Sing to the Lord a New Song

Jimi Williams —  October 29, 2009

Recently I received an interesting question for an upcoming panel discussion:

What is and is not the “new song” referred to in Isaiah 42:10 and Psalm 96:1?

Interesting question. I’ve heard many worship leaders quoting these Scriptures, mostly before they introduce a new song to the congregation. However, digging a little deeper into these verses reveals that there’s something deeper being said.

What is the “new song”?
-Both of these verses in context are talking about the coming Messiah, so the “new song” should be a song centered on Christ.
-Under the law (old song) believers were justified by the sacrifice of animals, but our “new song” should be about grace through faith in Christ.
-2 Cor 5:17 says we believers are a “new creation”, so our “new song” should be sung from a redeemed position and not people still awaiting rescue.
-The “new song” is both historical and prophetic regarding Christ. He has come and he is coming back!
-The “new song” is meant for every believer regardless of age, ethnicity, language etc.
-The Scripture encourages us to join together as a church to sing.

What is not a “new song”
-This is tricky, but we know based upon the Scriptures that it is not referring to a newly created musical work. We can sing “Amazing Grace” as our “new song”.
-It’s also not a style of music. I recently about a church that only allows hymns and southern gospel songs to be sung in their church. This is wrong on several fronts.
-I believe the “new song” is to be centered on the completed work of Christ. Songs that are purely historical, while having a purpose, would not be considered a “new song”.
-I believe the “new song” must have lyrical content. A symphony is beautiful, but the purpose of the “new song” is to tell the Gospel and shine a light on Christ.
-It’s the song of the redeemed. Only we believers can sing a “new song” to the Lord.

I know I’ve missed many things here. Feel free to add your thoughts.

Be blessed and sing a new song to the Lord today!

Jimi Williams

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Jimi is VP of Worship Resources for Capitol CMG Publishing, overseeing all Worship Together initiatives and resources. He also leads worship at his home church and at various events and conferences.