O Faithful God, Thanks Be to Thee

Tune: Veni redemptor gentium

Alternate Tune: Erhalt uns, Herr

Tune: Erhalt uns, Herr

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On the Holy Absolution. A Thanksgiving.

  1. O faithful God, thanks be to Thee
    Who dost forgive iniquity.
    Thou grantest help in sin’s distress,
    And soul and body dost Thou bless.

  2. Thy servant’s mouth declares to me:
    “Thy sins are all forgiven thee.
    Depart in peace, but sin no more
    And e’er My pard’ning grace adore.”

  3. O Lord, we bless Thy gracious heart,
    For Thou Thyself dost heal our smart
    Through Christ our Savior’s precious blood,
    Which for the sake of sinners flowed.

  4. Give us Thy Spirit, peace afford
    Now and forever, gracious Lord.
    Thy Word and holy Sacrament
    Preserve to us unto the end.

Wir danken dir, o treuer Gott
Nikolaus Selnecker, 1587
Tr. composite
Source: The Lutheran Hymnal, 1941, No. 321, alt.


German Text

Tune: Veni redemptor gentium

Alternate Tune: Erhalt uns, Herr

  1. Wir danken dir, o treuer Gott,
    Daß du uns hilfst aus Sündennot,
    Vergibst uns alle Schuld und Fehl
    Und hilfest uns an Leib und Seel.

  2. Durchs Priesters Mund sprichst du: Mein Kind,
    Dir alle Sünd vergeben sind;
    Geh im Fried hin, sündge nicht mehr
    Und allweg dich zu mir bekehr.

  3. Dir sei Dank für solch gnädig Herz,
    Der du selbst heilest allen Schmerz
    Durchs teure Blut des Herren Christ,
    Welchs für all Sünd vergossen ist.

  4. Gib uns dein Geist, gib Fried und Freud
    Von nun an bis in Ewigkeit,
    Dein Wort und heilig Sacrament
    Erhalt bei uns bis an das End.

Nikolaus Selnecker, 1587
Source: C.F.W. Walther’s Kirchen-Gesangbuch, 1898 printing, No. 193


Author: Nikolaus Selnecker

Nikolaus Selnecker’s hymn on the Office of the Keys and Confession, “O Faithful God, Thanks Be to Thee (Wir danken dir, o treuer Gott),” was first printed among other hymns on the Catechism in an appendix to a collection of “Three Sermons” dated 1572, though it was missing two lines. The full version as it appears at the Free Lutheran Chorale-Book was first printed in Selnecker’s Christliche Psalmen, 1587, p. 97, a scan of which is available here, courtesy of the Bavarian State Library in Munich.

The tune originally given was “Veni redemptor gentium,” on which was based “Erhalt uns, Herr,” the tune typically assigned in the more recent hymnals.

Wir danken dir o treuer Gott (Original 1587)
The first three stanzas of “O Faithful God, Thanks Be to Thee (Wir danken dir, o treuer Gott)” as they appeared in Nikolaus Selnecker’s Christliche Psalmen, 1587, p. 97, courtesy of the Bavarian State Library in Munich.
The fourth stanza of this hymn in its original publication, found at the top of the page
The fourth stanza of “O Faithful God, Thanks Be to Thee (Wir danken dir, o treuer Gott)” as it appeared in Nikolaus Selnecker’s Christliche Psalmen, 1587, p. 98, courtesy of the Bavarian State Library in Munich.