Seven Biblical Reasons Why Singing Matters

Have you ever wondered why God desires for his people to sing?

What role should singing play in the life of a Christian?

What is it about worshiping through song that is so important to God?

You may not know it, but God has already answered these questions in the Bible. The seven reasons below answer these questions and unpack more important truth about singing in the life of an individual Christian and the church.


7 Biblical Reasons Why Singing Matters

1.  When you sing, you obey.

Singing isn’t an option in Scripture. It’s a command.

  • Colossians 3:16: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
  • Ephesians 5:18-19: “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…”

God’s people are more than just invited to sing – we are commanded to sing. When we sing, we’re doing what God asks of us!

2. When you sing, you dig deep roots in the Word.

“Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly…singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs…” Colossians 3:16

The Apostle Paul lays out this exhortation to let God’s Word dwell in us richly, and then, he tells us how to live out that command. The first, of course, is teaching. But the second, is singing!

Singing is one of the two chief ways that the Word of God dwells in us richly.

And, as we observed in the last point singing is a command. But also that this command comes with a promise: as we sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs together, we are promised that the Word of Christ will dwell in us richly – which is what we should crave as believers!

Our singing is more than a warm-up for the sermon or a filler in the service. Colossians 3:16 is clearly laying out for us that: Singing stands alongside of preaching as one of the two great ways that God has ordained for His Word to dwell RICHLY in each one of us!

C.J. Mahaney calls church singing “Take Home Theology,” because the best songs we sing together end up serving you as a 3 minute, easily memorizable, deeply biblical summary of important truths from Scripture. Take for example, “In Christ Alone.” There, in an easily memorizable form, you’ve got a thorough theology of the cross of Jesus Christ with clear and practical applications that you can use for your life this week!

3. When you sing, you build up others.

First, you build up fellow believers when you sing:

  • Ephesians 5:19: Note specifically here that it says: “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs…
  • We see the same thing in Colossians 3:13-16: the exhortation to sing comes on the heels of bearing with one another (13a), forgiving one another (13b), putting on love (14), being at peace as one united body of Christ (15), and teaching God’s Word to one another (16).

When we do what the Bible says and sing together as a church family, we are hearing confessions of faith all around! We are hearing hundreds join with us and sing, “In Christ alone, MY hope is found!”  We are hearing hundreds of testimonies of faith all around us!

Also know that as you sing, you’re helping unbelievers. In Psalm 105:1-2, the Lord is calling the Israelites to be a light unto the nations, and to do this He tells them: “Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; tell of all his wondrous works!

Think of the impact on someone who doesn’t know Christ to hear those hundreds of testimonies, those hundreds of confessions of faith as we sing together! This is why Pastor Tim Keller says:  “Good corporate worship will naturally be evangelistic” (219).

4. When you sing, you make war.

Chances are you didn’t connect singing and warfare together, but it’s a theme visible in Scripture. In Colossians 3, Paul is challenging the Colossians to literally put sin to death in their lives – to kill sin.  And so all the commands to love and peace and forgiveness and teaching and SINGING, are therefore, the Bible is teaching, attitudes and habits of the believer that will kill sin!

We see the same thing in Ephesians 5, the command to address one another in song comes right on the heels of “[make] the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).

And the more you think about this, it makes total sense: What posture must be more hated by the evil one than the posture of a believer who is singing?  I can’t think of many stances you can take that identifies you with Christ and against Satan more than eyes, heart, mind and voice lifted to heaven in song!

It’s very hard to lie, be greedy or to look at something inappropriate when, you’re “singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart” (Ephesians 5:19). Simply, a heart that’s doing that will not easily give in to temptation.

A singing heart is a heart at war with the work of the evil one and the power of sin.

5. When you sing, you are spiritually strengthened for trial.

Often times, we think only of singing when we’re happy and times are good, but singing bringing strength for trial comes out in Acts 16. Paul and Silas are unjustly imprisoned for the sake of the Gospel, and what do they do while they’re in prison? Sing! (Acts 16:25)

And this truth is confirmed in the lives of persecuted believers throughout history. Hear the words of one pastor recently imprisoned for his faith:

“…When we were in prison we sang almost every day because Christ was alive in us…they put chains on our hands and feet. They chained us to add to our grief. Yet we discovered that chains are splendid musical instruments!When we clanged them together in rhythm, we could sing, ‘This is the day (clink, clank), this is the day (clink, clank), which the Lord has made (clink, clank), which the Lord has made (clink, clank).” (Source)

Our persecuted brothers are showing us the truth we see in Acts 16 with Paul & Silas. Singing strengthens you and helps you persevere in the face of trial. If it can strengthen them in the face of these trials – what can it do for you?

Even in suffering, SING!

6. When you sing, you walk a God-designed pathway to joy.

Here is a sample of what the Psalms say about singing:

  • Psalms 5:11: “Let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.”
  • Psalms 9:2: “I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.”
  • Psalms 51:14: “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.”
  • Psalms 59:16: “I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.”
  • Psalms 63:7: “For you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.”

