The opening words of this classic hymn are from Paul’s first Epistle to Timothy, Chapter 1.
The thing about Paul’s epistles is, they’re full of real people. We know a lot about Timothy–his grandmother, Lois, his mother, Eunice, his pagan father (whose name is not given), and his less than robust state of health, for which Paul advises him to take a little wine with his dinner, instead of water.
If we belong to Jesus Christ, we are in fellowship with these saints of old; they are our family. We can love them. Meanwhile, we are in fellowship with saints in Africa and Asia and other faraway places, whom in this life we will never see face-to-face but who are nevertheless knit to us in a holy bond. They, too, are our family in Christ.
It’s good to have a big family, don’t you think?