The Inspiration Behind One of the Decade’s Most Popular Worship Songs

There’s something so powerful about singing praises together as a body of Christ, don’t you think? Just about any worship song sounds better when you’re surrounded by the voices of fellow believers. One song that sends chills down my spine every time we sing it at my church is, “What A Beautiful Name,” by Hillsong.

The chorus is simply, “What a beautiful Name it is (x3) The name of Jesus.” The words change slightly on each chorus to “What a wonderful name it is…” and finally, “What a powerful name it is.” Those lines are powerful on their own, but so very impactful when sung in a large group!

On their website, Hillsong explains the simple but central truth behind the chorus. “To know God and to worship Him (“to enjoy Him forever”) is the most fundamental reason for our existence. As Jesus reveals the great mysteries of God, we come to know more of who God is, glimpsing new facets of His beauty, wonder and power.

Beauty evokes the tenderness of His love and the sweetness of His presence. Wonder speaks to our gratitude for salvation, awe at the lengths of His sacrifice. Power affirms His supremacy and Sovereignty—an exhortation to remember our access to the power of God in every situation, as we call upon and declare the Name of Jesus.”

Here’s some of the scripture behind the lyrics to this song:

Bridge:

DEATH COULD NOT HOLD YOU
THE VEIL TORE BEFORE YOU
YOU SILENCE THE BOAST OF SIN AND GRAVE
THE HEAVENS ARE ROARING
THE PRAISE OF YOUR GLORY
FOR YOU ARE RAISED TO LIFE AGAIN
YOU HAVE NO RIVAL
YOU HAVE NO EQUAL
NOW AND FOREVER GOD YOU REIGN
YOURS IS THE KINGDOM
YOURS IS THE GLORY
YOURS IS THE NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES

According to the authors of this song, “The death of Jesus tore the veil of the temple (Matt 27:51) that put simply, separated people from the presence of God. We now have access to God through the death of Jesus. But death could not hold Him, sin and death have ultimately lost any power (e.g. Rom 6:9) for Jesus rose to life again. The heavens are roaring with the praises of His glory and power (Rev 19:1). Though variations of the phrase ‘Yours is the Kingdom, the power and glory forever’ cannot be found in Jesus’ original prayer in Matthew 6 (The Lord’s Prayer), the words have been used as a corporate conclusion to that prayer for centuries. We varied that phrase slightly by saving the word power for the final chorus and adding “Yours is the Name above all names” (Phil 2:9) as a fitting summary of the beauty, wonder and power that is in the Name of Jesus.”

Now that you have some background and scripture references, let’s dig into the song itself. Go ahead and take a few moments out of your busy day to let these words speak to your heart and encourage you. You can follow along with the lyrics beneath the video.

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

What a beautiful Name it is
What a beautiful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King
What a beautiful Name it is
Nothing compares to this
What a beautiful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

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

What a wonderful Name it is
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King
What a wonderful Name it is
Nothing compares to this
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus
How sweet is your name, Lord, how good You are
Love to sing in the name of the Lord, love…

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Hailing from the great state of Iowa, Jess currently lives on the eastside of Seattle where she loves to write, crochet, upcycle, redecorate her tiny apartment and play with her cat. Oh, and her husband lives there too.
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