Who Wrote Amazing Grace?

Who Wrote Amazing Grace?

The hymn Amazing Grace was written 250 years ago and has yet to lose relevance to listeners in every generation since. It continues to touch hearts and resonate with the experience of one who has found salvation and new life in Christ Jesus.

The word grace, in the original Greek, is charis, which means undeserved favor or merit. Certainly, believers can relate to the undeserved favor – the grace – that God has generously given to those who have put their faith in Him. John Newton, the writer of this song, has a powerful testimony of coming to faith. The song was born out of his profound transformation from encountering the Gospel and saving grace of Jesus.

Who Wrote Amazing Grace?

John Newton wrote the song, Amazing Grace, in the year 1772, and it slowly began to gain attention and popularity. When one hears this hymn, it becomes clear that the author was deeply impacted by the grace of God. Though he felt wretched, he was still able to experience the saving grace of God. Though he was lost, God found him and saved him. Though he was blind, his eyes were opened to his sin and need for Jesus in his life.

Perhaps you have heard this hymn, or read the lyrics, and can relate in many ways to the sweetness of experiencing God’s grace in your own life.

What Do We Know about John Newton?

John Newton was 47 years old when he wrote the song, “Amazing Grace.” Like his father, he took a career sailing the seas. He spent his earlier years on the seas of the African coast, searching for slaves to capture and sell for a profit. Before his salvation experience that eventually led him to write Amazing Grace, he was a captain of slave ships, invested in the slave industry, and was a slave owner. He eventually became an ordained minister and abolitionist.

The story of John Newton’s powerful change came during a storm on the sea that could have led to the loss of him and his crew. According to history, John Newton prayed during this fierce storm that God would save them, and they went on to survive this storm.

A few years later, Newton gave up his hand in the slave trade industry. It took time, but God pruned John Newton and helped him live a life that was instead honoring and glorifying to God. He then studied the Bible and theology, and became a minister in 1754.

John Newton’s story is one of profound transformation and deliverance. It is clear that his radical change resulted in the formation of this hymn. Its words are very relatable for many believers who know what it is to be delivered from a life of wickedness into a life of righteousness lived for God.

6 Biblical Connections in the Lyrics of “Amazing Grace”

The phrase “amazing grace” is not found in Scripture, however, it does accurately describe the impressive and astonishing grace that God gives. This beautiful song that has touched the hearts of countless people contains many biblical references and connections that contribute to the glory it gives to God.

1. “That saved a wretch like me”

In Romans 7:24, the apostle Paul used the phrase “wretched man” to describe himself, just as John Newton described himself in Amazing Grace. Jesus went to the cross even while we were still sinners, and in His great love for us, paid our debt of sin and death so that we could have life everlasting. We could not earn our salvation, it is freely given and saves any and all who come to love the Lord.

2. “I once was lost, but now am found”

Jesus said in Luke 19:10 that He came to seek and save those who are lost. John Newton wrote about his understanding of being lost to sin and death, but then being found by Jesus. Those who come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior likely relate to this idea of being lost in the world without God, and feeling found when they finally give their lives and hearts to Jesus.

3. “Was blind, but now I see”

There are many references throughout Scripture that talk about spiritual blindness to the truth of God and who Jesus is as our Savior. Psalm 146:8 declares that the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. Indeed, we are all blind until we come to know Jesus as Lord of all.

4. “How precious did that Grace appear / The hour I first believed

In the book of Titus, we find a verse that is very similar to this lyric in the song, which says, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people.” Like the hymn states, grace appeared, making it possible for the author of the hymn to believe. The gift of grace is truly powerful and God desires for all to come to believe in Him.

5. “Through many dangers, toils and snares / We have already come / T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far

This part of the song acknowledges the reality that we will endure struggles and trials in this life. Even the author of the book of Hebrews compares having faith to the endurance of running a race (see Hebrews 12:1). Isaiah 53:2 assures us that God will see His beloved children through and be with them no matter what they face. The song echoes this same confident faith in a God who is with us through the challenges and will deliver us.

6. “And Grace will lead us home

This lyric in the song does not imply that we will make it to our earthly homes, but rather, the author of the song is equating home with heaven. As believers, we are citizens of heaven not earth (see Philippians 3:20). God’s grace will get us through this life, persisting through all the ups and downs, to keep us strong in faith so that we will inherit eternal life with God in heaven. Titus 3:7 gives the bold declaration that the grace of God made us right in His sight and gives us the confidence that we will inherit eternal life. Truly, as the hymn goes, God’s grace will lead us home.

A Prayer Thanking God for His "Amazing Grace"

Loving God,

I come to you with a thankful heart and a worshipful heart, acknowledging that you are Lord of all. You are good and faithful. I can keep my trust in you no matter what. I thank you for your grace. Your grace that has saved me. Your grace helps me through life to keep my faith and hope in you. I could not even imagine where I would be, who I would be, or what I would be doing without your gift of grace. I cannot boast of myself, I can only boast of your grace and how blessed I am to receive it. I praise you for saving a wretch like me, for opening my eyes to my need for you, and for helping me find my way to you. I love you, Lord, and thank you for your amazing grace.


The song “Amazing Grace” is aligned with Scripture and powerfully declares the wonder of God’s grace. The author, John Newton, wrote this song in response to the way that God’s grace impacted and changed him in such big ways, turning his life from wretchedness to righteousness. Each believer has a salvation story that includes God’s grace. Perhaps listening to this song or reading the lyrics reminds you of the ways God’s grace has touched your heart and life. What a good and gracious God we serve!

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Pamela Palmer 1200x1200Pamela Palmer is a writer, speaker, and the founder of upheldlife.com, the platform on which she produces devotionals and faith resources to inspire keeping faith at the center of life. She is in pastoral ministry and gets to share in the emotional and spiritual lives of others. She lives and thrives on Jesus, coffee, and music. She is the author of Living a Deeper Faith: Nurture Your Relationship with God and Live a Faith-Fueled Life. Pamela married the perfect man for her and they have two beautiful kiddos. She has been published on herviewfromhome.com, and you can follow her at upheldlife.com or on Facebook.com/upheldlife.