If you still don’t believe me, here’s a clincher from James 5:13:  “Is anyone cheerful?  Let him sing praise.”

And as you study Scripture on this point you’ll notice that sometimes singing gives birth to joy and sometimes joy gives birth to singing. But persistently in Scripture, joy and singing are bound together. You can’t study one of those two biblical themes without encountering the other.

If you struggle for joy – SING! If you are joyful – SING! In God’s perfect design and in His perfect understanding of the human condition He has bound joy and singing together for His people.

The first 6 reasons get summed up with this:

7. When you sing, you glorify God.

Truly obedience, deep roots in the Word, building up others, making war against Satan and sin, persevering, finding joy in God – all of these things bring glory to God – each person’s chief goal and chief purpose in life.

Colossians 3 & Ephesians 5 bring this out simply but powerfully telling us to sing “to God” and “to the Lord” because He is the object of our praise. Ephesians 5:19: “singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.” It is to HIM and about HIM that we sing!

Singing has such a unique way of bringing your heart, soul, mind, and strength together to focus entirely and completely on God.  In an age of distraction – singing grabs the attention of all our senses and focuses us on God.

In Revelation 7:9-10, the Apostle John describes a glimpse of eternity with a great multitude of people from every tribe, peoples, and languages singing before the Lamb, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!

Eternity awaits.

Will you on that day be one of the great multitude that no one could number, singing the song of the Lamb, singing His praises? I hope you’ll be there, singing the song of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Sing now. Sing forever.

Singing matters. And it matters that we do it together.



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Tom Olson (@tommyo) is the Campus Pastor at The Orchard Evangelical Free Church (@theorchardefc) in Barrington, Illinois

Date Posted: Jun 6th, 2013

  • I follow Jesus !

    Ahh . let us not forget the first song sung to our God who was glorified after the splitting of the Red Sea . God loves our singing ! He gets all the Glory! As the song of Moses praised God after the splitting of the ocean it comes back in revelation and sung along with the song of the Lamb by the Angels. If you haven’t tried singing out loud to our Lord you are most definitely missing on a holy spirit event . Loud trumpets will sound in the end of days . Musical instruments are made to sing along to as David played the harp . I will be singing to the end of my life . Death where is your sting ? Where is your victory ! Amen.

  • rob

    this is interesting but what you are tone deaf or simply one cannot sing, is there any scripture to help people to sing?

    • BC Robertson

      God still loves your singing no matter how you sound to you or anyone else as long as it comes from your heart.

    • James Bell

      MUCH OF THE PRAISE in the Revelation is ‘said!’…..shout it out, CHANT it… speak it! Moreover… I read of a misisonary who told of the most beautiful singing she had ever heard: Converted lepers with such destruction of their physical bodies… that the sounds coming from their mouth were… let’s just say difficult… but when converted… they began to praise… to sing… and… this dear missionary was able to HEAR BEYOND the actual ‘difficult sounds’ to ‘HEAR’ beautiful voices lifted up in praise to God for salvation through the LORD JESUS CHRIST!

  • Ron Cross

    Great article Tom! I shared it on my fan page and my followers are loving it. It’s received 20 shares so far. So on point! I’d like to share a portion of it on my blog too, with a link back to you of course.

  • jml

    Very good words. I’m teaching on Col 3:16 for my church’s Sunday school in the morning. I found these thoughts very helpful and will use much of it in the intro. Thank you brother for writing this (now two years ago).

  • Masel Biola-Mendoza

    Hi! I am a worship leader in our local church here in Australia. I was diagnosed with a paralysed right diaphragm last June as a complication of a rare neurological condition called transverse myelitis. With that, I am always out of breath to the point I am slurring. When I started my speech therapy, I can only vocalise for 7 seconds- normal should be 15-25 seconds. Singing again seems impossible again but I feel in my heart that I MUST continue to sing for God in any capacity and that’s what i did. Four months down the track, I still have a paralysed diaphragm, but the miracle part is, my lung capacity has improved to normal. Doctors are amazed as to how I can sing with a normal lung capacity when my right side is paralysed. I am sharing the above article to our worship team as an encouragement. I encourage everyone to not tire of singing praises to our God!
    Thank you. To God be the glory!

    • Ryan Donell

      wow. brother…that’s amazing and quite moving. God has given you both the heart, the air, and the lung capacity to praise him. That really is a miracle.

  • Erick Mc Graw

    Wow! Some of these verses and points I recall, but this is a great “pick-me-up” for any choir or team member! That’s for sharing your heart, Tom! Excellent reminder as to why we do it.

  • john j james

    have you mentioned 2 Chron 20:21-24 and Acts 16:25-26? Praise a form of prayer. also see Taize

  • mirriam mbuvi

    May the almighty God bless you generously for this important teaching, which i have been looking for, quite many years. i will continue reading more and more. thank you.

