The Old Rugged Cross Hymn Study includes everything you need to study the hymn in one easy download.
Hymn study is a simple way to pass the heritage of hymns on to our children. Use this unit study to help your family learn more about the hymn “The Old Rugged Cross.”
The Old Rugged Cross Hymn History
George Bennard (pronounced Benn-ARD), author and composer of “The Old Rugged Cross,” was born in Youngstown, Ohio, on February 4, 1873. As a young boy, he moved with his family from Ohio to Iowa, where his father worked as a coal miner.
When George was sixteen years old, his father died in a mining accident. George then took a job in the coal mines to support his mother and sisters.
Soon after his father’s death, Bennard was converted and joined the Salvation Army. After his marriage, both he and his wife served as Salvation Army officers.
A few years later, Mr. Bennard was ordained by the Methodist Episcopal Church. He conducted revival services across the United States and Canada, holding many meetings in Michigan and New York.
Bennard eventually settled in Albion, Michigan, and opened his own hymn publishing company. Here in Albion he began writing the hymn “The Old Rugged Cross.”
He actually composed the melody for the hymn before he wrote the text. For some time the only words he had were, “On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross…”
Then Mr. Bennard passed through a particularly hard time in his life. During one of his revival meetings, he was publicly ridiculed by some unruly teens. He felt burdened, as though he were carrying a cross, just as Jesus had.
After that incident, he wrote the rest of the hymn quite easily. He completed the words during a two-week revival meeting at the First Methodist Episcopal Church in Pokagon, Michigan. Strumming his guitar, he sang the song for the first time to the pastor and his wife.
The hymn was first sung publicly during that same revival on June 7, 1913. Mr. Bennard sang the song in the service, and then offered his penciled notes to the church choir to sing.
“The Old Rugged Cross” soon became well known throughout the United States, and it is generally considered to be the most popular of the twentieth-century hymns.
Mr. Bennard continued in evangelistic work for forty years after writing this well-loved hymn. He wrote more than 350 other hymns, but none were ever as popular as “The Old Rugged Cross.”
The Old Rugged Cross Hymn Lyrics
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.
In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.
To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.
Hymn Copywork, Notebooking Pages, and More
Copywork pages, notebooking pages, and other printables are now available in one easy download! The Old Rugged Cross Hymn Study includes everything you need to study the hymn:
- hymn history
- sheet music
- links to listen to the hymn
- review questions to gauge comprehension
- vocabulary words taken from the hymn
- copywork and notebooking pages
- related Scripture to memorize