Tuesday, March 07, 2006
What About Singing Psalms?
Colossians 3:16 and Ephesians 5:19 both mention a direct result of Spirit-filling and letting the Word of Christ dwell in us richly: Singing Psalms. Before the late 19th century, most New Testament churches sang psalms, some exclusively. Were they doing something that we are missing?
In worship, we direct our music to God. What does He want to hear from us? He gave us 150 psalms, so obviously psalms. Then in the NT, in the rare texts on music, He first asks for psalms. It isn't an alphabetical order---psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. At the least, it is a prioritization. He most wants psalms. So why have psalms been almost eliminated from churches today? Could it be that we have stopped evaluating our worship from a God-centered perspective? People got tired of singing psalms, too difficult for them to consider and often accompanied by music unappealing to human flesh. Is that a suitable criterium for stopping something God expressly told us He desired from us?
How do people sing from psalms? A few good psalters still exist. They contain all 150 psalms with tunes befitting their inspiration and grandeur. The old Metropolitan Tabernacle hymnbook of Spurgeon in London contained its own psalter. That church still sings those same psalms. The Trinity Hymnbook, Baptist Edition contains its own psalter. You can purchase other psalters which are excellent renditions, versifying (putting into rhyme) every word of the Hebrew Masoretic Old Testament text into English. Often accompanying the psalms are majestic compositions of music that conform to their lofty message.
So if you or your church aren't singing the psalms, then why not?