Jesus, Priceless Treasure

Representative Text

1 Jesus, priceless treasure,
source of purest pleasure,
friend most sure and true:
long my heart was burning,
fainting much and yearning,
thirsting, Lord, for you.
Yours I am, O spotless Lamb,
so will I let nothing hide you,
seek no joy beside you!

2 Let your arms enfold me:
those who try to wound me
cannot reach me here.
Though the earth be shaking,
every heart be quaking,
Jesus calms my fear.
Fires may flash and thunder crash;
yea, though sin and hell assail me,
Jesus will not fail me.

3 Hence, all worldly treasure!
Jesus is my pleasure,
Jesus is my choice.
Hence, all empty glory!
What to me your story
told with tempting voice?
Pain or loss or shame or cross
shall not from my Savior move me,
since he chose to love me.

4 Banish thoughts of sadness,
for the Lord of gladness,
Jesus, enters in;
though the clouds may gather,
those who love the Savior
still have peace within.
Though I bear much sorrow here,
still in you lies purest pleasure,
Jesus, priceless treasure!

Psalter Hymnal, 1987

Author: Catherine Winkworth

Catherine Winkworth (b. Holborn, London, England, 1827; d. Monnetier, Savoy, France, 1878) is well known for her English translations of German hymns; her translations were polished and yet remained close to the original. Educated initially by her mother, she lived with relatives in Dresden, Germany, in 1845, where she acquired her knowledge of German and interest in German hymnody. After residing near Manchester until 1862, she moved to Clifton, near Bristol. A pioneer in promoting women's rights, Winkworth put much of her energy into the encouragement of higher education for women. She translated a large number of German hymn texts from hymnals owned by a friend, Baron Bunsen. Though often altered, these translations continue to be used i… Go to person page >

Author: Johann Franck

Johann Franck (b. Guben, Brandenburg, Germany, 1618; d. Guben, 1677) was a law student at the University of Köningsberg and practiced law during the Thirty Years' War. He held several positions in civil service, including councillor and mayor of Guben. A significant poet, second only to Paul Gerhardt in his day, Franck wrote some 110 hymns, many of which were published by his friend Johann Crüger in various editions of the Praxis Pietatis melica. All were included in the first part of Franck’s Teutsche Gedichte bestehend im geistliche Sion (1672). Bert Polman… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Jesus, priceless treasure
Title: Jesus, Priceless Treasure
German Title: Jesu, meine Freude
Author: Johann Franck (1653)
Author: Catherine Winkworth
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain
Liturgical Use: Scripture Songs


Scripture References:
st. 1 = Matt. 13:44-46, John 15:1-4
st. 3 = Ps. 73:25, Phil. 3:8

The original German text “Jesu, meine Freude” by Johann Franck (PHH 305) first appeared in Johann Crüger's Praxis Pietatis Melica (1653) in six long stanzas. The text was modeled in part after a love song found in Heinrich Albert's Arein (1641), "Flora, meine Freude, meiner Seele Weide."

Catherine Winkworth (PHH 194) translated the text into English and published it in her Chorale Book for England (1863). Our version includes the original stanzas 1, 2, 4, and 6. Much loved by Christians from various traditions, “Jesus, Priceless Treasure” is one of the finest examples of German piety in a devotional hymn. The intensity of emotional expression found here provides a suitable counter¬ balance to the cerebral character of much Reformed worship.

Inspired by Jesus' parables of the great treasure and fine pearl (Matt. 13:44-46) and other New Testament references to the metaphor "treasure," this text is strongly Christocentric. Stanza 1 confesses with mystical ecstasy that Christ is the source of purest pleasure (a bold affirmation that counters the hedonism of this world). Stanza 2 expands the metaphor: Christ our treasure is also our fortress, our defense and protector from the "sin and hell" that would "assail" us. Stanza 3 contrasts the eternal pleasures of knowing Jesus with the "empty" delights of this world. And stanza 4 affirms that, despite the fears and sorrow we must bear, Jesus remains our greatest treasure and source of profound joy.

Liturgical Use
As a hymn of devotion and trust and a testimony of our joyous commitment to Christ amid the temptations of contemporary life; after Lord's Supper; profession of faith.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook



Johann Crüger (PHH 42) composed JESU, MEINE FREUDE, a bar form tune (AAB) written for this text. Johann S. Bach (PHH 7) incorporated the tune into his cantatas 12, 64, 81, and 87 and composed a beautiful motet and several organ preludes on the melody. Sing this great chorale in harmony throughout.…

Go to tune page >




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