“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.” Colossians 3:16 (ESV)
Isn’t this a cool verse? As a worship leader, I love it because it puts two of my favorite verbs together in the same context: teaching and singing. Some may say, “But Charity, they are still separate — ‘teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom’, and THEN, ‘singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” While this may be one understanding of the passage, I don’t think anyone would argue that in this context, the fact that these phrases are side by side implies that the two things — teaching and singing — at the very least GO TOGETHER, and that in fact there is a good chance that Paul is saying that much can be taught THROUGH the singing of songs.
Truth is, deep spiritual truths can be taught through song. I’ve seen it myself. “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so” comes immediately to mind — the simplest of melodies paired with the richest of truths. When my children were little, if I wanted them to memorize a certain Bible verse, I would set it to melody and suddenly, the task didn’t seem so daunting. It became fun. I did this with Philippians 4:8 — you know, the long verse detailing all the things we should be thinking on — “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, etc., etc.”? Once I set it to music, it became a piece of cake to learn.
A couple weeks ago, our 9-year-old Annie stayed for a couple days at a friend’s house. My friend shared with me how one night, Annie was just doing her thing around the house, all the while singing a little tune to herself. It stopped my friend in her tracks, causing her to ask, “Annie what are you singing?” It was Philippians 4:8! Annie made $5 that night because she paid Annie to teach the song to her girls!
Singing is a fantastic learning tool for children, but it is also very effective for adults. Just last Sunday at Renaissance, we sang the Chris Tomlin song, “God of Angel Armies” during our worship service. That song is chock-full of specific biblical references. You can attach a verse to almost every line in the song (that would make for a great Bible study — ok, that’s your homework! LOL just joking!)
For example, the bridge paraphrases Isaiah 54:17 when it says, “And nothing formed against me shall stand” — the actual verse saying, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper.” When we sing these “spiritual songs” in our homes and in our church, we are hiding God’s word in our hearts.
So sing on! Get good music into your homes. Play Christian radio in your cars and in your homes and when you get tired of that (because let’s face it, the radio pretty much plays the same 20 songs over and over), explore digital music outlets like Pandora, Spotify, or Apple Radio. There is so much great music being made, and you can stream it right into your homes!
And finally, memorize Scripture using melody. Make up a little tune and sing it with the words. And don’t say you can’t until you try! Be diligent to fill your home with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. In doing so, you will be teaching yourself and the people around you great biblical wisdom, and then one day you will wake up and realize that “the word of Christ dwells in you richly.” Praise Him!