The Story Behind: The Solid Rock

by Hymncharts Team

From the unruly streets of London to the pulpits of Baptist churches, Edward Mote’s life was a testament to the transformative power of God’s grace. Born in 1797 to pub-owning parents, young Edward grew up without any knowledge of the Bible or the loving presence of Christ. As he later recalled, “So ignorant was I that I did not know there was a God.”

The Transformative Power of the Gospel

But God had a plan for Edward Mote. As a young apprentice cabinetmaker, Mote’s life took a pivotal turn when his master brought him to the Tottenham Court Road Chapel. There, under the passionate preaching of John Hyatt, Mote encountered Jesus Christ and embraced Him as his Savior. This experience would forever change the course of his life.

Despite his newfound faith, Mote continued to work diligently as a cabinetmaker, eventually establishing his own successful business. However, his heart was now filled with a deep love for hymns and a desire to express his gratitude to God through music.

The Birth of a Timeless Hymn

One fateful morning in 1834, as Mote walked to his workshop in Holborn, London, the words of a chorus came to his mind: “On Christ the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.” By the end of the day, he had penned four verses of what would become one of the most beloved hymns of all time.

Edward Mote writing The Solid Rock

The following Sunday, Mote visited a friend whose wife lay ill. As they gathered to sing a hymn and pray together, Mote realized he had forgotten his hymnal. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out the verses he had written just days before. The words brought comfort and solace to the ailing woman, and Mote, moved by the impact of his composition, added two more stanzas and had 1,000 copies printed to share with others.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name

On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

When darkness veils His lovely face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil

His oath His covenant His blood
Support me in the whelming flood
When all around my soul gives way
He then is all my hope and stay

When He shall come with trumpet sound
O may I then in Him be found
Dressed in His righteousness alone
Faultless to stand before the throne

The First “Gospel Hymn”

In 1836, Mote’s hymn, now titled “The Solid Rock,” was published in the groundbreaking collection “Hymns of Praise, A New Selection of Gospel Hymns” – the first known use of the term “gospel hymn.” The song’s powerful message, rooted in the parable of the wise and foolish builders (Matthew 7:24-27), resonated with congregations far and wide.

William Bradbury: The Musician Behind the Tune

The hymn’s popularity soared even higher when American gospel song composer William Bradbury (1816-1868) set Mote’s lyrics to a simple, repetitious, and foot-stomping tune in 1863. Bradbury, a fellow Baptist, composed the melody during the American Civil War, and it appeared in his “Devotional Hymn and Tune Book” in 1864. The combination of Mote’s powerful words and Bradbury’s captivating tune created a hymn that would stand the test of time, inspiring generations of believers.

A Life Dedicated to Serving Christ

At the age of 55, Edward Mote answered God’s call and became a Baptist preacher. For 21 years, he faithfully served the Strict Baptist Church in Horsham, Sussex, never missing a single Sunday for any cause. His congregation offered to give him the deed to the church property as a token of their gratitude. Mote, however, humbly declined, saying, “I do not want the chapel. I only want the pulpit, and when I cease to praise Christ, then turn me out of that.”

A Testament to Unwavering Faith

In his 77th year, as he lay on his bed of sickness, Mote’s unwavering faith shone through. He said, “I think I am going to heaven. Yes, I am nearing port. The truths I have preached I am now living upon, and they will do to die upon. Ah! The precious blood, which takes away all our sins. It is this, which makes peace with God.”

The Enduring Legacy of “The Solid Rock”

Today, “The Solid Rock” remains a timeless reminder of the unshakable foundation we have in Jesus Christ. Through countless generations, this hymn has brought comfort, hope, and encouragement to millions of believers, assuring them that their eternal hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

As we sing this cherished hymn, let us remember the incredible journey of Edward Mote – from the godless streets of London to a life dedicated to sharing the gospel. May his story inspire us to trust in the unwavering love and grace of God, knowing that in Christ alone, we stand upon the solid rock.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What does the Bible mean by solid rock?

A: In the Bible, the phrase “solid rock” is a metaphor for the unwavering strength and reliability of Jesus Christ, who serves as the foundation of a Christian’s faith.

Q: Where in the Bible does it say Jesus the solid rock I stand?

A: While the exact phrase “Jesus the solid rock I stand” is not found verbatim in the Bible, it is inspired by passages such as Matthew 7:24-27, which compares building one’s life on the teachings of Jesus to building a house on solid rock

“The Solid Rock” Lyrics Video

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