Throughout the Reformation, people were singing to learn and remember the truths and teachings of scripture. Teachings were passed from person to person, from congregation to congregation, not only in writings and sermons, but in song.

The Reformers used music to teach and transform the church. First, because they could not help but to sing out of the rediscovery of the gospel, but also, they saw singing as an indispensable tool to teach the deep truths and doctrines of scripture to the people. The scriptures were sung!

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi

How did the reformers displace a thousand years of high church ritual? It was the Word of God, the Gospel, in their liturgy. The congregation went from spectators to engaged worshipers. Reminding each other, in creeds and songs, of what the scriptures say and mean.

The Reformers’ reform was widespread and a powerful force because of their understanding of Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi (the law of prayer, is the law of belief). How worshipers prayed informed how they believed. How they believed was shaped by their liturgy. If their pattern and practice of worship propagated error, then it would undermine their theological truths. On the other hand, if what they practiced, prayed and sang, it would reinforce, invigorate and propagate quickly what they were trying to teach. It was a powerful means by which to communicate theology. It was the way to drive home the truth, and to protect their flock from error. The focus of their liturgy shifted from the priests to the full participation of the congregation.

As the Reformers taught through the scriptures, they began to write songs that would help to teach the common people their rich theology of the doctrines of grace. The foundational text for the reformers monumental shift in their worship liturgy and music in the church is found in Colossians 3:16.

“The Reformers understood the necessity of the written Word for salvation and the importance of the sweep of the Scriptures for the Christian life. It is no surprise, then, to see their liturgical texts soaked in the biblical text – not only through the scriptural lessons, but other liturgical forms which contained Scripture.” – Reformation Worship: Soli Deo Gloria; Mark Earngey; 29.

We don’t need entertainment or experiences, we need the Word of God! We need words in our singing so we can glorify God, celebrate the glories of the gospel, and words in the midst of our suffering to help us express our trust and faith in God.

If we look over the decades of TBC, what will our songs reveal about our love for Christ and His church? If you grow up in this church, what will you know and believe about the whole counsel of scripture just from the songs we sing? Are we communicating a deep faith through what we sing and how we sing it?

What are you listing to? Learning? We believe what we sing. May the Word of Christ dwell in us richly as we sing to and with each other.

For more resources and teachings on the Reformation, visit