“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.”
The third result of the “word of Christ” finding lodgment in our souls is God gives us a song in our hearts.
“in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs”
Truth and the celebration of truth are a great combination of praise. Learning the truth of Christ is excellent, but we must also celebrate it. We celebrate it in the worship of praise. Two operating principles must guide Christian music:
and 2) worship.
“Psalms” has to do with the content of Scriptural truth. A psalm was a song of praise about a truth. “Psalms” in our verse were probably the Psalms of the Old Testament.
“Hymns” was originally a heathen word for a song for a god or hero after their death. The New Testament confines the meaning of “hymns” to the direct address of praise and glory to the living God. A psalm commemorated extant mercies and blessings God bestowed, but a hymn was a song of praise of newly composed texts directed toward Christ.
“Spiritual songs” are compatible with Scripture but are not necessarily Scripture itself. These songs generally do not always state their lyrics in biblical language or quote the Bible. These songs were the most general of the three categories comprising all kinds of songs. This passage qualifies these songs by the term “spiritual;” these songs relate to the spiritual dimension.
God presents considerable latitude in Christian music in this verse. We find the leeway outlined in three categories. The first category is psalms, which are praises addressed to God. The second sort is hymns, which contain testimony. “Spiritual songs” is the third category pertaining to the soul’s spiritual well-being.
The Old Testament was filled with both vocal and instrumental music. David used musical instruments in worship. We do not read much about music in the New Testament. There is nothing about music in the Acts of the Apostles. Some churches prohibit musical instruments, but the New Testament does not prohibit instrumental music. Nothing in the Bible prohibits a piano, a sound system, or a carpet on the church floor.
Worship by music contains two elements: content and heart.
All Christian music must contain a message. Much Christian music today is purely subjective, emotional, and sentimental. This music expresses just personal experience and not the truth of Scripture. Often these experiences do not correspond to biblical truth or the reality of spiritual life.
In God’s economy, the weight of music will differ; the musical value will not be the same. God has a place for different styles of music.
This section of Colossians has its parallel in Ephesians 5:18-20. This Ephesian passage indicates that a genuine song in the heart comes from the filling of the Spirit. To be filled with the Spirit produces the same results as being filled with the Word.