Singing With The Head, Heart, & Hands

Music is a precious gift from God. I agree with Luther who says that “Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.” Amen! That said, it makes sense that the New Testament is concerned with our singing when the church gathers.

Singing as the people of God gathered together differs in a number of ways than a more general kind of singing (in the car, at a concert, etc.) The major difference is that when the church sings, the results are holistic. Our singing is meant to affect all of us; the head, the heart, and the hands.

In Colossians 3:16–17 Paul writes…

[16] 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. [17] And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


1. Are you singing with your Head?

Paul is concerned that we sing the truth of Christ in our HEADS. The word, the truth, the doctrine of Christ must dwell in us. R.C. Lucas comments, 

What is at issue here is the content of the young church’s hymns. The history of Christian awakening shows that whenever the word of Christ is recovered, it is received with great joy, a joy that can fully express itself only with songs of praise. What the apostles is concerned to see is that these songs are consistent with the word of Christ, or as we are bound to say nowadays, scriptural.

But Paul is not merely concerned with the content of our songs.


2. Are you singing with your Heart?

Paul is concerned that we sing the truth of Christ with our HEARTS. When we are truly filled with the word of Christ and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, what is the result? Thankfulness in our hearts to God. Any truth of God that is comprehended with the head but not cherished with the heart is not rightly understood. Lucas goes on…

A fair test of this is to be found by whether or not they echo a heartfelt spirit of thankfulness: genuine Christian praise is not primarily a vehicle for the expression of spiritual aspirations and experiences, so much as a celebration of God’s mighty acts in Christ.

But there is more. Christian worship is not merely knowledge and affection, but also action.


3. Are you singing in a way that affects your Hands?

Paul is concerned that our singing the truth of Christ makes its way to our HANDS. In other words, what good is singing true songs that thrill our hearts if it never affects the way we live our lives. Whatever we do, whatever we sing, say, think, plan, and pray, is to be done for the glory of Jesus. In this way, our singing in the gathering prepares us for our every day living.

So the next time you gather to sing with the saints ask yourself, “Is my singing holistic?” As Lucas comment, “Paul called upon the church to recognize the full extent of the treasure they possessed in Jesus Christ their Lord.” In our singing and in our living, with heads full of truth, hearts full of thankfulness, and hands ready to work for the glory of Jesus, may we do the same.

Quotes from The Message of Colossians and Philemon by R.C. Lucas

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