His Excellent Word
April 30, 2021
THRU the BIBLE’s Theme Music Refreshed
By Roger Kemp, who leads the team at RKMedia who partner with THRU the BIBLE in radio station relationships and delivery.
From the earliest days, THRU the BIBLE has invited listeners to board the Bible Bus with a grand anthem of the Christian faith. No hymn seems more fitting than the one written centuries ago, “How Firm a Foundation.” The lyrics declare the strong footing on which Dr. J. Vernon McGee planted his teaching ministry.
At the beginning of every program, listeners are called into the classroom with the acapella choir singing,
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent Word.
What more can He say than to you He has said, to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?
Fear not, I am with you, O be not dismayed for I am Thy God, and will still give you aid.
I'll strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.
“How Firm a Foundation” has been, and will always be, THRU the BIBLE’s cherished theme song. Together, as a global family of Bible students, we rally around these timeless promises.
Historians tell us the lyrics were written by John Rippon in 1797,
inspired in part by the ministry of English pastor and hymnwriter, Isaac
Watts. You might be surprised to learn that one of Dr. McGee’s
contemporaries, John Lundberg, arranged, performed, and recorded the
selection we enjoy every day on the program. Lundberg dedicated this
arrangement to THRU the BIBLE in the 1960’s while he served as Professor
of Music at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California.
Last year, Gregg Harris commissioned our creative team to restore the traditional theme song. Immediately, our audio engineers launched a treasure hunt. In a matter of weeks of searching, we located a 65-year-old vinyl recording in its original sleeve—on eBay! Using the latest technology available, the track was digitally transferred and restored to its classic stereo state.
If you noticed the enhancement to the theme song in recent programs, you’re not imagining things! Beginning with the 11th cycle of our 5-year journey through the Bible, we started using the repaired version. In addition to refurbishing the original audio, a Christian music composer underscored the men’s chorus with piano and a string quartet. Beginning on Friday, April 2, 2021, we are delighted to introduce this restored stereo version with our global audience as a way to celebrate “God’s excellent Word.”
In this same spirit, we’ve also brought the closing music theme, “Jesus Paid It All,” to its full original state. The song and lyrics were written in 1865 by Elvina M. Hall with music by John Grape. For generations, Christians have celebrated the substitutionary atonement of Jesus through this traditional favorite. Inspired by Romans 5 and Isaiah 1:18, we take comfort in knowing that …
Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain;
He washed it white as snow.