I Must Tell Jesus


The old hymn “I Must Tell Jesus” was written by E.A. Hoffman (1839-1929). I grew up singing the song in church and always thought of it as a sweet simple profession of faith.

The website Hymn History has this short entry about the event that inspired Hoffman to write the song.

“Elisha Hoffman loved the Lord and chose to show it by working to help people whom others would call the “down and out”. One day he was visiting a woman who was in great pain and very discouraged. Hoffman reminded the woman that she needed to tell Jesus about her problems. She had completely forgotten this simple truth and started repeating the words, “Yes, I must tell Jesus.” On his way home those words rang in his ears and would not go away. He promptly wrote the words and the tune to the hymn, “I Must Tell Jesus.” In it, he expressed that we not only need to go to Jesus about our physical needs but also concerning the worldly temptations that allure us each day.”


Back in April Paul uploaded a recording of Pap singing “I Must Tell Jesus” to our Youtube channel. This is what he had to say about the song.

“Today is the 4th anniversary of when Pap went on to be with the Lord. This is a hymn that he often sang by himself when he would take the guitar out, sitting around on the couch. I remember one particular day when the beauty of his singing on this particular song brought tears to my eyes, though I always found this to be a very comforting song, especially when he sang it. I hope that it brings you comfort now. I apologize for the distortion of the recording. The way this particular recording was made, it can’t be converted to MP4 of MP3 without distortion; however, the CD version has no distortion, and I hope one day to release this song along with Pap singing four other hymns in the same manner, just him and his guitar–no bass, no other instruments, no overdubbing, just done very naturally. I’m thankful that one day, around 2005ish, I had the foresight to say, “Hey, Daddy, why don’t you let me record you singing those songs that you’ve been doing a lot lately. We went down to my house and recorded them all in one rolling take, with two mics, one for his voice and one for his guitar. I treasure the recordings, just like the videos of him we have, and I’m thankful to have them. I will upload the other four, eventually. And, Lord willing, when the CD is finally ready, I will let folks know. Thanks for listening.”

I hope you enjoyed the history and the song!


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  • Reply
    Shelia Nelson
    June 8, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    Thank you Tipper. I just listened to Pap’s singing and guitar – playing…and, well, I just had a moment. I miss the simple and humble beauty of days that are long gone, never to return again. Pap reminded me of something – all I have to do is tell Jesus. Tell Him everything. Thank you Pap for pricking my heart. I’ve gotten too caught up in the news of the world. I hope you’ve met my Daddy in Heaven, he likes to sing too.

  • Reply
    June 1, 2020 at 12:41 pm

    Awe Tipper that was beautiful. I was listening to it and my little grandson was tapping his foot to it. So sweet.

  • Reply
    May 31, 2020 at 5:34 pm

    Beautiful song, beautiful words of wisdom, and as always Pap’s beautiful voice, and now singing it with a Heavenly band, looking to sing it with him one day.

  • Reply
    SusieQ and Donnie Ray
    May 31, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    That is a beautiful hymn and so so true…..enjoyed listening singing right along ,…what a blessing family is, especially a dad who loves his family and God like yours did…. sitting such a great example, teaching precious things, even things eternal, holding to God’s unchanging hand.It’s a beautiful day in Kentucky ,thankful.

    • Reply
      November 9, 2020 at 7:56 pm

      You have no idea how much I needed this song today . My heart and heritage cry out for this . He is our only help…in every situation. In every conflict. Thank you for your faithfulness

  • Reply
    Jerry Fonley
    May 31, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    Beautiful ! Wonderful message for all of us. We need the comfort of knowing what Jesus has done for us and continues to do for all of us today

  • Reply
    Cheryl W.
    May 31, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    Simply beautiful and heartfelt. Thank you. Exactly what I needed to be reminded of today.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    May 31, 2020 at 11:23 am

    So true! This has long been one of my favorite hymns,
    but Pap’s soulful voice makes it even more beautiful! Thank you so
    much, Tipper, for this perfect beginning to my Sunday.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 31, 2020 at 9:48 am

    The words to that song have special meaning to me especially in the past few days. I love listening to Pap sing it. There’s something about his singing alone that makes the song sweeter still.

  • Reply
    May 31, 2020 at 9:43 am

    This is the fisrt time I’ve heard this hymn, and I loved its simplicity and your Dad’s clear voice. A great start to my Sunday.

  • Reply
    Jan Arthur
    May 31, 2020 at 9:08 am

    Tipper, this was particularly beautiful and comforting. Certainly glad you had the forethought to record Pap! Wish I had done the same for my folks that are gone.

  • Reply
    May 31, 2020 at 8:52 am

    Beautifully done!!! The old gospel songs lift my spirit and one usually makes me think of another like –
    “Let us have a little talk with Jesus.”

  • Reply
    aw griff
    May 31, 2020 at 8:40 am

    That was a wonderful blessing. I’m so glad you recorded Pap playing and singing that song. One of my favorites that we also sing in church. I’m adding it to my favorites list.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 31, 2020 at 7:41 am

    Oops. two corrections “telling him about confusions” and “try to put things in words”.

    Sorry about that.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 31, 2020 at 7:39 am

    This is an old favorite in the churches I have attended in my lifetime. I’m glad the song speaks of “telling” and not “asking” because telling is more about talking to a friend. As I told my pastor awhile back, I tell him things I would never tell others. And I’m not talking about terrible things I’ve done, just telling him and confusions and fears and frustrations. He already knows of course but it is good for me to try to out things in words. If I can’t I learn something. And sometimes the effort itself straightens out the kinks and I see things clearly. Telling is a simple idea alright but profound in its effects.

  • Reply
    Janis Zeglen
    May 31, 2020 at 7:31 am

    I can just imagine Pap singing that in heaven right now with a chorus of angels! Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    May 31, 2020 at 7:29 am

    That was absolutely beautiful! Did I mention the perfect song for the Lord’s Day? You bring a lot of beauty and art to my life, Tipper, and I thank you! Your dad sang lovely like a dove and played a fine guitar too! I think telling Jesus everything is the only way to survive in peace this evil day and age! Pray for America, y’all and pray like you never have before because in my opinion our nation and it’s people need Jesus! He’s the only way through this!!!Im so glad I am saved!!! It was the best decision of my life and I’ve never regretted it!!! Please pray for my family and I will pray for yours I promise! Have a blessed day, my friends!!!

  • Reply
    May 31, 2020 at 7:16 am

    How appropriate for Pentecost Sunday!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 31, 2020 at 6:51 am

    Beautiful! Sweet, sweet man!

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