Praise hymn, praise Him
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
Colossians 3:16 (NIV)
In this verse from Colossians, psalms, hymns and songs are for teaching, admonishing one another and singing with gratitude to the Lord.
The Greek word for psalm: psalmos, is interesting. Its meanings include ‘song sung to a harp’ and ‘to rub or touch the surface’ when playing an instrument. This describes the action of plucking a harp or strumming a guitar or playing a violin.
The Greek word for hymn is also interesting. Pronounced hoom’-nos, it comes from a root word hudeo meaning to celebrate, and is connected to ad’-o, a primitive form of the verb to sing. A hymn is a celebratory action of singing while worshipping the Divine. This is exemplified in extracts taken from Revelation 5:8-9: ‘…Each one had a harp … And they sang a new song, saying, … “You are worthy to take the scroll…” ’ The purpose of a hymn then is celebratory singing with instruments, acknowledging and praising the greatness of God and the worthiness of Jesus.
So how can a hymn or psalm teach us? When we think about teaching, pictures come into our mind about classrooms, lecture theatres, books, demonstrations, PowerPoint and illustrations. In a church fellowship context, singing and music is also a means of how particular lessons can be learnt, repeated and remembered, as our hymns and psalms acknowledge and praise God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, proclaiming with gratitude his greatness, worthiness and salvation.
Quite often we remember songs far more readily and they are more easily recalled than a sermon. I humorously comment during worship leading, that long after the final sermon is preached, we will be singing to our God and honouring our Saviour Jesus.
There are so many hymns that spring to mind, many worthy of a separate study of their own. And whether traditional or modern in style, they inspirationally declare God’s greatness and salvation. I would like to offer up two – Praise my soul the King of Heaven by Henry Francis Lyte, and Blessing and honour by Gary Sadler & Jamie Harvill.
Let’s praise hymn, praise Him!
Dear God, we thank you for the sacrifice of your son Jesus, whom we ever praise. In his name, Amen.
Study by Patrick Goodman
About the writer:
Patrick Goodman attends the Central London congregation of Grace Communion International, where he is a Worship Leader.
Grace Communion International
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