Expository Songs from II Corinthians 11

II Corinthians 11:3

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

This is the sort of verse where our generation’s songwriters might think, “There’s no way to write a song from this verse! Moving on…” But this is where it’s helpful to have four hundred years of English-language hymnody. Different generations of writers bring different perspectives to texts. This is what we have here.

August Gottlieb Spangenberg was born into a German Lutheran family in the early 1700s. He entered the ministry as a Lutheran, but eventually became a Moravian. As a Moravian, he was a missionary to Indians in Pennsylvania. His hymn “When Simplicity We Cherish” extols the simplicity that is in Christ:

When simplicity we cherish,
Then the soul is full of light;
But that light will quickly vanish,
When of Jesus we lose sight.

Those who Christ alone desiring,
Those whom nothing else can cheer
But the joy of his inspiring,
Lending to his voice an ear;

Who in Christ find greatest treasure
And upon his grace depend;
Who but want to do his pleasure,
Just fulfilling his commands;

Who to Jesus humbly cleaving,
Pay obedience to his word,
Who in closest union living
With our Savior, Head, and Lord;

Who in Jesus Christ abiding,
And from self-dependence free,
In none else but him confiding
Walk in true simplicity.

Those who are by Christ directed,
Trusting the Good Shepherd’s care,
From all harm will be protected,
And no danger need to fear.

Expository Songs

When Simplicity We Cherish (II Corinthians 11:3)
Augustus Gottlieb Spangenberg, Moravian Hymn
Lyrics | Sheet Music