"Therefore, God's chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must forgive. Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful. Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God." (Colossians 3:12-16 HSCB)
In this text from Colossians and from Ephesians 5:19 as well, singing with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs are mentioned. A word study brings out these ideas:
"Whereas a psalm is the story of man's deliverance or a commemoration of mercies received, a hymn is a magnificat, a declaration of how great someone or something is."
"Of things spiritual, communicated or imparted by the Holy Spirit, meaning those things pertaining to the Spirit; "spiritual songs," meaning those composed in the Spirit on spiritual and instructive subjects."
(from The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament © 1992 by AMG International, Inc. Revised Edition, 1993)
When I read the Colossians text, I see what led up to all this singing.
God chose us and then the message we received from God was Jesus. In Jesus the Messiah we received from God our Father heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. He accepted us through Jesus and forgave us for all the wrong we have done and will ever still do. Through Jesus we have forgiveness and peace with God our Father and are put together with others in Christ’s body, the Church. And what are we the Church doing? Singing, singing, singing songs that teach and warn leaving us very grateful to God our Father through Jesus our Messiah.
God has placed gifted individuals among us to both teach and to play music for our songs. From the pulpit some sing songs that teach us. From the stage some play instruments for the songs we sing. Next to us many are gifted with beautiful voices that sing blessing to those around them, while the rest of us may sing silently in our hearts. We all sing to our great God and we all sing to one another of His wisdom and His great works. We all teach and admonish each other to sing.
May God help and bless those among us who help lead us to sing; and may God’s grace and wisdom bring us all into a life where we sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.