Easter: The Story Behind “Victory in Jesus”

the story behind victory in jesus

Hi, friends. This is the second installment of my Easter 2019 series. Once again, we will see the story behind a beloved hymn and also look at its relation to the blended theme of sacrifice and redemption.

The Story Behind the Hymn

In the early twentieth century, Eugene Monroe Bartlett Sr., a young man fresh out of college, worked for a music company in Hartford, AR. Bartlett loved music so much that he later co-founded Hartford Music Company and opened Hartford Music Institute soon after. [Fun fact: Albert Brumley, author of “I’ll Fly Away,” attended HMI.]

Though Bartlett was a prolific songwriter/composer with much acclaim in his heyday, “Victory in Jesus” is his only hymn that stood the test of time. Oddly enough, it happens to be the last song he wrote.

In 1939, Bartlett had a stroke that paralyzed part of his body, rendering him incapable of traveling and performing his music. Job-esque instances like these truly test one’s faith. What would he do now that he couldn’t use his beloved spiritual gift of making music? Would he remain faithful to the Lord or turn away in anguish?

In the aftermath of his stroke, Bartlett said that while he missed performing and travelling, he still enjoyed studying the Bible. During this time of loss and introspection, Bartlett penned this uplifting hymn, clearly still trusting in God’s promises.

Ironically, Bartlett’s legacy of faith lives on through a song he wrote when many would have thought all hope was lost.

Wow! God really DOES work all things to the good for those who love Him! (Romans 8:28)

Reflections on the Theme

We have “victory in Jesus” because Jesus’s sacrifice and subsequent defeat of death enable us to have total redemption and eternal life. The “return sacrifice” that we give is alluded to in a few phrases: “then I repented of my sins,” “all my love is due Him,” and “‘Dear Jesus, come and heal my broken spirit.’”

We have been called to “change our hearts and lives,” a phrase repeated throughout the gospels. We change our lives by repenting of our sins, and we change our hearts by loving God, who in turn shapes our worldview and shows us how to love others.

I love the last lyric in the list above because of its vulnerability and humility. When we sacrifice our pride-our pettiness-our need to have the last word-our delusions of total control-our resistance to being led…when we allow Jesus to heal our broken spirits, He gives us the victory!


I heard an old, old story how a Savior came from glory,
How He gave His life on Calvary to save a wretch like me;
I heard about His groaning, of His precious blood’s atoning,
Then I repented of my sins and won the victory.

Refrain: O victory in Jesus, my Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him, and all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood.

I heard about His healing, of His cleansing power revealing.
How He made the lame to walk again and caused the blind to see;
And then I cried, “Dear Jesus, come and heal my broken spirit,”
And somehow Jesus came and brought to me the victory.

I heard about a mansion He has built for me in glory.
And I heard about the streets of gold beyond the crystal sea;
About the angels singing and the old redemption story,
And some sweet day I’ll sing up there the song of victory.

Knowing the background makes these lyrics bittersweet; Bartlett was ready to see those streets of gold and sing the song of victory!

Here is a foot-tapping rendition of the hymn!

Thanks for reading! Do you love this hymn? Were you touched by the backstory? Let me know in the comments.


29 responses to “Easter: The Story Behind “Victory in Jesus””

  1. Oh yes, this is a great hymn pick Lily. No wonder it has survived “the test of time”.

    “Job-esque instances like these truly test one’s faith.” Like how you phrased that! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, David! I grew up with this hymn. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow, Bartletts story is very job- sequel. It reminds me of one of my favorite verses from Job β€˜though he slay me yet I will trust in Him.’ Love your backstories to the hymns. So much inspiration in hymn writers lives!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m amazed that there is almost always an intriguing story behind these hymns! Thank you, Salt.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I meant no-esque my autocorrect did that πŸ€ͺ❀️

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh boyβ€” I meant Job-esque!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Love this hymn! Thank you for sharing the history.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Me, too! Thanks for dropping by, Mimi.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Never heard of this hymn. Beautiful lyrics.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree, and I’m glad I got to introduce this song to someone who hadn’t heard it! Thanks for dropping by, Efua.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I didn’t know the back story to the song. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Isn’t it awesome? πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Lily, thank you again, for another of the old enduring hymns. Blessings for sharing these and their history.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Fran, and I’m so glad you are blessed by these!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. A great hymn! Thanks. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Dee! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Amen-Amein I Love this Christian Hymn a lot!!

    Praise Christ-Messiah Jesus-Yeshua – Hallelujah and Maranatha!! PRAISE CHRIST-MESSIAH JESUS-YESHUA HE is RISEN and ALIVE HALLELUJAH and MARANATHA!!

    GOD BLESS ALL my Sisters and Brothers in Christ Jesus-Yeshua and my Messianic Jewish Sisters and Brothers in Christ-Messiah Jesus-Yeshua and my Devout Jewish Sisters and Brothers and Your Families and Friends!!

    I am Pro-Israel-Yisrael / Pro-Christian and Jewish People who STAND with the Holy Land of Israel-Yisrael and our Judeo-Christian Nation United States of America / Pro-Zionism / PRO-LIFE!!

    Please Pray for Israel-Yisrael / Christian Nation United States of America, and our Christian Earth Everyday β€œPray Without Ceasing.” ( 1 Thessalonians 5:17 KJV )!!

    ( Psalms 33:12 KJV ) β€œBlessed is the Nation whose GOD is the LORD; and the People whom HE hath Chosen for HIS Own Inheritance.”!!

    Our ONE True GOD’S LOVE πŸ’•πŸ’œ is ETERNAL THROUGH HIS SON Christ-MESSIAH Jesus-Yeshua for Today and Everyday Forevermore!!

    I Love you all Everyone through Christ-MESSIAH Jesus-Yeshua, because HE LOVED πŸ’œπŸ’• EVERYONE FIRST!!

    Love πŸ’• Always and Shalom ( Peace ), YSIC \o/

    Kristi Ann

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Love and blessings to you, Kristi Ann!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Your Christian posts have sparked a thought… Are you familiar with the Beatitudes? I would love to read your thoughts on a separate post..if that’s what you choose to do..If not, you can simply reply to this comment. But, I was curious. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Daphne! Great post idea! I will have to take you up on that.

      In a nutshell, though, they reveal some of the hard truths of Jesus’s ministry that go against how most people think. Essentially, the people who humble themselves, see and care about the pain in the world, people who reject worldly measures of success like extravagant wealth, etc. will be blessed, while the arrogant, those who don’t see or care about issues in the world b/c they only care about themselves, those who care about wealth more than anything, etc…well, as the Bible says, woe to them!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. […] *http://retrospectivelily.com/2019/04/16/easter-the-story-behind-victory-in-jesus/ […]


  13. […] *http://retrospectivelily.com/2019/04/16/easter-the-story-behind-victory-in-jesus/ […]


  14. Great post.Wonderful hymn. Reposted it. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the repost! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  15. […] behind this hymn is not as coincidental as “Jesus Paid It All” or as ironic as “Victory in Jesus.” On the contrast, minimal information can be found about this song and its author (at least […]


  16. Wow, what a backstory!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. God can make tragic irony beautiful. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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