Why do we sing the hymns?

Why We Sing Thy Hymns

Colossians 3:16

In church services today many have chosen to replace the Hymns with other types of songs. In Colossians 3:16 we are plainly told to sing Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs. In this lesson we are going to look at what makes something a good Hymn to sing in church and also why we should keep the hymns in our services.

When we look at the 3 types of songs we are told to sing in the above passage a hymn is probably the most easy to identify. They are the songs in our hymnal. Now one must remember that just because a song is in the Hymnal that doesn’t automatically make it right or a good song to sing in the worshiping of God. So how can we judge a Hymn? Just like everything else we judge Hymns by the word of God. We must look at the words or the message of the hymn and see if it is scriptural or not.

Characteristics of Hymns:

All music and songs in church should glorify God that goes without saying, but if we look in the Colossians 3:16 we can see two other things that hymns or any songs for that matter should do, they should teach and admonish us. In teaching us the hymns should instruct us in the things concerning God and his word. Like in Amazing Grace it teaches us the part that grace has in our salvation (Ephesians 2:8), or how the hymn There is a Fountain teaches us about the blood of Jesus Christ.

Now the hymns are also supposed to admonish us. Admonish is more like reproving, but it usually is being reproved with some instruction for how to do something better or in a different way added to it. This is seen in many of the Hymns. These two things are missing in modern church music today, and rightfully so because they have replaced the hymns with other forms of music.

In this lesson we are going to take the song At Calvary and look at the message that can be preached from its verses to show why the Hymns are so important. Now one of the reasons this song is so unique is because the word Calvary is only found one time in a King James Bible (Luke 23:33), and if have some of the other versions the word Calvary has been removed from this verse. This means that a lot of people sing about a place that is not found in their Bible. Isn’t that ironic?

The message of the Hymn At Calvary:

1)  “Knowing not it was for me he died” (verse 1)

  • In the very first verse we have the writer saying that Jesus Died for him, even though he did not know it.
  • This is a picture of every lost person. Jesus died for everyone whether they realize it or not (Romans 5:8).

2)  “Till my guilty soul imploring turned” (verse 2)

  • Note the word turned here in this verse. This is part of the definition of repentance.
  • Here we see the writer of the Hymn saying that once God’s word showed him he was a sinner then he and had spurned God law he had to turn from his ways and turn to God for salvation.
  • Repentance in salvation is turning from yourself and your ways and turning to God and his method of salvation through faith in his shed blood (2 Corinthians 7:10 ; Acts 20:21).

3)  “The mighty gulf that God did span” (verse 4)

  • In the last verse of the song we see that God spanned a great gulf with the cross of Calvary.
  • This brings to my mind a bridge and Jesus Christ is the only bridge from earth to heaven (John 14:6). Therefore there is only one way to be saved and that is through Jesus Christ.

4)  “My raptured soul can only sing” (verse 3)

  • In this verse the writer is showing that after salvation there is victory. This victory only comes through salvation in the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
  • When one thinks of victory we think of singing or the victory song. All through the Old Testament when God did something great for Israel they would sing about it (Exodus 15:1-20 ; Psalm 40:3, 77:6)
  • The reason we can sing is because of what Jesus Christ has done for us and the victory he has given us.

So plainly this Hymn both teaches and admonishes, it could even be a gospel message by itself to a lost person.


Why We Sing Thy Hymns : Handout

Colossians 3:16


1)  What are the 3 groups of songs that we are told to admonish one another with in the verse above?


2)  What is a Hymn?


3)  What are the main characteristics of a Hymn?


4)  How can you judge a Hymn to know whether or not it is a good song to sing in church?


5)  Why is the song At Clavary such an important Hymn?


6)  Give an outline from the song that could preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.