Spiritual Songs

“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 the Old Testament there is a Hebrew word for singing praise, tehillah. Several times this word is used in connection with singing a new song – a song that hasn’t existed before, a new song that has a message for the time it is given. God would inspire psalmists to write songs as His message to His people. In the book of Psalms, we know that some of these songs were even prophetic, foretelling the future of Israel and of the coming Messiah.

In the New Testament, after the penalty for sin had been removed and the Holy Spirit had been poured out, God is still giving new songs. With the infilling and indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the heart of each believer, the Holy Spirit continues to give songs and to give spiritual songs.

What is a spiritual song? A spiritual song is a spontaneous song given by the Holy Spirit for the moment it is applicable. Just like with the gifts of the Spirit, a spiritual song is a gift from the Holy Spirit as a supernatural message from God or a song that God has for us for that moment. Ephesians 5:18-19 “…be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord….” Remember that under the old covenant God sang over His people (Zephaniah 3:17). With the anointing of the Holy Spirit, God is still singing messages to His people with spiritual songs or songs sung in the spirit.

Songs sung in the spirit are songs that are sung in an unknown language. I Corinthians 14:15 “… I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.” Singing in the spirit as an individual or as a congregation often brings a glorious experience of God’s manifested presence into our praise.

Application: We should be intentional to praise the Lord both with our understanding and with our spirit. In a worship service, when a song is over and music is playing, don’t stop worshipping to wait for the next song. Begin to sing in the spirit and learn to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in your worship in between the songs. You will learn how to flow with the Holy Spirit and hear what He is saying. It is glorious!

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