The Role of Singing in the Life of the Church

| December 9, 2014

Christianity is a singing faith. It’s one of the chief things followers of Jesus are renowned for, both down through the ages and now all around the world. While the proportion of singing has varied from time to time and from place to place, most churches today devote about a third of their gathering time to congregational singing and invest a considerable amount of time, money, effort, and energy into the musical side of church life.

But why do we sing? What does our singing accomplish? What purposes does it fulfill? According to Scripture, God has both created and called us to sing for three principal reasons: to help us praise, to help us pray, and to help us proclaim. Let’s look at each of these reasons in turn.

1. Singing Helps Us Praise

There’s no escaping the fact that singing is a vital form of praise. Many Scriptures (particularly the psalms) bear this out. Not only do they link praise directly with singing, but they also frequently speak of the vertical and horizontal dimensions of praise, adoration, and declaration, in virtually the same breath. Consider, for example, the opening four verses of Psalm 96:

Oh sing to the LORD…

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