What Does “It Is Well With My Soul” mean in the Bible?

What Does “It Is Well With My Soul” mean in the Bible?

What Does “It Is Well With My Soul” mean in the Bible?

The post is about the background of the beautiful hymn that Horatio Spafford wrote. This post revolves around a simple interpretive question. When Horatio Spafford penned “It is well with my soul” in 1876. 

In this post, we will discuss the detail of “It is well with my soul” and its interpretation.

The Verses

  • When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
  • When sorrows like sea billows roll
  • Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
  • It is well, it is well, with my soul
  • It is well
  • With my soul
  • It is well, it is well, with my soul
  • Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
  • Let this blest assurance control,
  • That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
  • And hath shed His blood for my soul.
  • It is well (it is well)
  • With my soul (with my soul)
  • It is well; it is well with my soul
  • My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
  • My sin, not in part but the whole,
  • Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
  • Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul
  • But Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
  • The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
  • Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, the voice of the Lord!
  • Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.
  • And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
  • The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
  • The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
  • A song in the night, oh my soul! 
  • It is well (it is well)
  • With my soul (with my soul)
  • It is well; it is well with my soul
  • It is well (it is well)
  • With my soul (with my soul)
  • It is well; it is well with my soul
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The Story of “It is well with my soul”

Horatio Spafford is this incredible faith story (1828-1888). He had a firm belief in God during his times of prosperity and times of disaster. Yet, many years of his life were blissful because he was a devout Christian who deeply invested in the Bible. 

He was also a well-known lawyer in Chicago with a thriving profession. He was the owner of several properties throughout the city. He and his lovely wife had four lovely daughters and one handsome son. So life was not only pleasing but also blessed for Horatio.

Horatio Spafford was already dealing with life’s unexpected twists and turns. He was a wealthy lawyer and real estate investor who lost everything in the 1871 Chicago fire. His four-year-old son died of scarlet fever around the same time.

Things began to change just as Horatio reached the peak of his profession and financial success. It all started with their son’s tragic death. Shortly after, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed nearly all of Horatio’s real estate holdings.


Spafford’s poem was set to music by composer Philip P. Bliss in 1878, who traveled and sang on Christian crusades. In the hymnal Gospel Song No. 2, he and Ira Sankey wrote: “It Is Well with My Soul.”

Philip Bliss, too, had a horrible life. A bridge collapsed while the Pacific Express traveled by train to a fight in 1876, causing the train into a deep ravine. Bliss eluded at first but returned to save his wife from the high flames. 

Unfortunately, bliss and his wife died in the fire together, leaving two young sons behind. Nevertheless, bliss’ trunk contained the words to a poem called “I Will Sing of My Redeemer,” which would later become another well-known hymn.

It is well with me meaning (Explanation)

The words above claim that the hymnist intended to place his faith in objective truths. Amid great suffering, the objective truths helped Spafford. But, on what truths did Spafford rely?

  • When I was helpless, Christ shed his blood for me (verse 2)
  • My entire sinful history was nailed to the cross (verse 3)
  • When Jesus returns, faith will turn into sight (verses 5-6)
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These lines could be taken to imply that during life, as we approach death, God “whispers” peace to our hearts. Given that such an explanation is possible in light of the song’s other three doctrinal truths and the emphasis on the cross, the abolition of sin’s judgment, and Christ’s second coming.


This article discussed the verses’ meaning, the writer’s history, and why he wrote the hymn. In short, Spafford wanted to portray a message that we would be completely healed from the world’s brokenness someday. We will rejoice in the heaven and earth, where Jesus will be our light for all eternity.

Where we will live in the splendor of perfection and the restoration of all things we have seen in the world, and where sin and its consequences will be eradicated.

Rejoice in Christ today, no matter what you’re going through, because the resurrection is the sure future, and the wild death no longer have a hold on you. You’ll finally come into Jesus’ presence, fall at his feet, and rejoice in his glorious glory. All of your pain and suffering will be erased for good. 

He wanted to say that rejoice in the resurrection, and you will also be able to say, “it is well with my soul.” For more updates, make sure to sign up to our newsletter.