Preserving Hope: Why do Christians sing?

If you grew up in church, then congregational singing is something you may take for granted. It feels like a normal part of Christian life until you stop and think about it: singing is strange. Where else do you see people gathering to sing every week in modern society? Why is singing such a vital part of Christian worship?

Many passages in the Bible address this question. But I want to focus on one text in particular: “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart” (Ephesians 5:18–19, ESV).

In these two verses, Paul shows us that congregational singing is a result of being filled by the Spirit. In other words, singing may seem strange but in reality, it’s one of the most natural responses of a true believer to the work of the Holy Spirit in his life.

Notice also that congregational singing has both a horizontal and a vertical dimension, according to the apostle Paul. On the horizontal side, we are addressing one another in song. This is part of the reason Christians attend church. We need the mutual encouragement of other believers as we stir one another up to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24-25). But on the vertical side, we aren’t merely addressing other humans; we are addressing God. We are singing to the Lord from our hearts.

Therefore, here are two practical encouragements for the next time — or the first time — you attend a Christian worship service:

  1. First, try to listen to the voice of others in the room, melding your voice with theirs.
  2. Second, remember to whom you are singing. You are singing to the Lord. So don’t be afraid or timid. Sing boldly for His glory.

About Will Stern

Originally from Colorado, Will Stern is the pastor of Hope Presbyterian Church in Garnet Valley. He majored in violin performance for his undergrad and taught violin for a number of years before being called into ministry. He studied theology at Duke University and Westminster Theological Seminary.



1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.