Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs

The verses regarding music in the NT… Psalms Hymns & Spiritual songs… is this to be interpreted as commands to the church directly (as regarding their worship service), or are we, as Christians, only to listen to these types of music in our personal life?

Before I begin, let’s look at the verses in question;

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Eph 5:18-21)
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Col 3:16)

There is no prohibition, as far as I can tell, against listening to other types of music. In our relations with other believers and as part of the teaching ministry of the Church, we are told to speak to one another in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs. These have been interpreted variously, but in my opinion I believe that they refer to songs found in Scripture (Psalms), theological songs about God (Hymns), and songs of testimony (Spiritual Songs). All three aspects should be present in our congregational worship (both teaching and praise).

Now for my opinion. Since there is no prohibition against other types of music, I would think that it is good to recognize the artistry that has been gifted to musicians by God. Music is a beautiful gift from God that is to enrich our lives. Obviously a lot of contemporary music, both Christian and secular, does not accomplish that in us. So that which does not cause us to be amazed at the God who can create such music should be rejected. If you can appreciate country music then listen to country music with wholesome lyrics. If you can appreciate classical music then listen to that.

On the other hand, music finds it’s fulfillment in Christianity. The ultimate purpose of music is to glorify God. So in my mind there is a significant difference in appreciating the artistry in music in the secular world and a Christian creating music that does not fulfill it’s greatest purpose, the worship of God and teaching of the saints.

The only secular music I listen to is Charlie Daniels. Everything else is music produced by Christians for the express purpose of leading me in worship and teaching me doctrine. I am not the model to follow, however. The two most important factors in choosing which music to listen to are Scripture and conscience.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs

  1. Steve Weaver

    Interesting thoughts!

  2. DOGpreacher

    Good thoughts, Doxo! Having been a rock and country drummer for many years in many fine (ahem…) venues across the southern states, and then playing Gospel music across America, Canada, & Mexico, and then (now)…being a pastor…I weigh in.

    Some will use this passage to teach a one-sided ‘certain style’ of music in their worship ONLY. This is sad, and unbiblical. I think you are a little #:) younger than I, but, I could see “Psalms…spiritual songs, singing & making melody to the Lord with all your heart…” inspiring Petra to write and sing their song “Let Everything That Hath Breath” just as easily as seeing Newton inspired to write Amazing Grace! I am…
    …grateful for grace!

    An old drummin’,singin’, DOGpreachin’, pastor.

  3. marc

    Sadly, most of what I hear from the CCM industry doesn’t lead me to worship, but rather to curse Nahville. This is most definately an issue of culture and conscience Jeremy.

  4. forgiven

    Hi Doc

    It God gives you a gift of song or music and you do not glorify the Lord , what good are your gifts?

    Thanks
    Doug

  5. Daniel

    Charlie Daniels is secular?

  6. D.J. Cimino

    Thanks for the thoughts Jeremy! I had come to these same conclusions on my own, and I was sure you felt the same… just wanted to actually ask this of another former IFB that turned reformed.

  7. ThirstyDavid

    <like, totally not serious>The Devil Went Down to Georgia is a fine piece of redneck theology!</like, totally not serious>

  8. Gordon Cloud

    This is a well-balanced approach to this. I think the ultimate test comes down to whether or not the music would lead us to sin or detract from the glory of God.

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