Scripture Verse

I stand at the door and knock. Revelation 3:20


William W. How
© National Portrait Gallery

Words: Will­iam W. How, 1867.

Music: St. Ed­ith Jus­tin H. Knecht, 1799, and Ed­ward Hus­band, 1871 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

Justin H. Knecht

Origin of the Hymn

I com­posed the hymn ear­ly in 1867, af­ter I had been read­ing a ve­ry beau­ti­ful po­em, en­ti­tled, Bro­thers and a Ser­mon. The pa­thos of the vers­es im­pressed me ve­ry for­ci­bly at the time.

I read them ov­er and ov­er again, and fin­al­ly, clos­ing the book, I scrib­bled on an old scrap of pa­per my first idea of the vers­es, be­gin­ning, O Je­sus, Thou art stan­ding. I al­tered them a good deal sub­se­quent­ly, but I am for­tu­nate in be­ing able to say that af­ter the hymn left my hands it was ne­ver re­vised or al­tered in any way.

William How

Nutter, p. 152


O Jesus, Thou art standing,
Outside the fast closed door,
In lowly patience waiting
To pass the threshold o’er:
Shame on us, Christian brothers,
His name and sign who bear,
O shame, thrice shame upon us,
To keep Him standing there!

O Jesus, Thou art knocking;
And lo, that hand is scarred,
And thorns Thy brow encircle,
And tears Thy face have marred:
O love that passeth knowledge,
So patiently to wait!
O sin that hath no equal,
So fast to bar the gate!

O Jesus, Thou art pleading
In accents meek and low,
I died for you, My children,
And will you treat Me so?

O Lord, with shame and sorrow
We open now the door;
Dear Savior, enter, enter,
And leave us nevermore.