Hymn Study: Jesus Loves Me

Anna Bartlett Warner, author of “Jesus Loves Me,” was born on Au­gust 31, 1827, in Long Is­land, New York. Her father, a wealthy lawyer,  lost most of his fortune in the 1837 depression, forcing the family to move to their summer home near the Hudson River.

Anna and her sister, Susan, were highly educated young ladies. After their father’s death, the Warner sisters began writing as a means to earn a living. Anna wrote a number of novels using the pen name “Amy Lothrop,” and also published two hymn collections.

“Jesus Loves Me” was written by Anna as part of Susan’s best-selling novel, Say and Seal. As part of the novel’s plot, Susan wanted a song for a Sunday School teacher to sing to a dying boy, and she asked Anna to write it for her. While that novel has long since been forgotten by the world, the simple words that Anna penned in 1860 are still taught to children everywhere.

William B. Bradbury, composer of the music for “Jesus Loves Me,” was born in York, Maine, on October 6, 1816. As a young man, he attended the Academy of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. There he became acquainted with Lowell Mason, the “father of church music.”

Bradbury served as choir director and organist in various large Baptist churches, and became especially well-known for his work with children. He composed the music for “Jesus Loves Me” and added the refrain in 1861. Throughout his lifetime he was involved with publishing fifty-nine musical collections, both sacred and secular.

Hymn Lyrics

Jesus loves me—this I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong—
They are weak, but He is strong.


Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me—He who died
Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.


Jesus loves me—loves me still,
Though I’m very weak and ill;
From His shining throne on high
Comes to watch me where I lie.


Jesus loves me—He will stay
Close beside me all the way,
Then His little child will take
Up to Heaven for His dear sake.


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  1. I once read in Elizabeth Elliot’s devotional that she and her family sang hymns every morning growing up. I thought that was a wonderful idea!
    However, I don’t know how to read music and I really wanted to incorporate this in our morning devotionals. I’ve been desiring to do this for several years! And, suddenly TODAY, I was reading a post encouraging to your site from “Jimmie”
    I’m also a brand new follower of her as well.
    I’m SO pleased you have chosen to do this Hymn Study!
    Whoo Hoo!

    1. Judy Hoch says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Martha! I hope this series is helpful for you. There are currently 10 hymns in this series, and each of them has a link to a recording of the music on You Tube. I am also an admirer of Elizabeth Elliot. 🙂
      Thanks so much for visiting today, and I look forward to hearing from you again!