Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Colossians 3:16)
In Colossians 3 Paul described how the new man (or woman) in Jesus Christ lives. It’s a life with a high calling, marked by love, humility, patience, and peace. Because the new you is patterned after Jesus Himself, all those things that are in Jesus are in the new man.
Paul then told us a further way we should walk in the life of the new man. We must let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Simply said, the new man walks in the word of God and in worship with other believers.
Notice, the word of God – here called the word of Christ – is to supposed to live in those who are the followers of Jesus. It isn’t just that we are supposed to read and hear the word of Christ, though that is where it starts. The word of Jesus is to live in us, taking root and residence richly in our innermost being.
It isn’t only the word of God that should live in us, we also teach and encourage each other in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Since Paul wrote in this in the context of one another, the idea seems to be connected with congregational worship. The songs we sing together:
- Should be Scriptural (coming from the word of Christ).
- Should teach and encourage us (teaching and admonishing).
- Should have variety (psalms and hymns and spiritual songs).
- Should actually be sung (singing).
- Should be sung with grace in your hearts.
- Should be unto to the Lord.
When Christians gather for worship, they should sing. They should sing with the thought that they are all something of a choir, singing for the pleasure of God in heaven. It’s not that musicians on the platform sing for the pleasure of the congregation with God helping them. The idea is that the congregation sings for the pleasure of God with the musicians helping them.
We find another idea with the phrase, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. If we sing with grace in our hearts, some of that grace will be extended towards those musicians and singers who hope to lead us in congregational singing.
Finally, we notice the connection between the word and worship. Ideally, they are two aspects of ministry that work together in harmony and strength. If we love the word but don’t like to worship, something is wrong. If we love worship but don’t appreciate the ministry of the word, something is also wrong. They are both essential parts of the life of the new man or new woman in Jesus Christ.