A major Christian conference in the UK had circulated a number of songwriters asking them to consider writing specific material to accompany the Bible readings and teaching at their event the following year. The book of Philippians had been chosen, so in order to begin the process of seeking inspiration I began to read through the book meditatively, asking God to draw my attention to anything which might become the seed of a song. I had come to the famous passage where Paul lists his impressive qualifications, and then dramatically sweeps them all aside for the sake of one supreme aim - to know Christ.
At this point my heart was stirred by the theme of knowing Jesus, and in an attempt to make it a personal song directed to him, I began to experiment with the phrase 'knowing you' as the moment of release of the song. Having written the chorus I set out to paraphrase the key verses of the scripture text into a singable form. This is always a great challenge because of course no translation of the Bible rhymes and scans, and there is always a danger that in shaping a lyrical form something is lost. After all this is the Word of God that we are dealing with!
Eventually, and with some editing input from one of our church leaders, plus some private 'road testing' at my home church, the song was finished. I know of several people who have learned the song without realising where it is derived from and have commented "Graham, I found your song in the bible!".
For me one of the most important things about it is the theme of sharing in Christ's sufferings (in the third verse), and of dying and rising with Christ. Perhaps for this reason the song has featured at funerals as well as in regular worship services. It has found its way into wedding services too where couples wish to express their commitment to putting Christ first in their marriage. 'Knowing You' has rapidly risen to be one of the most popular songs in the UK churches, at one time reaching number 5 in the CCLI chart.
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