Reading verses Singing

I love the written word (which, I suppose, is obvious), and there are few things I enjoy so much as curling up with a great book. More than loving it as entertainment, though, I think “writing” itself vital to communication and the ability to share ideas and truth. At an even deeper level, God has chosen the written word as the conduit for his most detailed revelation about himself and his plan, and so it forms the structure of everything in my life.*

I confess, however, that music makes me envious. While I am a passable writer, I have no understanding of music – when I enter a room, the cumulative musical knowledge decreases. Yet, I have noticed in recent years that music can touch something inside me that the written word rarely does.


I am not typically an emotional guy. Movies don’t make me cry (at least, not since My Girl when I was a kid…I hated that movie), and I can only think of one instance where a book brought tears to my eyes. But music….

I am moved to tears almost weekly during Sunday worship. Before you think me too spiritual, I find a similar response on a fairly regular basis to various secular songs as well. The music itself is powerful and reaches a place where the words themselves – simply spoken – could not.

That’s not to say that the content of the song makes no difference. It certainly does and can direct the emotion in different ways. Yet there is power in the musical notes themselves and to someone as ignorant of musical theory/construction as I am, this is a fascinating and mysterious thing. A powerful thing.

Perhaps this is why God gave us music. While the written word excels in areas of the mind, we as humans were not created to be all intellect; we were created to have emotion as well, and perhaps the Lord leverages music to touch that part of us.

I’m glad. To be frank, it is pleasurable to be stirred deeply, and I envy music that power which my writing – no matter how good – will never achieve.


* Of course, Christ was the fullest revelation, but we learn about Christ primarily through the NT writings)

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