Behind the Song: I’ve Got Peace Like a River

I’ve Got Peace Like a River is an African-American spiritual. Spirituals began on the fields and the slaves would sing to pass the time of day. It was also a great way to pass messages along and share the gospel.

This song uses water “as a simile” to describe peace, joy and love.

I've Got Peace Like a River in My Soul

I’ve Got Peace Like a River in My Soul

I’ve got peace like a river…

I’ve got joy like a fountain…

I’ve got love like an ocean…

Love, joy and peace are the first three fruits mentioned in the fruits of the spirit {Galatians 5:22}.

Hymnary.org says “This spiritual compares the peace of God to a placidly flowing river, the joy of Christ to a merrily bubbling fountain,                                                                and the love of God to a deep, wide ocean.”

The earliest appearance in a hymnal appears to be in 1975. This was really a surprise, as I thought it would be much earlier.

William J. Reynolds is credited with arranging this spiritual.

 

 

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