In Col 3:16, Paul wrote about the word of Christ and singing. In this verse, he gave us clear instructions on what to do with both of these. What to do with:
The word of Christ – notice that Paul wrote “the word of Christ.” In the Godhead, Jesus Christ is the Word of God. See Jn 1:1, 1 Jn 5:7, and Rev 19:13. Jesus Christ, the Word of God, is God manifest in the flesh, Jn 1:14, 1 Tim 3:16. Likewise, the spoken and written words of God are the word of Christ. We must be very careful, therefore, to uphold and submit ourselves to the authority of the words of God. They are the word of Christ. They are not man’s words; they are God’s words, 1 Thes 2:13. And they are preserved for us in our King James Bible, Ps 12:6-7.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you. For the words of God to dwell in you, you must receive them and retain them. The word of Christ will dwell in you through:
- Memorization – Ps 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart.” You memorize the words by repeating them over and over again, day after day, until you’ve got them.
- Meditation – Jos 1:8, “thou shalt meditate therein day and night.” Your thoughts are on his words, not on everything else.
- Communication – Acts 15:35, “Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.” When you hear the word spoken or when you read the word written from a Spirit-filled person, let it sink down into your heart. Rehearse what you’ve heard or read until the verse or verses become a living part of your life.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. Richly means plenteously, abundantly, amply. You want to retain plenty of scripture, not so you can be so knowledgeable, but so that your life can be pleasing to God. We need an abundance of the word of Christ to live. Christians who are amply filled with Scripture and whose lives are changed by it are satisfied, content Christians. A preacher I know puts himself in the text as he reads it and observes everything about it as if he were present when the event was taking place or when the man was writing the words. That’s rich Bible study.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom. Wisdom is knowing what to do with the words that dwell in you. It’s knowing how the words apply to your life. Without wisdom, men generally apply the word of God incorrectly. With wisdom, God will use his words profitably to perfect you and throughly furnish you unto all good works, 2 Tim 3:16-17.
Singing – singing is a vital part of our Christian life. Paul wrote, “singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” The Lord loves singing. The church age saints will sing a new song in heaven, Rev 5:9-10. The Tribulation saints will sing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb in heaven, Rev 15:2-3. The children of Israel sang after Pharaoh and his army were drowned in the Sea, Ex 15:1. Deborah and Barak sang after defeating Sisera, Jud 5:1. The children of Israel sang after David killed Goliath and Israel defeated the Philistines, 1 Sam 18:6. David separated the sons of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, with instruments for the songs of the Lord, 1 Chr 25:1-7. Jesus and his disciples sang a hymn after the last supper, Matt 26:30. The trees will sing when the Lord returns, 1 Chr 16:33. And so forth and so on. This is why we sing to the Lord when we meet together in church.
The three kinds of songs we sing are:
- Psalms – there are one hundred and fifty of these recorded in your Bible. Many of the verses have been put to music so that we can sing them. Ps 118:24 is an example. You’ll find many Psalms put to music in a Psaltry.
- Hymns – these are recorded in our hymnbook. Our hymnbook, Great Hymns of the Faith, has over 500 hymns in it.
- Spiritual songs – for a song to be spiritual, it must be God glorifying and Biblically correct. Spiritual songs minister to the spirit. Carnal songs, conversely, minister to the flesh and to the emotions. Spiritual songs draw attention to God; carnal songs draw attention to man and to the performers. Spiritual songs make you more like Christ; carnal songs make you more like the world. Spiritual songs drive away evil spirits, 1 Sam 16:14-16, 23. Carnal songs, on the other hand, are connected with idolatry, Dan 3:5.
When singing, we teach one another. Notice David’s superscript to Ps 60, “To the chief Musician… to teach.” We learn a great deal about the history and prophecy of Israel in the Psalms and there are many references to the Second Coming of Jesus in them. And when singing, we admonish one another. To admonish is to caution or advise. Our singing should be instructive and admonishing. “What Will You Do With Jesus?” is an excellent example of a song that admonishes. Consider just a few of the hymns that teach us. “Majestic Sweetness Sits Enthroned.” “Look and Live.” “Ye Must Be Born Again.” “When We See Christ.”
Conclusion: two of the greatest tragedies of apostasy are: carnal teaching has replaced Bible preaching and carnal singing has replaced spiritual singing. If you are in a church that still believes, preaches, and teaches the word of Christ and still sings psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, thank God with all your heart and pray for your pastor and the other members of your church. You don’t want anything to change these two pillars in your church. In your own life, you want to immerse yourself in your Bible and sing to the Lord. These two things will help you grow in Christ.