How Can It Be

1Charles Wesley’s hymn “And Can It Be” (1738) is one of the greatest hymns of all time. It’s a powerful proclamation of the good news of the Gospel, and full of amazing images of the freedom that Jesus purchased for us on the cross.

I’ve always loved this hymn, and as a worship leader I’ve been drawn to it simply because of the lyrical powerhouse that it is. It packs a punch and doesn’t need any musical help to get the message across. For years, I had been using Enfield‘s excellent arrangement, which preserves Thomas Campbell’s original tune (from 1825) but refreshes it in a very effective way.

Last year I wrote a new arrangement of this hymn with a new melody, different arrangement, and an added chorus. Messing with “And Can It Be” was risky since the original wording and tune are so familiar to most congregations. But I gave it a try, and the result was “How Can It Be”. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how it’s clicked with my congregation, and I wanted to offer it as a free download in the hopes that it serves your congregation too.

We included this song on our recent live worship album, “We Will Proclaim”. You can order the CD for $10.00 at, or also find the album on iTunes or Amazon.

Or click here to download it on iTunes..

And here’s a free chord chart.

Here’s the lyric video for the song: 

And finally, here’s me showing how I’d play this song on the acoustic guitar, especially if I was leading it by myself without a band: 

8 thoughts on “How Can It Be”

  1. Jamie, I really *love* this song. Have you registered it with CCLI yet? I’d love to introduce our church to it, but want to make sure we’re honoring you as the writer. Blessings to your ministry. I just started following you on Twitter. I’m looking forward to sharing your insights on music worship for the church with my team, including the young worship leaders we are training…
    Brad (Pearson)
    Worship Pastor
    Faith Bible Church
    Spokane WA

    1. Hi Brad. So glad you can see this song serving your congregation. Yes, the song has been registered with CCLI. However, right now it shows up three times with different song numbers for each one. I’ve asked CCLI to fix the problem… The right one is the one that shows Charles Wesley as the primary writer (as it should). Thanks for your encouragement, Brad.

  2. Brad – would it be possible to get hold of that lead sheet from you? Our congregation here in the UK are about to learn the song, and I’d love to help my keys players out by giving them some dots to go with the chords!

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