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From ancient times to the present, singing has been used as a form of relaxation or amusement (2 Samuel 19:35; Amos 6:4-5), an expression of joy (Proverbs 29:6; Isaiah 16:10; James 5:13), a form of celebration (Judges 5:1-2; 1 Samuel 21:11), and a means of praising God (Exodus 15:1; Psalms 30:4; Psalms 66:4; Psalms 95:1-3; Acts 16:25; Revelation 5:9; Revelation 15:3). Singing has often been associated with music and dancing (Genesis 31:27; Exodus 15:20-21; Isaiah 5:12; see DANCING; MUSIC).

In the temple worship that David organized, there were groups of singers who sang under a conductor to the accompaniment of music (1 Chronicles 15:16; 1 Chronicles 15:22). This arrangement was followed by some of Israel’s later leaders (2 Chronicles 29:30; Ezra 3:10-11). The psalms that these singers sang were sometimes divided into parts that individuals or sections of the choir sang in turn (Ezra 3:11; Psalms 118; see PSALMS, BOOK OF).

Singing is an important part of the life of the church (1 Corinthians 14:26; cf. Mark 14:26). It should be an expression of praise to God that arises from a heart filled with joy and thanks. However, the songs must be based firmly on the Word of God, and people must sing them with understanding, not just with a feeling of enjoyment. Only in this way will God be truly praised and the singers be truly built up in their Christian faith (1 Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).

In the early church, songs were an important means of summarizing Christian truth in a form that could be easily remembered and repeated. The New Testament contains what appear to be selections from early Christian songs (Philippians 2:6-11; Colossians 1:15-20; 1 Timothy 3:16; cf. also Luke 1:46-55; Luke 1:68-79; Luke 2:14; Luke 2:29-32; Revelation 4:11; Revelation 5:9-10; Revelation 11:17-18; Revelation 15:3-4.)

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Singing'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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