The Story Behind the Hymn: Jesus Is the Sweetest Name I Know

The Story Behind the Hymn: Jesus Is the Sweetest Name I Know

Jesus Is the Sweetest Name I Know

1. There have been names that I have loved to hear,
But never has there been a name so dear
To this heart of mine, as the name divine,
The precious, precious name of Jesus.

Refrain: Jesus is the sweetest name I know,
And He’s just the same as His lovely name,
And that’s the reason why I love Him so;
Oh, Jesus is the sweetest name I know.

2. There is no name in earth or heav’n above,
That we should give such honor and such love
As the blessed name, let us all acclaim,
That wondrous, glorious name of Jesus. (Refrain)

3. And some day I shall see Him face to face
To thank and praise Him for His wondrous grace,
Which He gave to me, when He made me free,
The blessed Son of God called Jesus. (Refrain)

Author Lela Long (1896 – 1951)


From 1922 – 1929, Peter W. Philpott was serving as the pastor of the Moody Church in Chicago, Illinois. One night he was awakened by a call to come help a young woman staying at the Stevens Hotel (now named the Conrad Hilton) in the city. He arrived to find her in the company of two family members. The woman, Lela Long, was gravely ill, and in great distress. Pastor Philpott prayed for her physical needs, and had the privilege of leading her to faith in Christ. Late the next day, he phoned the hotel to see how she was doing, only to learn that the three people had checked out. He wondered what had become of them, but had no way of getting in touch.

Five or six years later, Peter Philpott moved to California and was the pastor of a large church in Los Angeles, California. At the close of a service, who should come up to him? The three people he had met in Chicago. They had seen his picture in a church advertisement and came to meet him. An emergency had required their rapid departure from Chicago, and they apologized for not getting in touch with him.

Lela Long thanked him for pointing her to the Savior; her life was wonderfully changed, and she was now using her musical talent to serve the Lord. She handed Pastor Philpott a copy of Jesus Is the Sweetest Name I Know, written after her conversion: “I have written this especially for you, in remembrance of the day that you introduced me to the most wonderful Person I have ever known.”

Pastor Philpott asked her “What was the inspiration for the theme of this song?” She replied that she knew a medical missionary in China who gave the Gospel to everyone he treated for their medical needs.

One day, a very old woman stooped with age came to the clinic. It was evident that she had traveled a long distance to come to the clinic by the mud caked on her feet. After treating the woman, as was his custom, the missionary led her to Christ.

Several days later the woman came back to the clinic. The missionary asked her what she needed medically. The old woman said that she did not need any medical attention but that she wanted to ask a question of the missionary. The old woman said to the missionary, “He saved me, He lives in my heart, and He has made me so happy, but sir, I have forgotten His name.” The missionary said to the old woman,  “His name is Jesus.” The woman bowed low, as Orientals do, and thanked the missionary for telling her His name.

As the old woman left the missionary, he could hear her repeatedly saying as she walked away, “Jesus…..Jesus…..Jesus….Jesus.” She traveled all that long way just to learn His name.

Lela Long told Pastor Philpott, “That was what gave me the idea for the song.”

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