Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16
"Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs"
Lengthy essays can be found in libraries and on the Internet, relating to an explanation of the three musical classifications listed above. (Those who propose singing only "unaccompanied psalms" have an incredible presence on the Internet. While their logic is flawed, their writings are prolific, to say the least!) Obviously, we cannot add a lot to these learned discussions, but perhaps we can discuss these words in such a way that will help the choir in its weekly music ministry.
As you know, Colossians 3:16 is linked closely with Ephesians 5:18, 19. John MacArthur says:
"Colossians 3:16-4:1 is a brief parallel to Ephesians 5:19-6:9. The result of being filled with the Holy Spirit is the same as the result of letting the word dwell in one's life richly. The two are the same spiritual reality view from two sides. To be filled with the Spirit is to be controlled by His Word. To have the Word dwelling richly is to be controlled by His Spirit. Since the Holy Spirit is the author and the power of the Word, the expressions are interchangeable." P. 159 Colossians...
Therefore, as we are "filled with Spirit" or "indwelt by the Word" the consequences are the same: we sing!
The meaning is a bit clearer in the Ephesians passage than in Colossians, but the message is without doubt the same:
"The first consequence of the Spirit filled life [and letting the "Word of Christ" dwell within us] is not mountain-moving faith, ecstatic spiritual experience, dynamic speaking ability or any other such thing. It is simply a heart (and voice) that sings! When the believer walks in the Spirit, he has an inside joy that manifests itself in music. God puts music in the souls and then on the lips of His children who walk in obedience. MacArthur P.256 Ephesians...
Whether we are singing psalms (as we did Sunday night: Psalm 113:1-6) or hymns, the Lord is the focus of our song. Psalm 33:1 says:
"Sing for joy in the Lord, O you righteous one."
Our relationship with God results in a life filled with song. How wonderful that the choir can spend hundreds of hours each year praising God in song!
Next time we'll continue our discussion of this passage as it is full of inspiring ministry principles.
To God be the Glory!