Make a Joyful Noise

Beautiful strains of music filled our church building last night as the  York College Concert Choir performed. The fifty plus a capella chorus sang songs of praise that brought tears to my eyes.

I was blessed to once be part of this choir, as were my son and daughter, and Dawn’s son. Next year, our youngest, Emma, will be on their risers. All of this reflection made me think about how important music is in our worship.

In Col. 3:16 it says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Did you notice the types of songs are differentiated? I believe that’s because all three types of songs feed a different part of our souls. Let’s take a look.


Psalms: Psalms are scripture, and besides singing the Psalms in the Bible, I think this idea can expand to all scripture. Singing songs based on scripture helps us commit them to memory and recall God’s word when we need it. Many psalms are also songs of praise, and nothing is more important in our worship than praising our Creator.


Hymns: A hymn is song a praise, but unlike psalms, they were not written under the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Hymns are filled with important spiritual truths. We might be singing about the power of God, the joy of our salvation, His amazing grace, or recalling the sacredness of a rugged cross.

Some people think of hymns as “old” songs, but that isn’t true. They are as relevant today as ever. They provide a depth and wisdom. They help put spiritual truths and doctrines into our hearts and minds that we will never forget. They touch us intellectually.


Spiritual Songs: Spiritual songs touch our emotional core. Whether it’s a praise song or needing the Lord, our modern praise songs “move” us. We can express our joy or praise or brokenness through these songs.

The Bible repeatedly encourages us “to sing a new song to the Lord” (Psalm 96:1, Isaiah 42:10, Rev. 5:9, Rev. 14:3). Our God is a God of creativity and He continues to bless His children through creative expression. Psalm 40:3 says, “He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.”

By singing all three kinds of songs–psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs–in our worship, music finds its highest purpose. It allows us to glorify our God. Nothing else moves us or lets us express our adoration and thankfulness like music.

And the best thing is that God doesn’t care whether your notes are pure or a little off key. He hears the song in your heart.

Let’s chat now. What’s your favorite hymn or spiritual song? What role does music play in your worship?


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Lorna Seilstad

Lorna Seilstad brings history back to life using a generous dash of humor. She is the author of the Lake Manawa Summers Series and the Gregory Sisters Series. She and her husband have three children and call Iowa home. Find out more at or connect with her on Facebook and on Twitter.

6 thoughts on “Make a Joyful Noise”

  1. Love this, Lorna. Thought I’ve read that verse before, I’d never given thought to there being three types of songs. I love it when we see scripture in fresh, deeper way. Thank you!

  2. I attend a church plant in my next to downtown neighbourhood. The bible church it springs from is way out in the suburbs and has a huge choir as well as multiple worship bands so they have a variety of music each Sunday. However, we stick to the more ‘modern’ worship and praise music. So no hymns. Ever. And I have to admit, I really miss them and feel that there is a place for both types of music at a service. It’s not that I don’t love the worship service — I do — I’d just like some variety — and blend of old and new. Love that scripture you shared and how it can applied today. Either way though music definitely sets the tone for worship for me. Both at church and at home (which is where I play the old hymns.)

  3. I never thought about the three different types of music used in church. I guess I tie the differences to when they were written, We have a health mix at my church, and since we are Church of Christ, they are all a Capella. Love, love, hearing the blending of voices of all ages. I would not feel I had worshiped at all without music.

    1. Jenny, I’m also a member of the church of Christ, and I do love the sound of acapella music!

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