Sea of Galilee

Sea of Galilee

Thursday, May 6, 2010

How Important are the words to the worship songs we sing?

This post from the Blazing Center hits at the heart of how and why we worship. We certainly need to have hearts of worship but our worship must be doctrinally correct as well. I'm going to copy the entire post because it is worth reading but it's worth clicking through to see the comments as well:

Yesterday I wrote a post entitled How to Write An Awful Worship Song. The post was 75% humorous and sarcastic, and was written primarily out of my own experiences in writing awful worship songs. I wasn’t taking pot shots at modern songs or songwriters.

However, a number of people made comments along these lines:

What matters most in a worship song is the heart behind the song. If it comes from a person’s heart and is a sincere act of worship, then it’s a good worship song.

To a certain extent, I agree. The sacrificial death of Christ makes our flawed, imperfect praise acceptable to God. My best worship is always stained with sin, and I always need Jesus to make my worship acceptable. And the heart really does matter. God does not like insincere worship.

But, we need to be very careful in how we think about this. The heart behind a worship song isn’t the only thing that matters. The words of the song and the ideas conveyed by a song matter. A whole lot.

Here’s why: we don’t get to worship God in whatever way we choose. We can’t sing whatever we want about God, no matter how deep our sincerity. In Scripture God has told who He is and how He must be worshiped. And because God is God, He gets to make the rules. He gets to tell us what worship should look like. In John 4:23-24 Jesus said:

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

God is seeking men and women who will worship Him in truth. This truth is first and foremost the truth of God revealed through Jesus Christ.

Truth matters. Sound doctrine matters. Our songs should be saturated with truth. It doesn’t please God when we sing false things about Him. It pleases Him when our songs are packed with Biblical truth.

Every one of us is a theologian. We all have our own thoughts and ideas about God. The question is, are we good theologians? Do we think and sing right, true, good thoughts about God? For the sake of God’s honor, let’s be sure that our songs help us be good theologians.

You can read the entire post here.


  1. "Spirit AND truth" -- the two things the Father is seeking in worship.

    Interesting that "a catchy tune" or "an emotional hook" aren't mentioned, eh? Heck, worship isn't even limited to musical expression in the John 4 conversation, right?

    That's not to say that music is unimportant (I think the Psalms resolve that question for us nicely.) Or that being "catchy" and memorable is a bad thing (it's not; I'm all for worship that becomes meditative because it "gets stuck in our head"). Or that hooking emotions into the expression of worship is gimicky (I'm pretty sure that God wants both our cognitive and emotive sides engaged).

    But worship -- in whatever form, including music -- must connect us with God in the context of spirit and truth.

    So, yes, lyrics matter. Big time.

    Thanks for sharing, John!

  2. Amen, brother! We worship in spirit and truth, with our whole heart and with our whole mind. One without the other is not worship.