How Should We Sing?

Written by Leland Ping on Nov 23, 2015


A question like this one has different types of answers. One might point out that the New Testament teaches us to sing and never to play instruments which is why we don't use any piano, organ, or “praise band” in our song service. One might answer the question by saying that we are to sing together and not to follow in the examples of many religious groups wherein only a select group of choir members sing while the rest of us listen. It’s also important to consider that Paul says we are to sing with two key things: the spirit and the understanding (I Corinthians 14:15).

Singing should always be a spiritual experience. When we sing “There Is A God,” it shouldn’t be a time to wish away the verses so that we can get to lunch sooner. As spiritually minded people, the thought of God’s existence and His consideration of us should at cause us to be humbled and more devoted to Him. When we sing, “Magnify, Oh Magnify,” the thought of God having made us in His “glorious image” should bring a prayer of thanks to our lips at God’s greatness. If we’re not careful, singing in public assemblies will become simply something we do because we’ve always done it rather than because God desires praise and we need to be the ones praising Him in song. We should never lose sight of the fact that with each note we sing, THE Creator of the universe is listening to our words and appreciating the reverence we’re showing Him.

Singing should never be done with a lack of understanding. When Paul counsels the Corinthians to comprehend what they’re doing, it’s helpful to note that he is in some ways chastising them for doing spiritual things without knowing what they’re really doing. When we sing songs of praise, we need to know what we’re saying! When we raise our voices and sing, “I Surrender All,” we are pledging to our Savior that we are giving our lives to Him. We are saying that we are emptying ourselves of “self” so that we can focus entirely on our Father and His work. By singing with understanding, we make our service to God more serious and more meaningful. It’s a serious thing to consider that we might, if we’re not careful, sing a lie. We want to be very careful to never do that. And, when singing with a greater comprehension of our words, it helps our words of praise to God and encouragement to each other be more meaningful.

At all times when we sing together, let us sing with spirit, knowing that we’ll be privileged to sing in heaven throughout eternity. Let us also sing with the understanding that our words are meaningful, helpful, and encouraging as we work diligently to help each other make it to our eternal home with our Father and His Son.

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