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Why Sing the Psalms?

1.) In worship, recognizing God for who He is, we offer God what He wants in the way He wants it (the Baptist and other dissenter doctrine known as the Regulative Principle). God determines what He wants in worship; we do not determine it (John 4:24, Leviticus 10:1-2, Deuteronomy 12:32, etc.).

2.) God has stated that He wants us to sing Him psalms, as well as hymns and spiritual songs. “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms” (James 5:13).

3.) God has given us the book of psalms to sing to Him. He has inspired 150 songs that are exactly what He wants from us; every word of them is perfect, “given by inspiration of God” and “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, througly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). How can we not sing them? Do we dare to say that hymns of our own composition are better than songs God has inspired? Do we have room in our songbooks for hundreds of uninspired songs, but none for the ones God has specifically given us to sing to Him?

4.) The Psalms are full of Jesus Christ. David wrote of Him (Luke 24:44). They speak of His substitutionary death (Psalm 22), His resurrection (Psalm 16:8-11, Acts 2:23-31), His reign as King and High Priest (Psalm 110), salvation by repentance and faith in Him (Psalm 2:12, 32:1-2, Romans 4:7-8), etc. They also cover topics from the the glory of God (Psalm 145) to the perfection of the Scriptures (Psalm 119) to revival (Psalm 67), to the Christian life (Psalm 23), as well as themes often missing from modern songs, such as hell (Psalm 9:17) and judgment upon Christ’s enemies (Psalm 109).

5.) Christ’s churches have traditionally sung the psalms. Pre-reformation “Baptists” such as the Waldenses sung them, and post-reformation Baptists sung them for hundreds of years (and some continue to do so today). The modern abandonment of them in many churches is a product of the contemporary turn from Biblical and God-centered worship to pragmatism and the exaltation of man.

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More Resources on Ecclesiology: The Doctrine of the Church