  • singing biblical verses is like preaching in tune.

  • Jim van Ommen

    Thank you for this reminder. Some times during the night or early in the morning I may wake up with a hymn or Song of Praise in my mind, sometimes only with a few lines in the middle of a hymn or song and is a strong reminder that the Lord is telling me something. There is so much hidden in our subconscious minds over all the years that forms a mine of information if we will let it speak to us. Some of this stuff goes back 75 + years and it is astounding how a little prompting brings it all back. Yes and at an age when my memory is often letting me down. It is like something coming back to life as in; “As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive”. And the most jubilant; ” in Christ is also the resurrection of the dead…..etc. Yes these are out of Handel’s Messiah that I have sang for years even way back in the old country, Holland that is. There are times we go through dry patches and we need to be reminded that God is faithful; thank you Tom Olson.

  • Carol

    Thank you so much for this article! I am reading it aôver and over agai to not miss anything. So many revelations to me. It is like a balsam for my heart right now as a worship leader, who is getting unfocused. Thanks for reminding me that is all about God!
    Blessings from Switzerland

  • John Cleveland

    Fantastic post! Thank you. Using a lot of these thoughts to finish up a Bible study series on music for youth.

  • Jeanne Hall

    I’m a song-leader at my church, but I’m not happy In that position! All I do is just sing and people tell me what a great voice I have and how it helps them praise God and make them happy- but it doesn’t make me happy! I went to school for years to try to make my talent profitable- yet I still perform in churches that don’t pay anything! I’d love to do concerts and recordings- but I get no offers. I don’t direct, teach, do music therapy or play an instrument. And I’m not taken seriously when I try to get involved in other ministries- whenever something backfires or fails it’s always “go back to doing music; you have a beautiful voice- stick to just doing that!” I feel like I’m a stupid monkey or doll with no intelligence and therefore not capable of doing or thinking anything right. And since I’ll never get paid for what I do, even after all those years of study, it’s all I can do to work on giving a perfect performance and just pretending I’m giving a concert! The words to the hymns mean little to me- I’ve seen and heard them all before; and there are no sad or angry songs that can be used in liturgy! And how can I be sure that God hears me and is being praised? I feel like I’m wasting my time, yet I do it because I can’t do anything else right! As far as I’m concerned, I’m not a human being!

    • Sandra Oberoi

      Dear Jeanne,
      I can quite imagine how frustrated you are. You’ve spent so much time perfecting your craft, refined it over the years only to have to use it in church where nothing is coming out of it in terms of a monetary benefit.
      While I do feel your anguish, I’d like to ask you explore a different thought process, even if just for a while. ‘You cannot change the situation you are in right now, but you can certainly change how you are responding to it’. Every situation we go through in life can be used either to our advantage i.e. to learn from and become stronger, or to crib about and look down upon assuming it has no bearing on our future.
      I’d like to remind you about Daniel. He had to be really strict with himself, his diet and just the way he conducted himself. The food that was given to all the special men who were picked along with him was supposed to benefit everyone, yet Daniel knew he had to abstain from it. He could have grumbled and thought that the people giving him the food were doing it for his good, anyway, so why bother? Yet, he exercised self control and obedience to God, believing that God knew what he was doing with Daniel’s life. You know the result of this obedience!
      Please remember that once you have committed your life into the hands of the Lord, you should be willing to absolutely let go! That’s the toughest part. Then, whatever situations come your way will just be reminders that God is strengthening you and preparing you for something much bigger, because His ways and thoughts are much higher than ours. We have to submit to Him in humble obedience and enjoy the process of refining. Your singing is leading so many to find meaning in their relationships with the Creator! What a blessing!
      Proverbs 3:4-5 calls us to ‘trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, lean not on your own understanding: In ALL your ways acknowledge Him and he SHALL direct your path.’ I will remember you in prayer, my dear sister. May the Lord’s good and perfect will be accomplished in your life. We were created for His pleasure. That should be a constant reminder.
      Stay blessed!

    • Tracy

      Jeanne- please hear these words not as criticism but as concern for you. You ask “how can I be sure God hears me and is being praised?” He hears you but he is NOT being praised. You said so yourself…”it’s all I can do to work on giving a perfect performance and just pretending I’m giving a concert! “. God does not want a performance or a concert. Nor does he want you pretending. He wants your heart lifted to him in praise. Jeanne, I don’t know what has wounded you to the point you are at, such that you would declare you do not even think you are a human being, but whatever is weighing on your soul needs to be addressed. You will not be able to do that alone but will need professional help. Please, ASAP, ask your pastor to reccomend a good Christian counselor and begin the process of working toward the abundant life God desires for you. Jeanne, Precious Child of God, “do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the RENEWING OF YOUR MIND then you will be able to perceive what God’s will is– His good pleasing and perfect will” Romans12:2 I am praying that you will quickly find help.

  • Melanie Martin

    Beautifully anatomized write-up on ‘singing’. Thank you Pastor.

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