Hymns (Part 1)

Singing changes our thinking.

TIME reports (here) that singing lowers stress, sidelines depression, and boosts joy.

Singing Christmas carols in the streets and hymns at church celebrations inspire Christians.


Three major statements about music are established in 1 Chronicles 15, 16:

(1) Songs were responsive (15:16, 25, 28).  Music is a human response to God’s world, His words, and His works.  Old Testament stories are punctuated with song and dance (Exodus 15).  The greatest Israelite kings were musicians (David and Solomon).  The Psalms were Israel’s hymnal.

(2) Songs were rehearsed (15:19-22).  Order, arrangement, preparation, skill, creativity, and professionalism are important.  1 Chronicles 15:16-16:6 records a full choir, orchestra, and a dance troupe punctuated with “shouts” and percussion (15:25, 28).

(3) Songs were a regular, repeated remembrance (1 Chronicles 16:6, 37).  Music is “sacred” (16:42).  The event causing celebration lives on in the song.  One cannot remove music from the “story” of God’s work in His world. The history of God’s work is recorded in song.

Hymns are important to The Church because they reinforce the story of God’s work throughout history. Christians should study the Bible, and stand on its on sound doctrine.  Part of sound, theological Christian instruction comes through singing hymns “teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” (Colossians 3:16)


When our kids were growing up we would sing hymns at home and sing hymns on the way to church. Catechizing children (see my essay here) in God’s Truth is the duty of every Christian parent. Our curriculum should include singing: shows the importance of community, “encouraging each other with sound doctrine” (Titus 1:9).

Christian hymns help us to focus our attention on teaching truth. Hymnals in my study are just as important as any other book in my home since song focuses my attention on Truth.

The Truth of Jesus’ entry into time-space history is celebrated in song!

Singing at Jesus’ birth took place before, at, and after Jesus’ Incarnation!

Jesus’ mother, Mary, sang ahead of Jesus’ birth. Mary’s Magnificant is recorded in Luke 1.

Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father also rejoices in Luke 1, prophesying Jesus’ work

Simeon and Anna spoke in celebration: their own thanksgiving for seeing Jesus is remembered in Luke 2.

And oh yes! The angels sang to the shepherds in Luke 2!  If all the people involved with Jesus’ birth sang, it would seem singing Christmas hymns at Christmas would be our best response.

My favorite Christmas hymn captures the before, during, and after of the most important event in human history: Jesus’ birth. 

The words of my favorite Christmas hymn tell what Jesus did for the world:

Come thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

The hopes, desires, and longings for release, for rest, is the expression of Christian hymns and the hope of all mankind. 

We Christians celebrate in song THE Savior, Jesus, of whom it is prophesied will “come with healing” and so “heal our wounds” (Malachi 4.2; Isaiah 53.3; 1 Peter 2.24).

Singing has indeed changed Christian thinking!

Dr. Mark Eckel is President of The Comenius Institute (website), spends time with Christian young people in public university (1 minute video), hosts a weekly radio program with diverse groups of guests (1 minute video), interprets culture from a Christian vantage point (1 minute video), and teaches weekly at his church (video).

Help Comenius reach its $40,000 giving goal this Thanksgiving! The Comenius Institute [501(c)(3)] (website hereDonate online (here), mark@comeniusinstitute.org, (text/talk 630.303.4891) Checks to “The Comenius Institute,” c/o Collaborate 317, 4202 N EMS Blvd #180, Greenfield, IN 46140 And ask Mark what Comenius would do with $1 million!

Picture credit: SnappyGoat.com


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