of the time in my twenties when I walked into a youth revival in Carlsbad, NM. The words “Lift high His royal banner; it must not suffer loss” called me into full-time ministry. Back in the 1960’s girls could not major in Bible, so I married me a preacher boy! We have stood up for Jesus for 57 years.

  • Gloria DeServei
    March 9, 2020 1:42 am

    Soul touching for me! When I was about 10 years old we sang this song every Tuesday at our AWANA’s Bible Study.
    I’ll never forget introducing my best friend to our Lord Jesus Christ at one of those meets. She lit up like an angel when she learned that there is God and Jesus. And The Holy Spirit shined His light on her. She was born again that day and I know that All gave her understanding that day. That is what makes her so beautiful to this day.
    Her love of God in Christ Jesus!
    I still feel so blessed for that very moment
    Praising God in Jesus Holy name!!!

  • Chukwuocha Otutochukwu
    April 20, 2020 10:42 pm

    We sang this song in our evening devotion today and it made an entirely different but fresh meaning to the whole Family.
    We heard the Holy Spirit encouraging us both young and adults to take our stand for Christ, in our daily living and conduct.
    The Holy Spirit was saying to us that we must leran to stand in his strength alone and be sure we are already in the battle to always establish and defend his lordship over our lives each and every one.
    We must stand against the tyranny of sin in the days of battle and we must stand in his strength alone.
    My kins men are under the threat of Fulani heards men presently and we pray that the Lord will help us to stand in the days of terror that looks ahead of us.

  • I believe that today we need to put on the gospel armor and not allow it to suffer loss. Friends let us pray into this Corona pandemic that is holding the whole world captive. Let us take authority in the name of our Lord Jesus Christmas. And break this strong hold, every mindset and high thing that is setting itself above the knowledge of God. I pull it dawn now in the name of Jesus. He has overcome the world.

  • I woke up Sunday morning, 28 th February with this hymn in my heart. I have been singing it and decided to make a search on it. Glad that I did. I will type it out as theme hymn for the Sunday school class for this month.

  • Now is the time to Stand Up for Jesus. Our country is need for voices of healing and love. Yours and mine. We are the only voices for Jesus. Stand up and speak out.

  • candiga eric
    June 5, 2021 11:10 am

    Oh my God. great testimony for revival. What my church needs to continue in strength. In his strength alone my dear

  • Alice Gordon
    June 9, 2021 7:10 pm

    This is the second time I have heard the story of Dudley Tyng and George Duffield, recently, so I looked it up on Google, knowing it was important for this time in our lives. Since I already knew and loved the story, I have learned so much from the comments I saw today. May the Lord be with each of you in your particular needs for His mercy and strength and with the Universal Body of Christ in Evil’s war against the things of our beloved Savior!

  • My music teacher asked me to learn and play this song on baritone in key B flat in 2011 as my first piece, he narrated to me how faithful to the call of God my maternal grandfather Micheal was and the voice of trumpet sounds heard a week on the plains of Eastern DRC where he was killed during insurgency on his missionary walk, I’ve since then learned to sing this song in solfa notation, and just this morning found the phrase this day the voice of battle and next day the victor’s song, and I know He’s overcome, alleluia

  • The hymn is quite inspirational. It is challenging. It is summary of how ones walk with Jesus ought to be. Jesus said, no one who puts his hand on the plough and look back is fit for the kingdom…I pray the spirit of Christ to awake us to live for him in this challenging world without compromise.

  • The Christian walk is a life of battles with Commander in Chief , Jesus Christ leading us from Victory unto Victory till the day of Christ…..first sang this in Christian School as a young boy in Singapore in the 1960s. A real stirring reminder of our calling .

  • I love these Old Hymns, nothin like them

  • The tune or melody of “stand up..” and “another year dawning” is identical / the same .. which came first ?

    • Church music was a little different back then (and still the same in traditional churches) where tunes were interchangeable if the meters are identical. For instance, “Another Year Is Dawning” is usually sung to the tune of “The Church’s One Foundation” (tune name AURELIA) but can also be sung to the tune WEBB, usually associated today with “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus.” So the question “which came first” should be “which lyrics were written first.” “Another Year” was written in 1874, “Stand Up” was written in 1858.

  • The second verse originally was worded “Ye that are men now serve him against unnumbered does” and the fourth said “To him who overcometh a crown of life shall be, He with the King of Glory shall reign eternally.”

  • Graeme Stickings
    May 29, 2023 8:18 am

    I had been constructing a series of lessons based on a number of hymns and how they came to be, and found this one became an ear worm, so I looked it up.

    What appalled me is how the Presbyterian church in 1990 banned it, “out of deference to the handicapped” (although the H word is now banned also.

    Will the voices of political correctness now ban the model prayer as it starts with “our Father”?

    It shows they had no understanding of how this hymn came to be

    • “Will the voices of political correctness now ban the model prayer as it starts with “our Father”?” Yep, that will be next if they haven’t already! There will be NO political correctness on this website 🙂

  • I lost my singing voice due to Sjogrenes Syndrome years ago. Last night in our church service, our music director led us in this song. It had been years since hearing it and I was compelled to voice the words. To my amazement the tune and words came out clear. All night and this morning this song is in my mind and heart so I looked up the story and have been twice blessed. I send a daily inspirational text to about one hundred people and the theme this week is on this very subgect. My, how blessed this 82 year old is today by God’s sovereign work.

  • The Devil is just not gonna “go away” and cease to bother us … at almost 70 yrs old, I am again taken by surprise that our unseen world is doing battle over our precious souls … hmmmm @ stand in His strength alone — God, plz help me to run to you when the battle gets to be too much — The battle belongs to the Lord

  • This morning I was playing this hymn repeatedly for solace and encouragement. Listening to and meditating on hymns, is one of my secrets of battling discouragement and fortifying myself spiritually. It is a powerful weapon next to prayer and reading the Bible. Unfortunately, I learnt that one whom I trusted, had been working to undermine my work secretly among others. The words of the third stanza of the hymn came to mind ” the arms of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own.” So I began focusing on the message of the hymn instead of the fiery dart that was sent my way. From my study of hymnology, it has been a habit whenever I am moved my a hymn. I would research all about the story behind the hymn. I was truly moved by Dudley Tyng’s ordeal. Speaking out against the evil of slavery, he had to resign from the Episcopal church. Yet he stood strong in the conflict with evil. These are very treacherous times to live with fallen human beings, even among the christian community. Only in the strength of Jesus one can stand true to strongly held convictions. We are indebted to the hymn writers of old, and thankful that their hymns have been inspired and kept to this day.

  • I had organized a short children drama for their week in our church with the theme hymn: Stand up Stand up for Jesus but knew not the depth of it’s import until I woke up with the song impressed in my heart today when I slept off when I was supposed to pray. I asked for God’s mercy and forgiveness and asked for a second chance opportunity to be amongst the ones God is seeking to stand in the gap. It was great the prayer sessions the Holy Spirit reeled out. After praying, I decided to listen and sing along the hymn from You tube and meditated on the lyrics prayerfully . I also decided to seek out the story behind the composition. The Lord’s strength be multiplied to the saints continually to the end in Jesus Mighty name. This stanza in the hymn says ; Today the noise of battle , the next the victor’s song. This is an assurance to the saints that no matter the fierceness of the battle , we are victorious for Jesus won it at the cross.


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