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There Is a Green Hill Far Away

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us…

1 John 3:16 KJV

About the Song

Words by Cecil Frances Alexander, alt.
Music by Sally DeFord

The evocative words to this hymn painted a mental picture for me as a child, bringing the scene of our Savior’s crucifixion to life in my imagination. Though I am sure my imaginings were far short of reality, the hymn is still as compelling to me as an adult. The author wrote them for children, so it’s no wonder I loved them early. They’re so beautiful, it’s no wonder they’ve remained favorites into adulthood.

This new melody is another one that tugged at me for more than a decade before I finally got around to writing it down. The lyrics for verse three have been altered slightly, since I used it as a bridge and needed a few more syllables. The phrase “without a city wall” is sometimes rendered “outside a city wall”–“without” being a synonym for “outside” in this case. I chose to use “without” because that’s the way I’ve always sung it.

Using violin with a soprano voice (as in the recording) will be tricky in live performance. In a recording you can duck the violin under the voice so it doesn’t fight for attention quite so much. In a live setting, you’ll have to pay careful attention to balance if you’re singing in the treble range.

Spotify, Soundcloud (inc. free downloads)

Click the Soundcloud download icon to download the free track for personal use.

Recording featuring vocals by Tj Larsen:

Accompaniment track:

Apple Music, Amazon

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There is a green hill far away
Without a city wall
Where Christ our Lord was crucified
Who died to save us all

We may not know, we cannot tell
What pains He had to bear
But we believe it was for us
He hung and suffered there

There was no other who was good enough
To pay the price of all our sin
Jesus only could unlock the gates of heaven
And let us in

Oh, dearly, dearly has He loved
And we must love Him too
And trust in His redeeming blood
And try His works to do

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  1. Amanda Hanks

    This is gorgeous!

  2. Steven Tomer

    One thing to modify – the D in the alto line in measure 51 should be a D# – the violin and piano have the sharp. Our altos were having trouble until we found it.

    This is an AMAZING new setting for this hymn. We really love it!

  3. Beverly Avery

    This is a beautiful rendition of this meaningful hymn of salvation. Thank you

  4. Shantay Clark

    This is such a BEAUTIFUL song, especially the way it has been arranged. We are singing this in our ward choir and as the choir director, I get to stand in front of them singing all the parts and am overwhelmed with the spirit and love of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank you for putting so much thought and feeling into this song arrangement.

  5. Steve L.

    I chose to sing this as a Bass solo and every time I go through it I cant help to want to sing it again and again. It is a simple message of Christ’s atonement that has given voice to a piece of my testimony that could never be expressed with words alone. Thank you, thank you

  6. Janay

    This is just such beautiful music. We started going through it in our ward choir and it is speaking to my heart. Thank you so much.


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