Born: March 8, 1607, Ottensenn, Holstein, Germany (near Hamburg).
Died: August 31, 1667, Wedel an der Unterelbe, Germany.
Buried: Rolandkirche, Wedel an der Unterelbe, Germany.
Son of a pastor, Rist attended the Johanneum in Hamburg and the Gymnasium Illustre in Bremen, then matriculated at the University of Rinteln.
Under the influence of Joshua Stegman there, his interest in hymn writing began. On leaving Rinteln, he tutored the sons of a Hamburg merchant, accompanying them to the University of Rostock, where he studied Hebrew, mathematics, and medicine.
During his time at Rostock, the Thirty Years War almost emptied the University, and Rist himself lay there for several weeks, suffering from pestilence. After his recovery, he seems to have spent some time at Hamburg.
In 1633, he became tutor in the house of Landschreiber Heinrich Sager at Heide, in Holstein. There he married Elizabeth Stapfel, daughter of a judge, and spent the rest of his life.
Emperor Ferdinand II crowned him as a poet in 1644, and in 1653 raised him to the nobility. Among other literary honors, Rist became a member of the Pegnitz Order in 1645, and the Fruitbearing Society in 1647. In 1660, he founded the Elbe Swan Order, though it did not survive his death.