Bible verses set to music.
First of all, they can sing Bible verses set to music. That’s a great thing to do, and a good way for them to learn God’s Word and get it into their hearts and minds. There are two drawbacks with this is. On the one hand not all Bible verses were written to be songs: they don’t all rhyme, or have a rhythm to them that works in 4/4 or 3/4 (or 7/8 even). So when some of them are turned into songs, the songs are, well, let’s face it, not that great. On the other hand, a verse you want your children to learn may not have been made into a song. There’s an opportunity for a little creativity there of course…
Children’s Bible Songs
As well as Bible verses set to music, children can sing … children’s Bible songs! By that I mean songs that are based on Bible verses and passages and events and ideas. A bit like, um, Amazing Grace or 10,000 reasons (and a thousand other hymns and songs). Here’s the thing: God has given his people creativity to take his Word and turn it into song by making poetry out of the meaning, and fitting melody to it.
You see something of that when Paul urged the Colossians: “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” (Colossians 3:16, NIV) Not just psalms, but psalms, hymns and songs! There’s evidence of some Spirit led creativity there, helping the word of Christ to dwell in them richly.
Children’s Bible songs can do exactly that: help Children to have God’s word at work in them, richly – and that is wonderful.
Here are some things to watch out for, so you get good songs to sing:
- Is there a specific passage referenced by the songwriter, and is that reference genuinely reflected in the song? I’ve seen some songs list about 10 separate Bible verses, as if the writers wrote first and then used a concordance to find links…!
- Does the song express something about God that’s worth singing about? Is what it says about God accurate and in line with the bible? If it expresses feelings, are they feelings the Bible says a normal Christian child might feel? If you’ve got a mixed group of Christian and non-Christian kids, are you putting words in their mouths that aren’t appropriate? “I really want to worship you with all my heart every moment of the day” probably isn’t a good lyric.
- Do you like the poetry or language of the song? This is completely subjective, but you’re not going to enjoy a song where you don’t like the way the ideas are expressed. Don’t forget, this will be your personal view, and another equally (or more) godly person (and their children) may have very different tastes.
- Are you humming the tune after you’ve heard it a couple of times? If you’re not, the kids probably won’t either.
These are the kind of things I’m trying to do with my songs. I don’t always get it right, and public opinion varies even on the most popular ones!
Why do kids have to sing Bible verses?
They don’t! They can, but other Christian kids’ songs are great too. Great for helping our children to have God’s Word dwelling richly in their hearts.