A couple of weeks ago I shared briefly about ‘hymns, psalms and spiritual songs’. This phrase is used twice by the Apostle Paul in his letters to the churches. Firstly, in Ephesians 5:19 and secondly in Colossians 3:16. When writing to the Ephesians, Paul suggests that this is the outworking of being ‘filled by the Spirit’. However to the Colossians Paul highlights that these are an evidence of allowing the ‘Word of Christ dwell in you richly’. Isn’t that wonderful? According to Paul, the Spirit and the Word are so indistinguishable that the evidence in our lives appears to be one and the same.
So what are these songs? As often is the case it is difficult to be absolutely certain. Yet, I would suggest that hymns are those songs written by believers in the church (a number of which are quoted by Paul (see Philippians 2:6-11 and Colossians 1:15-20). Psalms are well, Psalms (whether contained in the book of Psalms or found elsewhere in Scripture, for example the song of Miriam in Exodus 15:20-21). Lastly, spiritual songs are probably extemporaneous or free songs that rose up within the congregation as they responded to the immediate work of the Spirit.
I am so grateful for the breadth and variety of songs that we sing. I encourage you to continue to pray for those musicians who lead us week by week. I also encourage you to add your voice to theirs in order to worship the God who is worthy of all our praise.
Yours and His, Gareth