Early Christian hymns found in the New Testament are thought to be fragments of the oral tradition that preceded the written texts. These hymns served as a way for early Christians to express their devotion, honor, and praise to God. These poetic passages offer insight into the theology, beliefs, and values of the first followers of Jesus, and they often convey profound messages about the nature and work of Christ.

The hymns found in the New Testament reflect the early Christian community's understanding of the identity of Jesus, His mission, and His relationship with God the Father. They demonstrate the community's conviction in Jesus' divine nature, His humanity, His redemptive work, and His ultimate exaltation.

The key theological themes found in the New Testament hymns enclose the Incarnation, which emphasizes Jesus Christ's divine nature and His pre-existence with God the Father; His role in the creation and His supremacy over the cosmos; His humility and voluntary submission as a human being; His sacrificial death and redemptive work on the cross, which brings salvation, atonement, and reconciliation between humanity and God; His resurrection and exaltation, signifying His triumph over death and spiritual powers; and His ultimate revelation as the fulfillment of God's plan for the world. These themes highlight the central beliefs of early Christianity and continue to shape Christian theology and worship today.

Word Became Flesh (John 1:1-18)

One of the most important verses in gospel of John is John 1:18. It says: "No one has ever seen God: only begotten God who is at the bosom of the Father, He made Him fully known." (translation from Greek). This is how the gospel begins and Jesus is right when He answers Philip, that who ever...


Hymn of Peace (Ephesians 2:14-16)

Paul breaks his speech to the Ephesians in verses 2:14-16, and begins a short discourse that is composed as a hymn. This is well discerned by a change of the personal prepositions from the first person plural (we) to the third person singular (he). In this discourse, Paul brings to the...


Exaltation of Christ (Philippians 2:6-11)

This passage is considered to be a fragment of an early Christian hymn. Such hymns existed in order to honor and praise God. There is, of course, a pastoral frame around the hymn. The function of the hymn here is to persuade and motivate Philippian Christians to imitate Christ in his humbleness...


Christ’s Supremacy in Cosmos and Atonement (Colossians 1:15-20)

The hymn of Colossians 1:15-20 focuses on the agency of Christ in the creation of all that is. The flow of the text is interrupted by the hymn in the change of the personal pronouns from the first and second person (I, you) to the third person (he). In the end, It is then resumed back to previously...


Mystery of True Godliness (1 Timothy 3:16)

This short hymnic passage of 1 Timothy 3:16 interrupts Paul’s address to Timothy with an exposition of “the mystery of true godliness.” This break is apparent by the change of personal pronoun from the second person (you) to the third (he) as well as also pointed by relative pronoun “which (ὃς...


God's Supreme Revelation (Hebrews 1:1-4)

Opening verses of the Epistle to the Hebrews do not start with greeting nor addressing the recipients as is typical for biblical epistolary literature. Although the epistle is placed among epistolary literature it does not share its form. It is rather closer to homily (sermon) by its own literary...


Suffering of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:18-22)

The 1 Peter 3:18-22 is arguably the most challenging passage in the entire list and maybe in the entire New Testament itself. This Christological text might have contained fragments of an ancient hymn (among others in the list: 1 Peter 1:18-21; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 1 Peter 3:18-22; 1 Peter 5:5-9). It...