Throughout the history of Christianity, one of the greatest tools for teaching theology has been music. After all, one of the earliest Christian hymns is the great Christological passage of Philippians 2. If it’s true, then, that we are learning from our songs whether we mean to or not, then we ought to pay very close attention to what we are singing as a means of guarding our hearts and minds.
I only have vague memories of the “worship wars,” those days in the particular stream of evangelicalism that I stream in when there was intense and bitter disagreement regarding worship in the church. But from what I remember, and from what I’ve since learned, many of those arguments centered around worship style.
That’s not what this post is about.
But it is about worship. In particular, it’s about the actual words we are singing during worship regardless of the style, and why all of us – whether we are professional Christians or not – ought to care deeply about those words.
Of course we should, you might say. We should care because these are words we are singing to and about God. And you’re right. The fact that we are singing to and about God ought to make us pause and breathe a little deeply and at least consider the words coming out of our mouths. But that’s not the only reason we should pay attention to the lyrics of our songs. Here are three more:
1. Because you’re not just singing; you are learning.
Songs help us learn. They always have. They helped us learn the ABCs, the days of the week and the months of the year, and the colors of the rainbow. Beyond that, though, consider for a moment how many song lyrics you know.