The Role of Singing in the Life and Worship of the Church -- By: Frank Griffith

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 04:4 (Fall 1995)
Article: The Role of Singing in the Life and Worship of the Church
Author: Frank Griffith


The Role of Singing in the Life and Worship of the Church

Frank Griffith

The people of God have always been and will always be a people of song. If the enjoyment of song is gone, that is a symptom of far greater disease. A congregation’s singing is not an absolute thermometer of their spiritual temperature, but it is one indicator. As Luther said way back in the Reformation days of the 16th century, “If any would not sing and talk of what Christ has wrought for us, he shows thereby that he does not really believe...” 1

What is the role of singing in the life and worship of the church? According to most “church growth” experts a church’s approach to music is a key factor in its potential for numerical growth. A large cement company in our area has its motto emblazoned on its trucks, “Find a need and fill it.” If our motto was “Find the seeker’s desire and fill it,” then opinion polls on the role of music in the life and worship of the church would be crucial. But our motto must be, “Find the Seeker’s desire and fulfill it” (Luke 19:10).

Christ has revealed His design for singing in the life of the church. We are not left to our own preferences and prejudices when it comes to the basic principles. In Colossians 3:16 and Ephesians 5:19 Paul gives a brief, pointed and clear exhortation to the church regarding the role of singing.

By taking the words of these two epistles at face value we learn that both were written by Paul at approximately the same time, to very similar audiences and regarding similar issues. It is no surprise, therefore that Paul speaks to some common issues and even uses the same phrases in doing so.

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father (Eph. 5:18–20).

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father (Col. 3:16–17).

In both epistles Paul’s words about singing come in...

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