There are some passages in Scripture that are, perhaps, more loved than others. When you ask someone about their favorite verse in the Bible, or if they have a Life Verse, it’s probably safe to assume they won’t quote Leviticus or Deuteronomy. (I don’t know why… personally, some of the Best Stuff of Scripture is in Deuteronomy!) Psalms and Isaiah get their fair share of quoting, and the Gospels and the Epistles. And that is how it should be, I think. When we speak of passages in the Bible that really impact us and change our hearts, it is often something that expresses God’s grace, His love, His desire and delight in His people. It’s still a mystery to me that God would love us, but He does.
One of the expressions we hear quoted often from the Bible is this one: “…speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.” You’ve heard that one, right? These are Paul’s words, and like any honest writer, he actually uses this material in two different letters—to the churches at Ephesus (Eph. 5:19) and at Colossus (Col. 3:16).
If we go back and read the words surrounding each use of this expression, we find that the contexts are very similar. Paul is writing to encourage and admonish us in how to live—particularly, how to live as Christians and as a Christian body.
It’s just a beautiful idea, isn’t it? Speaking to one another in song? You’ve heard the analogy of the old dog who has a favorite bone that he always goes back to chew on? This is my “old favorite bone.” It’s always nearby, and I can be in the midst of some other study or project altogether, and I’ll find myself gnawing on it: Speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs? What did Paul mean? Was he just being poetic?
Largely, I think we assume he was being poetic—as evidenced by the fact that we don’t often experience gatherings of Believers wherein they are singing to one another. We sing together as a means of corporate agreement in worship, but we almost never sing to each other.
This morning, I was singing an old worship chorus and this idea of speaking in song came back to me; it birthed a new question.
What if we spoke to one another—not necessarily in song—but in the same manner and phrasing that we sing our worship songs and hymns? When we remove the music, do the words mean something? Or are they just fluffy and feel-good?
I need some volunteers. I need to test this out.
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What do you say? I need several people. I know there are a few I can count on already (you probably know who you are)…
Let me know.