16b Teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.
The songs that Christians sing must have marked difference from that of the world. Our music cannot be like the music of the world. While we sing unto the glory of God, the world sings to the pleasure of man. Most of the world’s music reflects the worldly thinking, passions and pursuits. The character of Christians’ songs and music must reflect the spiritual purposes for which the Lord has ordained singing in the church. Our songs should not be chosen for their entertainment value. We ought to sing not for sensory pleasure, but for mutual edification and for the glory of God.
Teaching and admonishing are two purposes of our songs and our singing. We ought to sing songs that provide Scriptural instructions for our souls. Our singing must be calculated to help us to grow in the knowledge of God’s Word. Though not everyone is called to the office of a pastor-teacher or preacher in the church, everyone is nevertheless exhorted to teach himself and one another through the singing of songs. How important it is then that we do not choose our songs merely for their pleasant tunes, but more importantly, for their sound biblical content! Through our singing, may the Word of Christ dwell in us richly with all wisdom.
Another purpose of our singing ought to be “admonishing”. This implies that we sing songs that will minister to each other’s moral and spiritual welfare. Our songs must be those that will urge and strengthen our resolve to live holy lives. So, it goes without saying that we must avoid songs that have a propensity for spiritual and moral corruption, or are of no particular spiritual and moral value.
Paul exhorts us to sing “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs”. “Psalms” refer to the book of Psalms and other psalms in the Old Testament. “Hymns” refer to songs or odes in honour of our God. Through hymns, we praise God for His greatness, His wonderful attributes, His truths, His mighty acts, etc. “Spiritual songs” refer to songs relating to spiritual things as opposed to carnal and worldly things. In spiritual songs, there will be testimonies of God’s goodness, prayers, spiritual encouragement, corrections, instructions, etc. May our songs and music always be sacred unto God’s glory and conducive to our growth in knowledge and holiness.