Pastors need to be aware of the formidable tool that God has given us to teach his people—namely, the power of music and song. Our people may quickly forget the finer details of our sermons, but they will be humming the melody of that song long into their Sunday afternoon and Monday morning.
How can we foster a culture of theological depth in our churches? It must begin with the faithful exposition of God’s Word. If our people aren’t regularly being fed from the Word of God, then there’s little hope for theological depth.
But God has given us others tools to facilitate our growth when we gather on Sunday mornings. One tool in particular stands out: singing. Little else brings together the heart, the soul, and the mind in one event. All this raises a question: what kinds of songs best foster a culture of theological depth? To answer this question, we don’t need to look any farther than the Psalter, God’s hymnbook.
Consider God’s Hymnbook
The collection of 150 psalms which we call the Psalter is widely recognized to be the hymnal for the ancient people of God. Some present-day denominations still use it at their exclusive hymnal. I can understand why: it’s teeming with a variety of subjects and situations. It moves us from mountaintops to miry pits; our hearts and souls are laid bare as we read. At the same time, the Psalter also challenges our minds. After all, when read through a Christological lens, this book teaches all the major doctrines of the Christian faith.Through the Psalter, we learn about the doctrine of revelation (Pss 1, 12, 19, 119, etc.) and theology proper (10, 11, 14, 23, 33, etc.). We learn Christology (2, 22, 40, 110, etc.), pneumatology (51, 104, etc.), soteriology (1, 22, 103, 145, etc.), anthropology (8, 14, 16, 27, etc.), and hamartiology (14, 51, 53, etc.). And that’s just the beginning.
Apply God’s Hymnbook
What does this tell us about the importance of our singing on Sunday mornings?