The author of Hebrews knows his Bible better than all of us. He has learned it through study and sermons, but also through singing. We can see this immediately in Hebrews. Based on its singsong yet technical language, Hebrews 1:3 very likely quotes an early Christian hymn about Jesus. Then in Hebrws 1:5-14, he stacks up 7 different quotations from the Old Testament, and what is amazing is that 5 of them are from the Psalms and 1 of them is from the Song of Moses. So 6 of 7 quotations are lyrics in Biblical songs.
These Biblical Songs were compiled together in the Greek Psalter or Hymnal. You see, in their Greek speaking synagogues, the Jewish Hymnal was made up of the Psalms plus several other songs from the Old Testament including the Song of Moses. Greek speaking Jews all over the Mediterranean and Middle East sang these songs Saturday after Saturday. After they became Jesus’ disciples, Christians took up these songs in their own Sunday worship.
So, the Preacher knows these words, and the Hebrew Church knows these words because they sing them week after week. That is why singing is so important. Fortunately or unfortunately, we get most of our theology from the songs we sing, and so Hebrews stacks up these songs to explain who Jesus is. This is why we sing every week. This is why we carefully choose the songs we sing each week.
You may well remember my sermon, and you might even quote my sermon, but I’d bet good money, you aren’t going to thoughtlessly start singing it when you get anxious or excited. But there is a lot more chance that you will hum “Amazing Grace” or sing into the despair, “I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God.” This is why we all know the words to “Amazing Grace,” but none of us can quote a single sermon from the same century.
So what are you singing these days? What songs tell you who you are and whose you are? Personally, I love music, and I love country music (except modern country, it’s an abomination), but there is a big problem when “A Country Boy Can Survive” forms more of my identity than “Jesus Loves Me This I Know.”
Don’t miss the opportunity to hide truth in your heart, so that when you reach for a song to explain your experience or combat your fears or express your joy, Scripture is on your lips.
Here are some resources to listen to Scripture:
Shane and Shane – Psalms and Psalms II – These are my favorites. Two guys with strong voices and excellent harmony.
Sandra McCracken – Psalms – This is Claire’s favorite.