Saturday, August 5, 2017

Hymns & Hymn Writers: Walking in the Light of God by David R. Kenney

The song “Walking in the Light” or “Walking in the Light of God” was written and set to music in 1911.  The lyrics were written by James Rowe, and the music by Samuel Beazley.

James Rowe (1865-1933), Lyricist

James Rowe was born in Horrabride, Devonshire, England on January 1, 1865, but came to America in 1890.  He worked for the railroad and the humane society in New York.  He began hymns around 1896 and completed some 9,000 compositions of hymns, poetry, etc.  Some sources stated he also used a pseudonym, James S. Apple.  He worked with music publishers such as A. J. Showalter Music Company and others.  He would move to live with his daughter in Vermont where she designed greeting cards and he would write the verses to go with the cards.  He died November 10, 1933 and was buried in Wells, Rutland County, Vermont.

Samuel William Beazley (1873-1944), Composer

Samuel William Beazley was born 1873 in Sparta, Virginia.  He wrote over 4,000 songs (some estimates as high as 5,000).  He taught singing schools, and also taught at Shenandoah College in Winchester, Virginia.  He wrote lyrics in addition to music composition.  He owned a publishing business and published several hymnals in Chicago, Illinois.  He died September 16, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois of tuberculosis, and was buried in Graceland Cemetery. He was posthumously inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1992. 

Walking in the Light of God

In the security business, there is no doubt about the presence of light as a solid security measure against crime or nefarious activity.  While some studies show that crime can be reduced as much as 50 percent through lighting, it does not eliminate the possibility of break-ins since the majority of home burglaries are actually done in the day time.  Still, light is a deterrent to those who seek the shadow of darkness.

Light is the absence of darkness as seen in Genesis 1:1-5.  The Bible uses light as the absence of darkness as metaphor for the domain of Jesus in comparison to the domain of Satan.  In the gospel of John, Jesus is pictures as light that overcomes darkness, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:4-5 NKJV).  The expression “did not comprehend it” means that the darkness could not overcome the light.  There is no doubt that the coming of Jesus brought light to people who were in darkness as prophesied in Isaiah 9:1-2 and fulfilled in Matthew 4:15-17. 

There is no doubt that evil prefers to conduct its business under the veil of darkness.  Jesus plainly stated:  “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19 NKJV)  He goes on to state that evil hates light and prefers darkness:  “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” (John 3:20 NKJV)  Jesus offers us the security and safety of light with the primary focus being for eternal life:  “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NKJV)

We have to choose whether we will be people of light or people in darkness.  The apostle Paul stated such:  “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Cor 6:14 NKJV)  While we have associations with those who are in darkness, we have the responsibility not to participate in the darkness but to show them the light of God’s word.  The Psalmist wrote “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105 NKJV) and “The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” (Psalm 119:130 NKJV)  If we want to be people of light, we must walk in the light of God which is from God’s word.


Howard, V. E., and Broadus E. Smith, eds.  Church Gospel Songs & Hymns. Texarkana, TX:  Central Printers & Publishers, 1983.

“James Rowe.” No pages. Cited 24 March 2017. Online:

“James Rowe.” No pages. Cited 24 March 2017. Online:

“Samuel William Beazley.” No pages. Cited 24 March 2017. Online: http

“Samuel William Beazley.” No pages. Cited 24 March 2017. Online:

Wiegand, John P., Editor. Praise for the Lord. Nashville, TN:  Praise Press, 1997.

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