Psalms, Hymns, & Spiritual Songs Theme Exposition

As you may know from the past, we anchor the National Worship Leader Conference (NWLC) on biblical theology and our theme amplifies our understanding of Scripture. I’m sure you’ll have your takes on the theme we have chosen (and passages below from which it is derived). We welcome your input. This is only intended as a means to help us focus so we’re singing off the same sheet of music.

Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Eph 5:18-21

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

When we speak of Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, we aren’t describing three flavors of “worship ice cream,” from which we choose our personal favorite. We matter in God’s worship, but none of us is the point—neither is our preferred musical style.

So, what then do these three musical categories imply? First they imply that true worshipers surrender to the ministry of the Spirit, and embrace the rich diversity of worship the Father seeks from his children and Church. They also remind us that as followers of Jesus, singing will be an essential expression of our worship and that there will be all manner of song in our congregations and communities. But most important, singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs will encompass far more than simply words and music, it will shake the very foundations of culture and shape the meaning of our existence together, invading it with the resonance and reality of heaven.

Key Points

  • We choose to make a home for the “Word of Christ” in our hearts, where it dwells in abundance—and is outwardly and audibly expressed in wisdom, the songs we write and sing, as well as the lives we lead.
  • We are a Trinitarian community, filled with the Spirit, giving thanks to the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Individually and corporately, we sing to the Lord and to each other from our hearts—all as an overflow of the work of the gospel in our lives.
  • Worshiping in Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs integrates us as people—emotions, spirit, body and soul—and as a community.
  • We both teach and are taught—all contribute and have a voice.

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