In calling the Christians at the Church in Colossae to "teach and admonish" one another using "psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit" Paul was recognizing the instructional power of song.
Music and song is a big part of Christian worship in just about every denomination, but have you ever given much thought as to why that is? Do Christians sing just to fill the time, or simply because they like singing? While singing can no doubt be a lot of fun, the purpose of singing in Christian worship goes much deeper than simple entertainment. Two of the main reasons for music and song in Christian Worship are presented by Paul the Apostle when, in Colossians 3:16, he instructs the Church in Colossae to:
"Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts."
Singing hymns and songs, according to Paul in this encouraging spiritual quote, is a wonderful method of communicating important Christian lessons, and of expressing one's gratitude to God. With these words Paul imparted song a central place in Christian worship, a place that it still occupies to this day.
Singing as a Way of Teaching Important Lessons
In calling the Christians at the Church in Colossae to "teach and admonish" one another using "psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit" Paul was recognizing the instructional power of song. Though few people today consider music to be a tool for teaching, the truth is that song is one of the best methods for committing words to memory. Think about how easy it was to pick up the words to your favorite song. After just one or two listens you were probably singing right along with it. Likewise you probably remember the words to a hymn better than you remember words that were merely spoken during service.
Singing as a Way of Expressing Gratitude
In the second part of his inspirational quote, Paul calls Christians to sing to God with gratitude in their hearts. Singing seems to be a natural reaction to gratitude in the hearts of many human beings. When they feel overjoyed many people express that they are so happy they could sing. Some even do! Singing our praises to God allows us to convey how thankful we are for all that he has done in our lives and in the world. Spoken words often seem to fall short of articulating the depths of our emotions, and so song is employed instead.
Carrying on the Tradition
Next time the congregation around you begins to sing, do not just mouth the words while looking down at your feet. Try to join in and focus on the meaning of the words that you and everyone around you are singing. If you truly connect with the emotion behind the songs, then you might find singing to be just as spiritually enriching as praying and listening to scripture. Music and song are powerful spiritual tools which, when used to pass on lessons and express gratitude, can help deepen your faith and strengthen your relationship with God.