The Bible tells us in Colossians 3:16 that we are to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” Songs were used in the Old Testament to teach, to caution and to express gratitude toward God. Songs were written for significant events such as the crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 15), as a reminder of God’s laws and manner for living (Deuteronomy 32), as expressions of thanksgiving for God’s gifts (1 Samuel 2), as cries for help in time of trouble or discouragement (Psalm 13), and as pure praise to God (Psalm 8). The songs we sing today still perform these functions.
Singing is a way for everyone to actively participate in our assemblies. Each person can direct and express their deepest feelings to God through the songs we sing. Listening as others sing has some benefit, but only by singing the words ourselves can we realize the full meaning and depth in our inner being. It is not how well we can carry a tune that impresses God when we sing, but the active expressions and confessions of our hearts in song. “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). Let’s all resolve to praise God and encourage each other with a renewed spirit in our hearts.