It is a well-known fact that throughout the world Christians sing; either personally or collectively in church services or meetings. This article explores why this is the case.
Music was there from the beginning
Music in the Bible is first mentioned in Genesis 4:21 where Jubal is described as the father of all who played stringed instruments. Whilst it does not state specifically that people sang during this time, it is highly likely that with the making of music would come singing.
The first song in the Bible is the song of Moses and Miriam in Exodus 15:1-18 in praise of God after delivering them from the Egyptians at the red sea.
The book of Psalms
There are other songs recorded in the Old Testament but the greatest collection of songs is found in the book of Psalms. Many of these songs were written by King David, but others contributed to this collection.
What were these songs about?
- Songs of praise to the one true God
- Songs of freedom
- Songs of God’s love
- Songs about what God has done
- Songs of joy
- Songs written in times of trial
- Song of gratitude for God’s deliverance
The psalms encourage us to sing all of our lives and to make new songs, to sing from our hearts. There are psalms that record the confusion of God’s people when they see the wicked prospering and the righteous struggling.
Many of the songs recorded in the book of Psalms were intended to be used in temple worship and sung by the Levites, or designated temple singers. So we can see that in Old Testament times singing was an important part of the worship of God.
In the New Testament
On the night Jesus was betrayed and after the last supper, Mark and Matthew record that Jesus and his disciples sang a hymn, and after that went to the mount of Olives (Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26). This implies that singing was a normal thing to do when Jews came together.
In the early church
Paul mentions singing a couple of times as though it was normal practice for those early church services. See Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16 and 1 Corinthians 14:15. We also read that when Paul and Silas were arrested in Philippians, beaten and put in stocks in prison, around midnight they began to sing (Acts 16:23-25).
The tradition of singing out our prayers and thoughts to God and about God are well documented in the Bible.
Today the tradition carries on. Many of the hymns that can be found in a hymn book call us to worship, some songs give us theological teaching, some tell of the great deeds of God, others describe the path of salvation and at times the writers’ struggle to understand but holding on because of what they believe about God and who He is.
Today, more than ever before, probably, new songs are being written and used in worship. Although many of today’s churches have different worship styles – singing and making a joyful noise to the Lord is still at the center of nearly every church service.
Music, life and health
It is a well-documented fact that music has great benefits for everyone. (Look up on google to find the benefits!) It improves people’s moods, reduces stress, lessens anxiety, improves memory, eases pain, to name just a few.
Christians are not immune from the strains and stresses of everyday life but when they lift up their voices in praise to God and worship him, most, if not all Christians will testify that in worshiping God they find help, encouragement, hope and joy which cannot be found in anything else.
So, why is singing so important for Christians?
It is a natural and automatic way to praise the Lord, to talk to him and He to us. It is prayer and praise coming from deep within our hearts. It helps us to draw near to God even when we may feel isolated or downhearted. There is no down side to singing – only benefits.