Hymn Story: Low in the Grave He Lay

Dr. Robert Lowry

Dr. Robert Lowry

Robert Lowry was born in Philadelphia on March 12, 1826.  He graduated from Bucknell University and became a Baptist minister.  In 1868, he

became editor of the Sunday School hymn books, having succeeded William B. Bradbury.

In 1874, Lowry was pondering the Easter story.  One evening he read the passage in Luke 24 that says “he is not here, he is risen,” during his devotional time. According the hymnologist Kenneth Osbeck, “Soon Robert Lowry found himself seated at the little pump organ in the parlor of his home. And in a very spontaneous fashion, the words and music of “Christ Arose” gave expression to the thoughts that had been uppermost in his mind. The hymn was published the following year and has been an inspirational favorite with God’s people ever since.”

Lowry wrote over 500 hymns and edited over twenty hymnals in his lifetime. Some of his hymns include Shall We Gather at the River, We’re Marching to Zion, All the Way the Saviour Leads Me, and I Need Thee Every Hour.

He died on November 25, 1899 in Plainfield, N. J.