Why Do We Sing Hymns?
Why Do We Sing Hymns?
In the Judeo-Christian tradition, hymn singing is at the heart of worship practice. Early on, Christians were specifically identified as “those people who sang hymns.” To understand why Christians sing hymns, a good place to start is to look at the biblical record for documentation of hymn singing. Here are but a few examples:
Matthew 26:29-31 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Acts 16:24-26 But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them,
Ephesians 5:19 Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart.
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your heart.
SING(ING) TO THE LORD
Exodus 15:21 And Miriam sang to them: “Sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.”
1 Chronicles 16:23 Sing to the Lord, all the earth! Tell of his salvation from day to day.
Instances of singing in the Bible in general and hymn singing in particular can be summarized:
- to cheer each other up (Paul and Silas in prison)
- for edification (for moral & spiritual instruction) See Cor., 14: 25-27; Col., 3:16
- glorifying God.
- true obedience, deep roots in the Word, building up others, making war against Satan and sin, persevering, finding joy in God: All these things bring glory to God, which is each person’s chief goal and purpose.
“It is the voice of the church that is heard in singing together. It is not you that sings, it is the church that is singing, and you, as a member of the church, may share its song.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer
If you’re looking to add something new to your music collection, try some recordings of great hymns.
Here are a few suggestions
Sing, Ye Heavens (21 familiar hymns, most arranged by John Rutter) Cambridge Singers:
Collegium Records, COLCD 126
Christ Triumphant (Great hymn tunes of the 20th century,) Well Cathedral Choir:
Holy, Holy, Holy (Favorite hymns,) King’s College Choir:
Music Heritage Society, 513403z
Fill the World with Loudest Praise (11 Concertatos,) St. Paul’s Chamber Choir,
Houston, Texas: Selah Publishing, 520425
Amazing Grace (American hymns and spirituals,) Robert Shaw Festival Singers:
Great Hymns of Faith, The St. Olaf Choir:
St. Olaf Records E-2294