From the time “the morning stars sang together” at creation, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7), to the song of the Lamb in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 14:1-5), singing is given great emphasis in the Bible.
Christianity is the religion of song. Ours is a courageous, victorious, singing faith. The privilege of singing praise unto God is part of a wonderful heritage—one of the grand blessings God gave His people. Singing has been a powerful force through the centuries. Our singing probably expresses and reveals our faith as truly as anything we do.
The divine motivation of singing is expressed and enjoined in the Scriptures: “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph 5:19 KJV; Cf. Col. 3:16; Matt. 26:30; I Cor. 14:15; Heb. 2:12; Jas. 5:13).
We sing in worship to express the faith and joy of a thankful heart to the Father in heaven whose presence and and power fill the universe; for the Savior whose redeeming love and power conquered Satan and the grave; for the wonderful salvation provided us and for the living eternal hope of heaven. When Christ rules the mind, one cannot keep from singing.
We sing as an offering, “a sacrifice of praise,” as an act of worship. The writer of Hebrews said, “Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee” (Heb 2:12 KJV). “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name” (Heb 13:15 KJV). Singing in worship is a spiritual sacrifice to God and causes others to glorify God in the midst of an unbelieving world which profanes and dishonors His high and holy name.
We sing to discharge an individual obligation. God has ordained that all Christians use this means of praising and serving Him. Everyone must sing in worship to be pleasing to God. Singing is one of the acts of worship like preaching, praying, eating the Lord’s Supper, and contributing of our finances.
We also sing to edify and encourage one another. Paul wrote, “Let all things be done unto edifying” (I Cor. 14:26; Cf. Col. 3:16). There is no substitute for teaching the word of God to others, as everyone has the opportunity to do in singing. Music has great power to motivate and to encourage others to right living, to bless and to enrich lives with truth and love.
The Bible is not silent concerning the kind of music we are to offer in worship. The content is specified: “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” “Psalms” are religious poems intended to be sung—songs devoted to the praise of God, whether psalms of David or not. “Hymns” are songs of praise to God. “Spiritual songs” are songs that instruct. This is the broader, generic term. Spiritual songs inspire and cultivate feelings of devotion and “bring the spirit of man into harmony with, and under the control of, the Spirit of God”— Lipscomb.
We must be careful to choose and use the kind of songs by which we are captivated and permanently impressed with God, with living the Christian life, and encouraging us to be busy working in the kingdom of God.
In summary, we are commanded:
- To sing: Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16
- What to sing: Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16
- How to sing: I Cor. 14:15
- When to sing: Heb. 2:12
Come and join us in singing praises to God and encouraging one another.