“J.J.” and “S.D.G.”

January 27, 2016 | My Jottings

Yesterday at CBS our Teaching Director Laurel gave an excellent lecture after our core group discussions. We’re spending thirty weeks in the book of Isaiah this year, and it’s a challenging and beautiful study. As Laurel was bringing her teaching time to a close, she shared something about Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) I’d never heard before.

Above is a familiar work of his for your listening pleasure while you read. 🙂

Apparently when Bach began work on a composition, he wrote the letters “J.J.” at the top of the page before he started recording all the musical notations. These letters stand for “Jesu juva,” which is Latin for “Jesus help me.”

See the example below, in the upper left corner?


When Bach finished a piece, he wrote “S. D. G.” at the end, which is “Soli Deo gloria” and means “Only God Gets the Glory” or “To God Alone be the Glory.”


Laurel encouraged us (a varied group of women ranging in age from the 20s to the 80s) to practice something similar. What if each morning before we got out of bed we breathed the prayer, “Jesus, help me”? (I say this very prayer so often it has become almost like my heartbeat.)

And before we drop off to sleep each night, what if we were to turn our hearts and minds to Him and whisper a variant of Bach’s declaration, something like “I want to glorify you, Lord Jesus”? And if anything praiseworthy happened in our lives on that day, we could say honestly to Him, “You alone get the glory for that, Lord.”

Simple, yes. But profound enough to make my heart yearn and the tears stream at Community Bible Study yesterday.


  1. Linda says:

    WOW! Loved learning about this ….amazing…yes I agree so simple but profound! I know like you I say “help me Jesus” pretty much moment by moment each breath! But I need to remember to end my days by giving God more glory for His loving care for my soul each day than I do ….. always grateful for your thought provoking posts Julie! 🙂

  2. Just Julie says:

    Hugs to you dear Linda. Thank you for always stopping by with kind encouragement. xoxo

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