Words by: Elisha A. Hoffman, (1839-1929)

Music by: Anthony J. Showalter, (1858-1924)

This song was based on the scripture verse: Deuteronomy 33:27 “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.”

Anthony Showalter was born on May 1, 1858, in Cherry Grove, Virgina and died on November 16, 1924, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. 

He received letters from two friends who told him that close friends of theirs had passed away. Anthony wrote letters of comfort back, including this verse, Deuteronomy 33:27. As he finished the letters, he thought the verse would be a good theme for a hymn, and immediately wrote the words and music for the chorus of this hymn. Needing assistance to complete the hymn, he wrote to Elisha Hoffman asking him to write words for the stanzas. Mr. Hoffman complied, and we now have the hymn “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.”

This song was sung in the 1943 movie The Human Comedy, starring Mickey Rooney, which was nominated for Academy Awards in five categories, including Best Picture and Best Actor. William Saroyan won Best Original Story for the film.



Hymns of Glorious Praise, Springfield, Missouri:  Gospel Publishing House, 1969.

Elisha A. Hoffman, (1839-1929)

                                                                                        Anthony J. Showalter, (1858-1924)

LYRICS:  Leaning on the Everlasting Arms  

1. What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.


Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

2. O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
O how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

3. What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.