Why do we sing in church!?
Chris Sayburn From Worship Central // Leeds Adviser
23 October 2008 - 4:42pm
A question I have been asked a lot quite recently is “why do we sing in church?” and rather than just say "because its something we have always done" I thought I would be good to do some research and here is an attempt to give some answers! (collated from material by Vaughan Roberts, Paul Baloche and my own thoughts) 1) It’s Biblical: The bible is full of music and song from the beginning right to the very end. We are told in Job 38: that the morning stars sang and Angels shouted for joy as the earth’s foundations were laid. In Genesis 4 we are told that Jubal “was the father of all who play the harp and flute” (v.21). As we turn the pages, we find many who follow in Jubal’s musical footsteps. Moses sang a song of praise after the Exodus; Deborah sang after the victory over Sisera; King David played the harp, and wrote many of the Psalms; the Lord Jesus sang a hymn with his disciples at the last supper; Paul and Silas sang a hymn of praise to God in jail; and the book of Revelation tells us that there are angels who sing none stop! Here are a few direct biblical calls to sing: “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.” (Col 3.16) “Come let us sing for joy to the Lord” (Ps. 95:1) “Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvellous things” (Ps. 98:1) “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19) “Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day.” (1 Chron 16:23) The list goes on and on just type “sing” and “song” into Bible Gateway keyword search and see for your self! 2) It’s effective. Songs are a great way to remember things! Just think about annoying jingles and songs that do your head in but you know all the words and can’t help but sing along. Well God was on to this well before any music producer ….we read in Deuteronomy 31 that before the Israelites entered the promised land God gave Moses a song to write down and teach it to them (v19) so that they and their descendants would remember God’s commands when they turned away and worshipped foreign idols and gods. You can just imagine that song popping in their heads calling them to repent when they strayed! Think about today. I bet you can recite more songs than you could sermons. Singing is a great way to remind, encourage and challenge us through scripture. This again puts a great responsibility for us songwriters to use more direct scripture in our songs and not just “poetic licence” 3) It’s emotive. Music is a powerful tool that stirs emotions like no other. I like the way that Bob Kauflin explains this. He says that “singing to music is a great way to balance doctrine and devotion”. It’s far more emotive and powerful to sing songs’ like “Great in power” (praise him you heavens) than it is just to recite the words (which are from Psalm 148) 4) It’s eternal Singing is a pattern and model of what is to come. We see in John’s vision in Revelation 4 and 5 that the worship of heaven is Christ Centered and heaven is filled non stop with songs that glorify the lamb that was slain. Singing is going to be a part of our heritage for eternity.