Bible study groups are a central part of most gospel loving churches these days. They are a great way to increase our knowledge and understanding of the Word, and they give everyone a chance to speak the gospel to one another. But reading Colossians 3:16 has made me wonder if bible singing groups are what we really need.
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Col 3:16 NASB)
The aim is for the word of Christ to dwell richly within us. Richly. Not superficially. And it is to dwell, live, within us. The word should be in our ears and in our minds and in our hearts and in our hands and on our lips. We should walk it, speak it, do it, feel it. It should be treasured by each of us individually, but also passed around between us. Given as a gift. And received. The Word is the glue which binds us together. It's our family heirloom. Our best possession.
So how do we do that? How do we have the Word of Christ dwell richly within us?
We do it by teaching and admonishing one another.
The Word becomes our community curriculum and hospital. It's what we are taught from our earliest hour. It's what we are reminded of at our end. It's the thermometer to assess our health. And if it turns out that we're lacking, the Word is the balm that we apply.
But what does that look like in practice? How do we teach the word to one another? How do we administer the medicine of the word to admonish our brothers and sisters?
Easy. We sing.
The word of Christ is to dwell richly within us. We teach it to one another and admonish each other by singing the Word. Psalm, hymns and spiritual songs.
Bible study groups are good and worthwhile, but bible singing groups are what Paul recommends in this verse.
And it makes sense. The songs that we sing (if they are any good!) stick with us. We find ourselves humming them. Meditating on the words. Thinking them through. In song, the Word becomes part of us in a way that questions and answers in a bible study never will.
In song, the Word of Christ dwells in us richly. We give thanks, we teach one another, we rebuke the wayward, we calm the anxious, we encourage the despairing. In song, the Word passes from my sister's lips to my ears. I feel it in my heart. My hands are equipped for acts of service. My mind is turned towards my Lord.
So. Who is up for it? Bible study groups are great, but perhaps we should sing for a change. What do you think?